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.


Talk with your surgeon if you are taking any blood thinning medicines such as Warfarin, Coumadin®, Lovenox®, or Heparin. These types of drugs can increase your risk of bleeding. You will have to stop taking NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen (Advil® or Motrin®) prior to surgery.

Please contact your doctor to confirm when to stop taking these medicines. This may be anywhere from 2 to 14 days before your surgery. If you are diabetic, please ask your doctor about taking your insulin on the day of surgery.

Pre-surgery recommendations

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

Two weeks before your surgery

  • Stop taking all herbal medicines and medicines containing aspirin
  • If you are not sure which medicines you should stop taking, ask your doctor or pharmacist
  • You may take acetaminophen (Tylenol®) to relieve minor pain if needed

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
  • 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:

Olson Ambulatory Surgery Center
Olson Pavilion
710 N. Fairbanks Court
Sixth Floor Registration Desk Check-in
Hours: 6:30 am–7:00 pm
Phone: 312.926.7937

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
710 N. Fairbanks Court
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: 8:00 am–5:00 pm, Friday: 8:00 am–3:30 pm
Phone: 312.472.5044

Lavin Suite 1200 Surgery Center
Orthopedic Surgery, Spine Surgery
Lavin Family Pavilion
259 E. Erie Street
Twelfth Floor Registration Desk Check-in
Hours: Monday–Thursday: 8:00 am–5:00 pm, Friday: 8:00 am–3:30 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

You must arrange to have someone take you home after surgery.

It is also helpful to 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
  • Insurance card
  • Medicare card (for Medicare patients)
  • List of allergies & current medicines
  • Recent test or physical exam reports
  • Copies of Advance Directive, Living Will (English|Spanish) or Power of Attorney (English|Spanish)
  • 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.

Family waiting

Family or friends may bring the following items to pass the time:

  • Laptop computers
  • Cell phone
  • Magazine, book or other reading materials

For safety and privacy reasons, children under the age of 16 may not visit in the surgical patient care areas. Those under age 16 should not be left alone in the waiting room; a responsible adult other than the patient must supervise them.