Checklist: day of surgery

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To help your surgery go as planned, be sure to take the following steps. If you have any questions, please contact your doctor.

Before you leave for the hospital or medical facility

  • Be on time for your preoperative check-in. Being late can delay your surgery. Allow extra time for parking or traffic. Search our location finder for driving directions to your medical center.
  • Shower the morning of surgery, but do not use any perfumes, colognes, or lotions on your skin. Do not shave the surgical area yourself. Shaving at home may increase infections after surgery.
  • Do not wear contact lenses. They could scratch your eyes during surgery.
  • Have your photo ID and your Kaiser Permanente identification card with you.

Before your surgery

When you arrive, your surgeon and the surgical team will:

  • Explain what will happen during surgery and answer any questions you have.
  • Review your health history, including any allergies you have and medications you take.
  • Check your identity and put a patient identification bracelet on your wrist that will be worn during the entire hospital stay.
  • Identify the correct body area for your surgery. This may be done by writing directly on the skin at the time of surgery.
  • Measure your vital signs (temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and oxygen level).
  • Make sure you have not had anything to eat or drink for the length of time your surgeon told you, usually eight hours.
  • Ask you to remove any dentures or plates, hearing aids, contact lenses, or jewelry.
  • Give you any medications ordered by the anesthesiologist or surgeon. These medications will help you relax. You may be given a medication to reduce the chance of infection or other complication.
  • If needed, start an intravenous (IV) line in your arm or hand for fluids and medications before, during, and after your surgery.
  • Tell you what will happen after surgery, such as whether you will have special equipment, like another IV, a urinary catheter, or wound drains.
  • In the operating room, your incision site will be washed with a special solution to remove bacteria.

When you wake up in the recovery room, the nurse will check that you are stable and comfortable. It is important for you to tell us how you feel and ask about any concerns you may have.

Reviewed by Kaiser Permanente in 2018

Surgery and your safety

Learn about the steps you and your surgery team will take to ensure your safety.

After your surgery

You’ll find patient instructions to help you have a safer and more comfortable recovery.

When a child needs surgery

Children needing surgery want comfort and answers. Learn how to get your child prepared for surgery.