Preparing for Surgery - Pre-Operative Instructions

Patients often feel nervous before surgery, but knowing what to expect as prepare for your procedure can help ease your mind.

"Can I eat before surgery? What should I bring? How long will I be in the hospital? What should I know about anesthesia?"

We encourage you to talk to your doctor about each and every concern you have. As every surgical procedure is different, your doctor will provide specific instructions on what you should do prior to your procedure, and it's helpful to make a list of questions to ask so that all potential concerns are addressed beforehand. Here you'll find more information on common pre-operative instructions.


Do not eat or drink

Plan not to eat or drink anything after midnight prior to the day of your surgery, including water, chewing gum, and mints unless specifically instructed to do so by your doctor. Eating and drinking may cause nausea and vomiting if you are having local anesthesia; it can be fatal if you are having general anesthesia. If you do eat or drink after midnight, your surgery may need to be cancelled.

Bathe or shower

We recommend bathing the night before or the morning of surgery. Wear clothing that is comfortable, loose fitting and easy to remove and put back on.

Do not take any medication

Do not take any medication after midnight the night before your surgery unless instructed to do so by your doctor. If you have been told to continue taking your medication, take it with small sips of water. If you take blood thinners or a daily aspirin, please check with your doctor to see if you should stop taking them a few days before your surgery.

Do not smoke

Do not smoke after midnight the night before your surgery and reduce the amount you smoke the day before your surgery. This will reduce the chances of complications during and after surgery.

Brush your teeth

Brush your teeth and rinse your mouth on the morning of your surgery, but be careful not to swallow any water.

Remove all cosmetics

Remove all cosmetics including eye make-up, nail polish, toenail polish, and false fingernails before coming to the hospital. Do not wear contact lenses or any body piercing jewelry.

Bring all medications

Bring all medications that you are currently taking (in the original container) to the hospital with you. Your anesthesiologist may want you to take some medication right before surgery.

Leave all valuables

Leave all valuables and jewelry at home. The hospital is not responsible for lost items.

Your surgery time could be changed

Your surgery time could be changed due to last minute cancellations or emergencies. Please be available the morning of your surgery so you can reached by phone and advised of any schedule changes.

If you will be staying one or more days after surgery, you may wish to bring a robe. Please keep other personal items such as toiletries to a minimum.

Visitors are limited to two at a time.

Small children and infants should not be brought to the hospital.


If you develop a cold, fever, respiratory infection, or any other illness, contact your doctor or the hospital. Your surgery will be cancelled if you are ill when you arrive at the hospital.

Arriving for Surgery

Bring with you your insurance card and any other forms you may need the day of your surgery. If you have documents such as an advance medical directive or power of attorney, please bring them too.

Going to Surgery

You may be given medication before you go to surgery to help you relax. You will be taken to surgery in a wheelchair, stretcher bed or hospital bed. Family members may accompany you to the entrance of the Surgery area they will be asked to wait for you in the Surgery Waiting Room located next to the Surgery area.


Anesthesia uses medicines to block pain and keep you comfortable during surgery. A doctor or nurse will talk to you about anesthesia before your surgery begins.

A few notes about anesthesia for parents of pediatric patients:

  • If your child requires anesthesia for his/her surgery, he or she will be cared for by one of our anesthesiologists. These doctors are specially trained to assist surgeons in delivering surgical care.
  • They will administer medications or perform blocks to keep your child sedated, safe and comfortable during surgery.
  • An oral pre-operative medication will be given to your child to make him or her relaxed and drowsy prior to going to surgery.
  • You will be allowed to stay with your child until he/she enters the operating room.
  • Your child may have a numbing cream applied to the site where an IV will be started to decrease or eliminate discomfort. Sometime, an IV is not started until the child is asleep.

In the Recovery Room

After surgery you will be taken to the Recovery Room where nurses will monitor you for an hour or more. Your doctor may visit or call your family to let them know how you are doing.

As your anesthesia wears off, you may have an upset stomach, blurry vision, dry mouth or chills. Noises may also seem louder than normal.

You may also have an IV tube or drainage tubes. Your incision site may burn or hurt.You may be asked to do deep breathing and coughing to help clear your lungs after surgery.