How Do I Prepare for Surgery?

Every participant in a surgical procedure plays an important role – including you. There are certain steps that you can take to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome and to reduce unnecessary medical risk. To avoid the possibility of a delayed or cancelled procedure, please follow these instructions:

  • Eating and drinking: Do not eat or drink anything after midnight of the night before your procedure unless instructed otherwise. This includes solid foods, beverages, water, candy, mints, and gum. Freeing your system of foreign matter is a safety precaution for surgery.
  • Smoking: Do not smoke or use any other tobacco products after midnight of the day before your procedure. Tobacco causes bronchial and other types of irritation, which can negatively impact your response to anesthesia.
  • Medications: If you take daily medications (for example, to control hypertension or regulate your blood sugar), please contact your surgeon’s office prior to the procedure to determine if you should stop any of these beforehand. Included are herbal or weight-loss supplements. If you are instructed by your surgeon to take a medication in pill form on the morning of your surgery, limit yourself to a sip of water.
  • Changes in health: Please report any changes in health to your surgeon’s office. This includes the development of cold or flu symptoms or any other signs of infection.
  • Pregnancy: If you suspect that you are pregnant, please notify your surgeon’s office immediately. A surgical procedure and its accompanying medications (including anesthesia) may pose a risk to your pregnancy.
  • Latex allergy: The use of Latex (or rubber) products is common in surgery. If you are allergic to Latex products, let your surgeon’s office know beforehand.

Tests Before a Procedure

Your surgeon’s office will contact you before the procedure to schedule any necessary medical tests, lab work, or imaging scans. The office may also request a complete medical history as part of your treatment plan. Please help by giving complete and accurate information.

Is There Special Guidance for Colonoscopy Patients?

Yes. Your physician will provide you with instructions regarding laxative preparation. He or she will also advise you of any special dietary requirements or restrictions. If this preparation causes vomiting, contact your physician immediately.

Procedures for Minors

Patients who are minors must be accompanied by their parent(s) or a legal guardian. The latter must bring proof of guardianship. The minor’s parent(s) or guardian must remain on site during and after the procedure.

What Should I Expect on the Day of My Procedure?

You should plan to arrive at least one hour before your procedure. This will enable our staff to complete your registration, arrange any last-minute tests, confirm your medical history, and prepare you for surgery.

Below are steps that you should take on the day of your procedure:

  • Bathe at home and dress in loose-fitting, comfortable clothes and shoes.
  • Do not wear makeup, skin lotion, or nail polish. Leave any jewelry and other valuables at home.
  • Please bring your driver’s license or photo ID, insurance cards(s), and any copayments or deposits.
  • Bring an up-to-date list of any medications that you take, including dosages and frequencies.
  • Remove dentures, hearing aids, glasses, piercings, hair accessories, and/or contact lenses prior to your procedure. Bring appropriate storage containers.
  • You must have an adult (age 18 years or older) available to drive you home after discharge from the surgery center. This person should be on site during and after the procedure.
  • You may want a pillow and/or blanket for the car to increase your comfort on the way home.
  • Arrange to have someone stay with you for 24 hours following surgery.
  • If your child is having surgery, feel free to bring a favorite toy or blanket. In addition, bring extra diapers, a change of clothes, formula, or other special foods that your child may need after surgery.

Further Steps

Once you’ve been registered and prepared for surgery, you will be escorted to the preoperative (pre-op) area by the registered nurse who will be caring for you. In the pre-op area, you will meet your anesthesiologist. He or she will review your medical history, answer your questions, and discuss the anesthesia plan. A family member may sit with you until it is time for your surgery.


Anesthesia is a medication that keeps patients from feeling pain during surgery. It does this by numbing your nervous system, often while you’re in a sleep state. There are three different types of anesthesia used during surgery:

  • A regional anesthesia numbs one region but not your entire body
  • A monitored sedation makes you drowsy or puts you in a light sleep
  • A general anesthesia puts you in a deep sleep.

Your anesthesiologist will explain the option that he or she has selected for your operation. This will depend on the nature of your procedure, the length of time it requires, any sensitivities you may have demonstrated to the drugs under consideration, and other factors.

Your Surgery

At the scheduled time, your nurse will take you to the surgery suite. Each operating room is fully equipped and staffed to handle any surgical needs.

What Should I Expect After My Procedure?

You will receive written instructions regarding your post-operative care. On leaving the surgery center, please remember:

  • Do not drive, operate machinery, drink alcoholic beverages, or take any non-prescription medications for at least 24 hours following your procedure.
  • Follow your physician’s instructions regarding diet, rest, and medication.
  • It is normal to experience some post-operative discomfort in the area operated on. Drowsiness or dizziness are also normal, depending on the anesthesia you received or the pain medication that you may be taking.
  • On the business day following your procedure, you may be contacted by a staff member to see how you are doing. Please make certain that we have a phone number at which to reach you.

Going Home

Following surgery, you will remain temporarily on site while you begin your recovery. Your surgeon will check on you and, if all indicators are positive, clear you for discharge. You may still feel a little drowsy. Before leaving, your nurse will review with you and a family member your written instructions for home care.

If you have problems after discharge, contact your physician.