Preparing for Surgery
Once you and your doctor decide that surgery will help you, you will need to learn what to expect from the surgery and how to actively participate in the treatment plan for the best results afterwards.
Preparing mentally and physically for surgery is an important step toward a successful result. Understanding the process, and your role in it will help you recover more quickly and have fewer problems.
Working with Your Doctor
Before surgery, your doctor will perform a complete physical examination to make sure you don’t have any conditions that could interfere with the surgery or the outcomes.
- Routine tests, such as blood tests and X-rays, are usually performed a week before any major surgery.
- Discuss any medications you are taking with your doctor and your family physician to see which ones you should stop taking before surgery.
- Discuss with your doctor about options for preparing for potential blood replacement, includes donating your own blood, medical interventions, and other treatments, prior to surgery.
- If you are taking aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications or any drugs that increase the risk of bleeding, you will need to stop taking them one week before surgery to minimize bleeding.
- If you smoke, you should stop or cut down to reduce your surgery risks and improve your recovery.
- Have any tooth, gum, bladder, or bowel problems treated before surgery to reduce the risk of infection later.
- Eat a well-balanced diet, supplemented by a daily multivitamin with iron.
- Report any infections to your surgeon. Surgery cannot be performed until all infections have cleared up.
- Arrange for someone to help with everyday tasks like cooking, shopping, and laundry.
- Put items that you use often within easy reach before surgery, so you won’t have to reach and bend as often.
Preparation on the Day of Surgery
Specific instructions regarding preparation for surgery will be provided by your surgeon. In general, this usually includes:
- Arrive at the hospital with a family members or friend one or two hours before your scheduled surgery so that there is enough time to prepare for the procedure.
- Avoid eating or drinking after midnight the day before surgery.
- Leave valuables and jewelry at home.
- Bring your medical and imaging reports.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothes. You may have to change into a patient's gown so that the surgery can be performed easily.
- Inform your doctor if you are wearing any prosthetics.
- You or your caregiver will have to sign consent forms and admission papers.
- Sedative medication may be administered to help you stay relaxed just before the procedure. You may also receive other preoperative medications. An intravenous line will usually be started.
Preparing for a Same Day Procedure
If you are having day surgery, remember the following:
- Have someone available to take you home, you will not be able to drive for at least 24 hours.
- Do not drink or eat anything in the car on the trip back home.
- The combination of anesthesia, food, and car motion can quite often cause nausea or vomiting. After arriving home, wait until you are hungry before trying to eat. Begin with a light meal and try to avoid greasy food for the first 24 hours.
- Take your medications as directed.