Preparing for Surgery

Patient Info: Preparing For Surgery

Preparations for surgery depend on your diagnosis. Your physician will discuss with you how to prepare for your surgery. However, if you will undergo general anesthesia, you may be asked to do the following:

  • Stop drinking and eating for a certain period of time before the time of surgery

  • Undergo various blood tests, X-rays, electrocardiograms, or other procedures necessary for surgery

  • Sometimes a patient may be asked to take an enema the evening before surgery, to empty the bowels. Please check with your doctor.

  • Do not wear makeup the day of surgery

  • Do not wear nail polish

  • Do not wear your eye contacts

  • Leave valuables and jewelry at home

  • Advise the medical staff of dentures or other prosthetic devices you may be wearing

Often, to make their experience more comfortable and efficient, patients are advised to bring the following:

  • Loose-fitting clothes to wear

  • ID or Passport number

  • Your Medical Aid information

  • Your Medical Aid card

Tests Performed Before Surgery

Many surgeons order routine laboratory tests before admission to the hospital, or even before certain outpatient procedures, to identify potential problems that might complicate surgery if not detected and treated early. Some of the common tests are as follows:

  • Chest X-rays - may be used to help diagnose causes of shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, fever of unknown origin, and other abnormal heart, respiratory, and lung sounds.

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)

  • Urinalysis - may be used to diagnose kidney and bladder problems and to also detect drugs present in the body.

The following tests, used on blood and urine specimens, measure certain substances and electrolytes in the body:

  • Glucose - helps to identify causes of excessive sweating with tremor or anxiety, muscle weakness, diabetes, pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, altered mental status, and alcoholism.

  • Potassium - helps to identify causes of vomiting, diarrhea, congestive heart failure, muscle weakness, tissue damage, hypertension, and diabetes.

  • Sodium - helps to identify causes of vomiting, diarrhea, excessive sweating, dehydration, pulmonary disease, central nervous system disease, congestive heart failure, and cirrhosis of the liver.

If you have questions or concerns about any of the tests ordered by your physician, and the importance of having them, be sure to address them before having surgery.


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