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Surgery: What to Expect

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Before Surgery

(continued)

Donating blood

If you will need blood during your surgery, you may wish to donate your own blood. This has to be done several weeks before your surgery.

dplink.gif Blood Transfusions: Should I Bank Blood Before Surgery?

Talking to a nurse before surgery

Many hospitals or surgery centers have a nurse who will meet with you or call you at home a few days before your surgery. This nurse makes sure all your forms and tests are complete before your scheduled surgery. The nurse also:

  • Makes sure the date and time of your surgery are correct.
  • Talks about when you should stop eating and drinking before surgery.
  • Answers any questions you may have.

Preparing for surgery

Before your surgery, your surgeon or nurse will remind you to do the following:

  • Bring any X-rays or other tests that you may have.
  • Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If your doctor has told you to take medicines on the day of surgery, do so using only a sip of water.
  • Do not use aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) for 1 week before your surgery.
  • Leave all valuables, such as money and jewelry, at home.
  • Bring what you will need after surgery, such as your inhaler if you have asthma or a cane if you use one. Also bring your insurance information.
  • If you are having same-day surgery, arrange for someone to take you home. And make sure you have someone stay with you for the first 24 hours.
  • Shower the morning of surgery, but don't use any perfumes, colognes, or body lotion.
  • Remove all nail polish and body jewelry, such as piercings.

Just before surgery

When you arrive for your surgery, your nurse will:

  • Check your name, your birth date, and your signed consent for surgery. Your nurse will also check the correct body area for your surgery. If you have any last-minute questions, ask to discuss them with your surgeon.
  • Check your vital signs (temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and oxygen level).
  • Measure or ask about your height and weight.
  • Make sure you have not had anything to eat or drink for the length of time your surgeon told you.
  • Check your medical chart for any allergies you have and any medicines you take.

Your nurse will also explain to you what will happen and will reassure you to help you stay calm. He or she may go over a pain scale camera.gif, which may be used to help see how you are doing after surgery.

Your surgeon or the surgical team may also give you some information on what will happen after surgery, such as whether you will have special equipment, like another IV, a urinary catheter, or wound drains.

The nurse will have you:

  • Urinate and change into a hospital gown.
  • Remove any dental work, such as dentures or plates.
  • Remove any hearing or visual aids, such as hearing aids or contact lenses.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 05, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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