Making Sure Your Surgery is Safe

Each year more than 15 million Americans have surgery. 

Because most operations are not emergencies and are considered elective surgery, you have time to learn more about your operation.

You should feel comfortable discussing your surgery with your physician and/or surgeon. If you are not sure what types of questions to ask, then click here for more information.  The information contained in this web site is provided by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and can be a valuable resource to you. 

What you should do

Pre-Anesthesia Testing

You will be given pre-Anesthesia tests and an anesthesia evaluation. These tests should be administered 2 or 3 days before surgery and should take about 45 minutes to an hour.  A pre-admission testing appointment will be made for you at the time of your surgery scheduling.  Please report to the main entrance, or Entrance "A", at your scheduled appointment time with your doctor's orders and any medications you are currently taking.

Day of surgery

Do not eat or drink anything after midnight prior to your surgery. This includes water, candy, gum, coffee, etc. If you eat or drink, your surgery will be postponed. We recommend that you do not drink any alcoholic beverages or smoke for 48 hours prior to surgery. You should bring a list of your current medications, with dosages you take, and a list of any drug or other allergies. If you take medications for high blood pressure, diabetes or nervous disorders, follow your surgeon's instructions about these. If you use an inhaler, please bring it with you.

Notify your doctor if you develop a cold, sore throat, cough, fever or any other illness prior to surgery. Male patients should shave in their normal fashion on day of surgery. Patients should remove all jewelry (including rings), nail polish, make-up, wigs, false eyelashes and contact lenses. It may be necessary for a family member or friend to drive you home and stay with you for 24 hours after the surgery.

All patients under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult for both pre-surgical testing and surgery. You should not drive, sign important papers, or make critical decisions for at least 24 hours after surgery. Follow the instructions your surgeon gives about diet, rest, and medications following surgery. If you have any complications following your surgery, you should contact your surgeon or report to the emergency department.

After your surgery

You will receive post-op guidelines when you arrive for your surgery. This information will be explained to you by your nurse at that time. You will also receive a post-op phone call from a nurse to check on you the day after your surgery; please feel free to ask questions either before your procedure or during your post-op phone call.

Pain Control Options

While we will make every effort to control your pain postoperatively, please understand that no surgery is painless.  In most cases we are able to minimize pain, but on some occasions the patient may have break though pain. 

Please make an effort to discuss pain control options with your surgeon and anesthesiologist.  Let them know your pain tolerance, and lifestyle as often these can limit our ability to control 100% of the pain.