Prepare for a Surgery in 3 Steps

Surgery procedure

Surgery can be pretty scary, as the only thing you can do is rely on the doctors and wait. However, that doesn’t help with the anxiety that most people experience. You don’t have to bear it, though – if you focus on preparing for the surgery properly, it can take your mind off worries.

In this article, you will find the essential information about getting ready for general surgery and easing the recovery. Talking to your anesthesiologist, doing research, taking off your nail polish and makeup, preparing the necessary clothes and items – are just a few things you need to be aware of. Discover more about what you need to do in the article below.

Before Surgery

Preparation is an essential part of general surgery. The very first step is to be sure when you have the surgery scheduled. This way, you will not only have an idea of the date and time of the procedure, but you also will be able to get everything ready in advance. Don’t forget that the sooner your surgery is scheduled, the better – because it allows you to talk to your anesthesiologist beforehand.

If you don’t have an anesthesiologist yet, it’s time to start looking for one. Check with your doctor if they can provide you with a recommendation or even find the person through your insurance. You should also ask your surgeon whether or not they work with a certain anesthesiologist. Once you do, call them up and arrange a meeting so you can discuss your surgery. This way, you will learn about their experience and their reputation, as well as how they feel about your particular procedure.

A few days before surgery, you should also determine a set of simple preparations you need to do before surgery. These include preparing the documents, creating a list of things you will need in the hospital after the procedure, such as bras for after shoulder surgery, and undergoing blood tests or other procedures necessary for the surgery. To prevent infections and other complications, be sure to remove nail polish (if any) at least a few days before the operation.

orthopedic surgery
Orthopedics surgery – Photo by: The U.S. Army – Source:Flickr Creative Commons

The Day Before Surgery

To prepare for general surgery, you need to keep in mind that there will be a long list of instructions that need to be followed on the day of the procedure. In most cases, these instructions include consuming nothing after midnight – unless it’s water. 

However, there are exceptions – for example, some surgeries can require a clear liquid diet beforehand (such as gastric bypass), while others do not have any strict restrictions (such as laser eye surgery). Ensure that you carefully read all of the instructions associated with your particular procedure, and don’t hesitate to clarify any of your concerns with your doctor to avoid any accidents or complications.

As far as general surgery preparation goes, here are some other things that you need to do ahead of time:

  • Bathe or clean, and If there is a lot of hair on the area to be operated on –  shave it if possible.
  • Pack all of your clothes for after the procedure – loose-fitting clothing will be the best choice. Make sure that everything is clean and ready to wear.
  • If you usually wear glasses or contact lenses, do not wear them on the day of your surgery.
  • Do not wear makeup on the day of the surgery.
  • Make sure to leave your accessories and jewelry at home.
  • Bring a copy of your surgical history and blood type. Your anesthesiologist will need it during consultation. It is also recommended to prepare your social security card number, medical card, and insurance information.
  • Bring someone with you – even if you don’t like having people around when you are sick and in pain. It just might be too stressful and overwhelming for you to be alone. You need someone who can drive you home after the procedure and help with everything else that comes with surgery recovery. It’s better to have more than one person with you – that way, someone can stay with you in the hospital while another takes care of the kids, pets or whatever else needs attention at home.

The Day of Surgery

For most surgeries, there will still be a waiting period of a couple of hours before going under the knife. This time is usually spent at the pre-op room where doctors have time to review your health history and perform a physical exam similar to the one you undergo annually

They will also speak with you and answer any questions that might be bothering you. The nurses will also take some more information about your medical history – this way, they can give it to your doctor before the procedure begins. The day of surgery is usually rather stressful – but try to relax as much as possible until it’s finally time for the surgery to start.

Once it’s time to go in for general surgery, your anesthesiologist will come into the room to talk about what will happen during anesthesia. This is important because everyone reacts differently to anesthesia – so it’s better to find out if there are any risks or allergies beforehand. 

Once you have talked about anesthesia and decided on what kind will be used on you (general or local), it’s time for the doctor and nurses to summarize how the operation will be conducted.


Surgeries can undoubtedly be overwhelming and intimidating, as you entrust your health to the doctor, relying on their knowledge and experience. However, with proper preparation, you have the opportunity to minimize the risks and ensure that the procedure will run smoothly. As every person is an individual case, you should always stick to your doctor’s requirements and prepare yourself for the surgery accordingly. 

However, there are universal things you should bear in mind – removing your nail polish and makeup, not wearing eye contacts and accessories, undergoing necessary procedures before the surgery, and preparing the documents. Ensure that you do not neglect them to make the experience less stressful.