If you will need blood
during your surgery, you may wish to donate your own blood. This is called
autologous donation. It will have to be arranged several weeks before your
surgery. To qualify for autologous donation, you must not be
- Blood Transfusions: Should I Bank Blood 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
- Talks about when you should stop eating and drinking
- Answers any questions you may have.
Minor surgeries that can be done in your doctor's office
or at a same-day surgery center usually take less than 2 hours, and you can
recover at home after the surgery. For these, you most likely will need only
oral pain medicines after your procedure. Examples of these types of surgeries
For more major surgery or emergency surgery, you will
probably stay in the hospital.
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
- 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
- Shower the morning of surgery, but do not use any perfumes,
colognes, or body lotion.
- Remove all nail polish and body jewelry, such as
In the preoperative area
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.
- Measure your vital signs (temperature, heart
rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and oxygen level).
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.
- Answer any questions you or your family members
have about your surgery. Tell the nurse who should be contacted right after
your surgery to talk about how the surgery went and whether anything was
- Make sure you have a ride home.
- Explain to you what will happen and reassure you to help you
remain calm. The nurse may go over the
pain scale that is used to help see how you are doing
- Ask you to urinate and change into a hospital
- Ask you to remove any dental work, such as dentures or
- Ask you to remove any hearing or visual aids, such as
hearing aids or contact lenses.
- Give you the medicines ordered by
anesthesiologist during his or her visit with you
before surgery. These medicines will help you relax.
- Give you
antibiotics, if ordered by your
- Give your family or friends instructions on how long you
will be in surgery and in the recovery area. The nurse will also let your
family or friends know where they can wait during your
- Start an
intravenous (IV) line in your arm or hand, if ordered
by your surgeon or anesthesiologist, for fluids and medicines before, during,
and after your 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