Before Your Surgery

Before Your Surgery Overview

Be sure to follow all of your doctor's pre-surgery guidelines, which may include special instructions for diet, medications or bowel preparation prior to surgery.


Be sure to tell your surgeon what medications you are taking including prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal supplements. Talk with your surgeon if you are taking any blood thinning medicines as these drugs can increase your risk of bleeding. If you are diabetic, please ask your doctor about taking your insulin on the day of surgery.

You may take acetaminophen (Tylenol) to relieve minor pain.

Pre-surgery recommendations

If you do not receive any special instructions, please review the following pre-surgery recommendations.

Two weeks before your surgery

If you are not sure which medicines you should stop taking, ask your doctor.

  • Stop taking aspirin or any medications that contain aspirin at least seven days before surgery. However, if you are taking aspirin for a specific reason, such as heart disease, history of stroke or stents, please contact your doctor for instructions and notify your surgeon.
  • Stop taking any anti-inflammatory medicine such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and all herbal supplements at least seven days before surgery.
  • You may take acetaminophen (Tylenol®) to relieve minor pain if needed.
  • Please contact your surgeon if you are sick or experiencing flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat).

Call from pre-op nurse

On the day before your surgery (or on Friday before a Monday surgery), a preoperative nurse may call you. The nurse will discuss:

  • Arrival time and place, and estimated surgery time
  • Diet and medicine guidelines before surgery
  • Discharge home or hospital stay

You will be directed to come to one of the following locations on the day of surgery:

Same Day Surgery
Galter Pavilion
201 E. Huron Street
Fifth Floor Registration Desk Check-in
Hours: 6:30 am–8:00 pm
Phone: 312.926.5450

Prentice Ambulatory Surgery Unit
Prentice Pavilion
250 E. Superior Street
Sixth Floor Registration Desk Check-in
Hours: 6:30 am–9:30 pm
Phone: 312.472.0610

Lavin Suite 1100 Surgery Center
Ophthalmology, Otolaryngology, General Surgery
Lavin Family Pavilion
259 E. Erie Street
Eleventh Floor Registration Desk Check-in
Hours: Monday–Thursday: 6:00 am – 7:00 pm, Friday: 7:00 am – 7:00 pm
Phone: 312.472.5044

Lavin Suite 1200 Surgery Center
Orthopaedic Surgery, Spine Surgery
Lavin Family Pavilion
259 E. Erie Street
Twelfth Floor Registration Desk Check-in
Hours: Monday–Thursday: 5:30 am – 6:30 pm, Friday: 6:30 am – 6:30 pm
Phone: 312.472.5779

During the call with the nurse, please ask the nurse any questions you have about your procedure.

The nurse may refer you to your surgeon for questions about your specific surgery. Should you have a question later on, you may call the pre-op nurse. You may use the numbers listed above to reach a nurse at your surgery center.

Day before your surgery

  • Eat a light or bland meal for dinner the night before your surgery (unless instructed otherwise by your surgeon)
  • Do not eat or drink after midnight, including hard candy, mints and gum
  • Do not smoke after midnight before your surgery
  • Shower and wash your hair at least 24 hours before your surgery
  • Arrange to have an adult age 18 or older to take you home after surgery
  • Designate a family spokesperson who can update family members/friends about your condition after surgery (we cannot share any medical information about you by phone to outside callers)

What to bring to your hospital stay

  • Photo ID and medical insurance card
  • Medicare card (for Medicare patients)
  • Current list of all medications, including over-the-counter and herbal supplements
  • List of allergies
  • Recent test or physical exam reports
  • Advanced directives, living will or power of attorney (if applicable)
  • CPAP device if you have sleep apnea
  • Any assistive devices or equipment needed after surgery
  • Containers for contact lenses, glasses or dentures
  • Toiletries and other personal items if you will be staying overnight
  • Magazine, book or other reading materials

Please leave all valuables (jewelry, credit cards, money) at home. This includes body-piercing jewelry and tongue studs. You may not wear any jewelry during surgery.

Plan to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that will fit over bandages and splints.