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Preoperative Patient Instructions

Your anesthesiologist is responsible for insuring your safety and comfort during surgery and for providing optimal conditions for your surgeon to perform the procedure. You can help by following these general instructions for your comfort, health and safety. (Your surgeon may give you other specific instructions.)

  • Do not eat or drink anything for six hours before arrival at the hospital. This includes gum, candy, mints, coffee, milk and other food. You shouldn't consume alcoholic beverages for at least 24 hours prior to surgery. You may have water only up until 4 hours before your scheduled surgery. If you do not follow the eating and drinking instructions faithfully, your stomach may not be empty. This increases your risk of getting stomach contents into your lungs under anesthesia-a potentially life-threatening situation. Also, you are more likely to be sick after surgery. Unless you have had nothing to eat or drink for the required time, your surgery may be delayed or cancelled for your own protection.
  • If you smoke, please refrain. Surgery is a great time to quit. Those smokers who quit around the time of their surgery tended to have fewer problems with nicotine withdrawal, according to a review in Anesthesiology. Plus, you'll fare better than those who keep smoking. The review found non-smokers heal faster and are less likely to suffer problems with anesthesia.
  • Take the medicine that you are told to take (with a small amount of water) on the morning of surgery. If you take blood pressure medication, take it in the morning with a sip of water, or as directed by the nurse.
  • Call your personal physician for advice if you take aspirin, anti-inflammatory medications or blood thinners on a daily basis.
  • Do not take any herbal or diet medications for at least one week before surgery.
  • Use your inhalers and bring them with you on the day of surgery.
  • Bring your CPAP machine if you plan to stay in the hospital overnight.
  • Bring a current list of your medications with you, including dosages and when you take the medications.
  • Arrange to have someone drive you home if you are having outpatient surgery and stay with you until the next day.
  • Make sure that you have had any pretests ordered by your surgeon.
  • Bathe or shower the evening before your surgery.
  • Brush your teeth before surgery, but do not swallow any of the water.
  • Do not wear makeup, powder, perfume, lotion, aftershave or nail polish.
  • Wear comfortable clothing. You will be changing into a patient gown.
  • Do not bring jewelry or other valuables with you.
  • Bring a case for glasses or contact lenses. We will provide a container if you wear dentures or partial plates.
  • Contact your physician prior to the day of your surgery if you develop a sore throat, cold fever or any other illness, or if you eat or drink anything the day of the surgery. Your procedure may have to be canceled or rescheduled. If it is, please call Saint John Hospital at 913-680-6467.