Preparing For Surgery

If you are planning to have surgery, we will do everything in our power to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible. 

First the basics: In outpatient surgery, you arrive for surgery and return home on the same day. The procedure may take place in a hospital, doctor’s office, surgical center, or clinic. This is also called ambulatory or same-day surgery. 

Inpatient surgery takes place in the hospital. In most cases, you will check in on the day of your surgery and remain for a few days or more after surgery. 

Immediately Before Surgery

Your surgeon's office will provide information specific to your planned procedure, including where the surgery will take place, when it will take place, and what you must do to prepare. 

Here are some general recommendations for preparing for surgery. Remember though, your surgeon will be your guide as to what’s best for you.

In an outpatient situation, be sure to arrive early to prepare for surgery. Leave jewelry and other things of value at home. If it’s inpatient surgery and you will be staying the night, bring only those items you will need. 

Whether inpatient or out, your surgeon will advise you to fast – which means you should not eat or drink anything during the 6 to 8 hours prior to your surgery. (If you have had something to eat or drink during this time, tell your doctor.) 

Be prepared to fill out forms about how you will pay for the surgery. If you have insurance, it will help to have your card ready. You will be given an ID bracelet. It will include your name, room number, and doctor’s name. You will also be asked about your current health. Tell your doctor about any changes in your health, even minor colds or infections. 

Your health history, as well as any drug allergies, should be noted. You may undergo some or all of the following: 

•  Checks of your temperature, pulse, and blood pressure
•  Blood tests
•  Urinalysis
•  Chest X-ray
•  Electrocardiogram (ECG), in which heart function is examined with an instrument that prints out the results as a graph.

Your doctor will explain what is involved in your treatment before you can agree to it. This process is called informed consent. You will be asked to sign a consent form before surgery. This form varies from doctor to doctor. Most consent forms spell out what your operation is, who will do it, what condition it is meant to repair, and what the risks are. Read it closely. Ask questions if there is something you don’t understand.

In Advance of Your Surgery

Here are some general recommendations to improve your chances for a smooth, successful surgery.

Stop smoking before your operation. It is best if you quit at least 2 weeks prior to surgery, but any period of not smoking will help. If you quit smoking your lungs will be in better shape for the operation and you will have an easier time adjusting to the anesthesia. After surgery, your lungs will be able to resume their normal function with less effort. Your risk of infection will be reduced and, most obviously, you won’t cough as much (and coughing can really hurt after some kinds of surgery).

If you are taking medication, ask your doctor if you should keep taking it before or after the operation. 

Prior to surgery, be sure to follow your surgeon’s special recommendations regarding diet or supplements. 

Take it easy. Try not to get too tired in the days before and after your operation. Eat right and get proper rest and exercise. Any kind of surgery, no matter how minor, can be stressful.