Before Surgery

Along with your doctor's instructions, it is very important to follow these guidelines. Failure to do so may result in the cancellation of your surgery.

Doctor's Orders

Notify your doctor immediately if you develop any signs of illness before the surgery. This includes a cold, cough, respiratory infection, fever or any significant change in the condition for which you are having surgery. Any questions you may have about your condition should be directed to your physician.

Further, do not take aspirin or aspirin-like products (such as Ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, Aleve, etc.) for two weeks prior to surgery, unless instructed by your doctor. It's also important to discontinue all over-the-counter vitamins, herbs and supplements.

Unless directed to do so by your pre-assessment nurse or doctor, do not take any of your regular medications (such as blood pressure or heart medication) on the morning of surgery. If necessary, medications should be taken with no more than a tablespoon of water.

The Night Before Your Surgery

  • Do not eat, drink or smoke anything after midnight on the night before your surgery. This includes water, coffee, juice, chewing gum or mints. It is extremely hazardous to have any anesthetic after you have eaten. You may brush your teeth, but do not swallow the water. It is recommended that you use an antiseptic mouthwash. Again, do not swallow anything.
  • Take a shower or bath the night before or the morning of surgery. Do not apply deodorant, powder, cologne or body lotion.

What to Bring to the Hospital

  • Bring your own toothbrush, toothpaste and other personal grooming items with you.
  • Remove any makeup and jewelry, including all piercings.
  • Contact lenses must be removed before surgery, so please bring your glasses and a glasses case with you.
  • You may wear dentures to the hospital, but please bring your storage container.
  • Please bring a list of all medications you are currently taking, including dosage, along with a list of any allergies you may have.
  • Bring loose, comfortable clothing such as a warm-up suit to wear home.

Planning Ahead for Your Recovery

Before you leave for the hospital, make arrangements for items and help you might need after your surgery, including:

  • House sitting: Someone to collect your mail, water your plants and grass, care for pets, pay bills and check your house.
  • Transportation: Designate a friend or family member to take you home from the hospital.
  • At-home care: Ensure that someone will be prepared to care for you once you return home.
  • Meal planning: Cook meals and freeze them ahead of time, or arrange for meal deliveries.
  • Personal belongings: Gather your dentures, hearing aids, glasses, walkers, flowers, etc.
  • Pharmacy errands: Ask someone to pick up medications and supplies from the pharmacy or drug store.

Around-the-House Preparations

To make your recovery at home more comfortable, you may wish to make adjustments in areas you will use most often. Try these tips, suggested by the Arthritis Foundation

  • In the bath: To aid your balance, install secure handrails and grab bars in your shower; you might also benefit from an elevated toilet seat and a stable shower bench.
  • In the kitchen: Keep frequently used items within easy reach, so that you won't need to bend or stretch.
  • On floors: Remove loose carpeting and rugs, and tape down electrical cords to eliminate possible tripping hazards.