The Morning of Surgery
What to bring to the hospital
- Your health care directive, if you have one
- Appropriate, comfortable clothing for discharge, taking into account casts, slings and movement restrictions
- Your CPAP machine, if you use one
What not to bring to the hospital
- More than $10 in cash
- Valuables such as credit cards, cellphones or laptops
- All jewelry must be removed prior to surgery, including wedding rings and piercings
What medications to take
Unless instructed otherwise by your primary physician or surgeon, take your usual medications the morning of surgery. Take pills with only enough water to swallow.
If you regularly take any of the following medications, it is especially important that you take them the morning of your surgery:
- Long-acting narcotic pain medications
- Beta-blocker blood pressure medications
- Some cardiac medications
- Steroid medications
- Medications taken for seizures
- Medications taken for acid reflux disease
- Asthma medication
What medications to avoid
- In most cases, blood thinners such as Coumadin (warfarin) and Plavix must be discontinued prior to surgery. Ask your surgeon and primary physician for specific instructions.
- Certain herbal supplements should be avoided prior to surgery because they can increase bleeding.
What to eat and drink the morning of surgery
Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your surgery, unless your primary physician or surgeon has instructed you otherwise. "Nothing by mouth" means no gum, water, mints, candy or chewing tobacco. Your surgery will be delayed or cancelled if you do not follow the following rules:
- No clear fluids or gum within two hours of surgery
- No light meals, candy or chewing tobacco within six hours of surgery
- No heavy or high-fat meals within eight hours of surgery
Preparing for the Operating Room
It is important that all members of your care team know about significant parts of your health history, such as medications, allergies, implants and when you last had something to eat or drink. Important information is recorded in your chart, but you may also be asked the same or similar questions by more than one of your caregivers.
- You are weighed and asked to change into a hospital gown and slippers. Your clothing is placed in a garment bag and taken to a locked closet area while you are in surgery.
- Glasses, dentures and hearing aids are given to your family. (You are not to wear any jewelry or contact lenses to the hospital when you come. This includes wedding rings, body-piercing jewelry, hair pins, etc.)
- A Preoperative Care Center nurse checks your blood pressure, heart rate and preoperative information.
- Anesthesiologist, nurse anesthetist, operating room (OR) nurse and your surgeon in the Preoperative Care Center will meet with you to discuss your anesthesia and surgery.
- You are given the proper medication(s) intravenously (IV), which may include drugs to help you relax and prepare for anesthesia.
- If you wish, your family is called from the waiting room to be with you until it is time to bring you to the operating room (OR).
While You Are in the Operating Room
- Your family returns to the waiting area.
- You are asked to slide onto the operating room (OR) bed.
- You are connected to monitors that constantly display information, such as your heart and circulatory function.
- You are given a general anesthetic or medications to make you feel drowsy or go to sleep.
- It’s common to not remember many of the events that occurred during the day of surgery, even if you seemed wide awake at the time.