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Common Surgical Questions

Having Surgery? 

Here is what you need to know to plan for your upcoming surgery.

May I eat or drink before surgery?

Unless otherwise instructed, you may not eat or drink anything, not even gum or candy, for eight hours before your surgery. Do not drink alcohol or use recreational drugs within 24 hours of surgery. For special circumstances — such as those affecting very small children — please check with your doctor.

May I smoke before surgery?

You must refrain from smoking or chewing tobacco for at least eight hours before your surgery.

Should I take my medications? Which ones?

Most blood pressure, breathing, seizure and heart medications should be taken the morning of the surgery with a small sip of water. You may also take eye drops and inhalers. DO NOT TAKE diuretics (water pills) or antacids (Maalox®, Tums®, etc.).

One week before surgery, stop taking Aspirin, ibuprofen and similar medications. Two weeks before surgery, stop taking herbal megavitamins and weight loss products. If you take Coumadin® or other blood-thinning medications, you must ask the doctor who prescribed these medications how to adjust their dosage around your surgery.

DIABETICS: Please consult the health care provider who manages your diabetes for instructions. Generally, STOP taking Glucophage® or Glucovance® 24 hours before surgery and do not resume until you are eating and drinking fluids adequately. Guidelines for insulin depend on the insulin you are taking — this is why it is important to contact your own physician.

PLEASE BRING TO YOUR SURGERY APPOINTMENT A LIST OF ALL MEDICATIONS AND DOSAGES YOU ARE CURRENTLY TAKING.

How long will I be in the hospital?

The length of your stay in the hospital depends on the type of surgery you are having and the outcome.

  • Outpatient: You'll arrive at the hospital the morning of surgery and return home later that same day.

  • Short Stay: You'll arrive at the hospital the morning of surgery and return home later that day or the next morning.

  • Inpatient: You'll arrive at the hospital the morning of surgery and stay one or more days following surgery.

May I shower or bathe before surgery?

Please shower or bathe the night before surgery.

When can I shower or bathe after surgery?

Information regarding bathing and showering at home after your surgery will be provided upon your discharge from Mercy Health Saint Mary's.

Can I use makeup before surgery?

Use minimal makeup — if any — and please, no nail polish.

What should I wear?

Wear comfortable clothes and bring as few personal belongings with you as possible. If you are to be an inpatient, a family member or friend may bring your things to your room following surgery.

What should I bring with me?

  • Insurance information cards
  • List of previous surgeries and/or hospitalizations
  • Copy of advanced directives (if you have them)
  • Inhalers or insulin you use
  • List of all medications and dosages you are currently taking
  • Eyeglasses and/or contact lenses and cases

CHILDREN: Should have two adults with them as well as a favorite toy or blanket.

What should I leave at home?

DO NOT bring jewelry, money, credit cards or any other valuables. Mercy Health Saint Mary's is not responsible for the loss of these items.