Skip to Content

  • Print

It's the night before your surgery

Description

You have spent weeks going to appointments, preparing your home, and getting healthy before surgery. Now it is time for surgery. You may feel relieved, nervous, or both at this point.

However, taking care of a few last-minute details can help make your surgery more successful.

Medicines

Two weeks before surgery you may have been told to stop taking drugs that make it harder for your blood to clot. These include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve), and other drugs.

You should take only the medicines your doctor told you to take before surgery. This includes prescription medicines. If you are confused about which medicines to take on the night before or the day of surgery, call your doctor or refer to your pre-surgical instructions.

DO NOT take any supplements, herbs, vitamins, or minerals before surgery unless your doctor said it was OK.

Bring a list of all your medicines to the hospital. Include the ones that you were told to stop taking before surgery. Make sure you write down the dosage and how often you take them.

Washing your skin

You will probably be asked to take a shower or bath both the night before and the morning of surgery.

Your doctor or nurse may give you a special medicated soap to use. Look for instructions for how to use this soap. If no one gave you special soap, use Dial or another antibacterial soap you can buy at the store.

It is important that you do not shave the area over or around your hip. The doctors or nurses will do that at the hospital.

Scrub your nails with a brush. Remove nail polish and makeup before you go to the hospital.

Eating and drinking before surgery

Most of the time, you will be asked not to eat or drink after midnight. This usually means avoiding both solid foods and liquids.

You may brush your teeth and then rinse your mouth in the morning. If you were told to take any medicines on the morning of surgery, you may take them with a sip of water.

Symptoms to report

Rarely, you may have symptoms that your surgeon needs to know about before your surgery.

  • Any new skin rashes or skin infections (including herpes)
  • Cold symptoms or cough
  • Fever
  • Chest pain or shortness of breath
  • Scratches or skin changes around your hip

What should you pack

Bring along these clothing items:

  • Flat walking shoes with rubber or crepe on the bottom
  • Shorts or sweatpants and a T-shirt
  • Lightweight bath robe
  • Clothes to wear when you go home (sweat suit or something easy to put on and take off)

You should check with your hospital ahead of time about whether you need to bring your crutches, cane, or walker in for after surgery. Be sure to bring them if you've been instructed to do so.

Personal care items:

  • Eyeglasses instead of contact lenses, if possible
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant
  • Razor (electric only)

Other items may include:

  • A small amount of money
  • Books, magazines
  • Important telephone numbers of friends and relatives
  • Cell phone and charger
Rate This Page
Tell Us What you think
Review Date: 12/31/2018

Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

View References: View References

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.