Preparing for Surgery

Before Surgery

Tests and Procedures

Certain tests and procedures may be needed to check your state of health and prepare you for surgery. Some of the tests that you may need to have are:

  • Chest x-ray
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG)
  • Blood tests
  • Urine test

Ask your doctor or nurse about special instructions before these tests, such as fasting.

Preparing for Surgery

  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery or clear liquids until the day of surgery, including gum or mints. If you do, your surgery may have to be rescheduled.
  • If you smoke, quit or at least cut down before surgery. People who don't smoke heal faster than people who smoke.
  • Stop drinking alcohol - liquor, beer, and wine - at least 2 days before surgery.
  • Medications before surgery - ask your doctor about Coumadin, aspirin and ibuprofen. These may need to be discontinued before surgery.
  • If you get a cold, fever, or rash, call your doctor. Surgery may have to be postponed.
  • Get someone to pick you up from the hospital. You cannot drive home.
  • Bring a copy of your advance medical directive (i.e., living will), if you have one.

The Day of Your Surgery

Before You Leave Home

  • Follow doctor's orders about your medications, especially insulin for diabetic patients.
  • Shower or bathe - you may be given specific instructions if needed.
  • Remember not to eat or drink.
  • Wear comfortable, loose clothing.
  • Leave valuables, such as jewelry, cash, and credit cards at home.
  • Remove makeup and lipstick.

What to Bring

  • Insurance cards or forms.
  • A parent or legal guardian if patient is under age 18.
  • List of regular medications.
  • For overnight stays, clothing you will need (like a robe and slippers) and toiletries.

Checking In

  • Valet parking is available, Monday through Friday, 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., at no charge to patients on the day of surgery. Ask for a wheelchair if needed.
  • Report to the main entrance Admitting desk for directions and assistance.
  • You will be taken to a surgery preparation area. A family member or one friend may be able to wait with you there.
  • You will change into a hospital gown. Remove your glasses or contacts. If you wear a hearing aid or dentures, ask if you should remove them.

Anesthesia Care

Anesthesia is medication that keeps you comfortable during surgery. It is given by a highly trained specialist - an anesthesiologist. You will meet with him or her before surgery.

Types of Anesthesia

  • General- You are totally asleep and aware of nothing.
  • Regional- Certain areas of the body are numb., so that you do not feel pain. You may also receive additional medications to relax you.
  • Monitored sedation- You are kept relaxed and comfortable. You may remain awake, or be drowsy and in a light sleep.

After Surgery

In the PACU - After surgery you will be taken to the recovery room, also called the PACU. For more extensive surgery you may recover overnight in this area (transitional recovery). You will be closely monitored as the anesthesia wears off. When you are ready, you will return to your room or be discharged. If you have nausea or vomiting after surgery, medication can be given to help you feel better.

Pain Control

  • As the anesthetic wears off, the area of your surgery may hurt or burn.
  • If you need pain medication, just ask for it.

Your Role in Recovery

  • Deep breathing and coughing help clear your lungs, aid circulation, and can help prevent pneumonia.
  • Walking and moving your legs will help your circulation and body functions return to normal.
  • Healthy eating can help speed your recovery.
  • Follow physician's discharge orders for your continued recovery at home.

Depending on your surgery you will enter as an:

  • Inpatient- You will spend at least one night in the hospital, admitted the day of surgery or the day before.
  • Outpatient- You will enter the hospital the day of surgery and leave the same day or the next day, if extended recovery is required.

Insurance Information

Please bring all current insurance cards with you to the hospital.

Prior Authorization- It is primarily your responsibility to contact your insurance company prior to admission to find out if prior authorization is required.