The image shows an operating room. A patient i...

With over 50 million inpatient surgeries being performed each year in America, it’s not surprising that you may find yourself preparing to “go under the knife.” Many surgeries are simply routine operations, that do not present a high-risk of complication or danger. Delaying necessary surgeries could result in a potential worsening of condition and lessening of resolve. Before you are wheeled in, consider these preparative steps.

Clean Up the Night Before

Often, your surgeon will have specific instructions for you to follow the night before surgery. You will need to remove nail polish, makeup and all jewelry. You may also need to do an intensive special cleaning of the surgical area. For some surgeries, you will be required to not eat or drink anything after a certain time the night before, talk to your doctor to find out beforehand.  

Follow Instructions Day Of

Depending on the surgery, you could have very different requirements for surgery prep. Some doctors will ask you not to take certain medications beforehand, while others will recommend continuing with your prescribed dose. Do not drink large amounts of water or consume heavy foods if you are allowed to eat at all.

Patients should never transport themselves to the hospital or clinic the day of surgery. You should be driven by a friend or loved one, and have them take you home afterwards. If you are forced to utilize public transportation you must have a companion escort you home. Try to avoid bringing children with you, and keep only two friends or family with you at the hospital.

What to Bring

The day of surgery can be a stressful time for some people and often it is advisable to utilize whatever stress-relieving methods you have available. For some, this can be bringing a soothing recording to listen to on tape beforehand or bringing a bible or other book to read. For most people, having a trusted friend or relative present can help soothe nerves.

Be sure to bring a list of your current medications, and supplements, on the day of your surgery. Additionally, you will want to bring some kind of entertainment system (books, drawing, movies), to utilize while waiting your turn. If you are extremely concerned about the surgery, or it is high-risk, you may want to bring a copy of your advance directives.

When to Delay

In some cases, surgery will need to be delayed for a variety of reasons. If you have become ill before the procedure, contact your doctor to postpone the surgery. However, if your current illness is a complication of the health condition that requires surgery, your surgeon may choose to go ahead with the operation.