Preparing for Surgery – What to Expect Before During and After

Preparing for Surgery – What to Expect Before During and After

Plan for someone else to drive you and stay with you until your surgery is completed. Bring two family members with you as waiting guests – they’ll stay in the preoperative area until it’s time for surgery!

Follow your doctor’s advice regarding what and how much to eat and drink on the day of surgery, as some medications must be discontinued or reduced prior to being operated on.


Your doctor will likely give specific instructions regarding what needs to be done prior to having surgery, depending on the nature of it. For instance, some surgeons require patients not cut or scrape skin from areas being operated upon.

Your hospital may provide a booklet of information about your surgery – known as a patient journey guide – which should be read prior to surgery, showing it to any friends or carers who might assist before and after your procedure. We advise reading it thoroughly prior to going in for surgery.

If your surgery will last a lengthy period, arrange to have someone drive you both ways to and from hospital. Also consider asking family or friends to help out by collecting mail and watering plants during this time.


Surgery requires someone to cut open your skin and alter what lies within. That can be extremely traumatic to your body and it will likely respond in various ways; therefore most surgeries carry risks associated with them.

Some risks can be quite severe and lead to infections, pneumonia or blood clots; others are less serious but could still hamper recovery timeframe. It’s essential that you identify what these are so you can discuss them with your healthcare provider and develop an action plan accordingly.

Before your surgery begins, you will enter a preoperative area (a room outside the operating room). Your nurse will ask for information such as your name and type of operation planned, medications you are currently taking or supplements you might take that might impact the procedure.

Your consent form and authorization for surgery will need to be signed, along with any instructions about whether or not eating and/or drinking before surgery. Failure to heed such advice could require your operation being rescheduled.


Dependent upon your procedure, your doctor will advise whether you require overnight hospital stay. In such instances, having someone be by your side and provide assistance at home after you return can be extremely useful.

Before your surgery begins, it may be necessary for you to attend a pre-admission clinic where a nurse will check your blood pressure and collect basic information regarding your health. You will likely be sent an invitation letter or text message with details. Here the nurse will conduct blood pressure measurements as well as collect any additional necessary details from you about yourself or anyone in the household who may need care or attention during recovery.

Prior to your surgery, it may also be necessary for you to stop certain medications so your physician can prescribe new ones; your nurse can provide more details. After an operation, it’s not unusual for patients to experience fatigue, muscle aches and sore throat symptoms in the days that follow; your physician or nurse may give painkillers as necessary and you must inform them how much medicine you require.

Post-Operative Care

After surgery, you may not be able to drive and will require assistance with food shopping, house cleaning and phone calls – among other tasks. Ask family and friends if they could assist with these activities or arrange professional caregiving services for assistance.

Before your surgery begins, you will meet your surgeon, anesthesiologist and surgical team and discuss details such as type of procedure being conducted, its location, name and birthdate of patient as well as whether or not an intravenous line needs to be started in your arm for fluids and medicine. You will then change into a hospital gown before having an intravenous line inserted so fluids and medicine may be administered throughout the duration.

Once your anesthesia wears off, you will be moved either into a regular hospital room for overnight stays or another room for outpatient procedures. Nurses will monitor your blood pressure, breathing rate, temperature and heart rate as well as any adverse side effects from anesthesia use.

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