What to Expect Before Surgery.

1. Will I be contacted prior to my surgery by the facility?

Yes. You may receive several calls. You will be contacted a few days prior to surgery by a member of your health care team. This call will include a routine health assessment, instructions for the day of surgery, and answers to any questions you may have. You may also be contacted by someone in the facility’s business office to address financial matters such as your responsibility for co-payments and deductibles.

2. What tests are required prior to my surgery?

Prior to surgery, each patient is required to have a pre-admission testing appointment for any pre-operative tests that your physician or anesthesiologist determine are needed. In addition and in order to assure you have the best care possible, we offer educational classes for patients who are having a spinal fusion procedure, total knee replacement or total hip replacement. The classes will be scheduled the same day as your pre-admission appointment.

Any additional pre-operative tests will be determined by your physician or anesthesiologist and communicated to you prior to the date of your surgery.

3. What should I bring?

  • Please bring a photo identification and your insurance card(s). Our staff will need to verify and make copies when you check-in on the day of your surgery.
  • Be sure to bring any medications from home that you may need during your stay at the facility (e.g., inhaler or insulin).
  • Please bring a list of all drugs you are currently taking.
  • Please bring payment of any patient responsibility (e.g. co-payment or deductible)
  • Please do not bring rings, watches or other valuables.

4. Should I arrange a ride to the facility?

Yes. You will not be allowed to drive after surgery. Please arrange for an adult to drive you home and for someone to be with you when you arrive.

5. What may I eat and drink before surgery? 

You will be informed of eating and drinking restrictions prior to surgery. It is very important that you follow the provided instructions. If you do not, your surgery may be delayed or cancelled.

6. Should I take my routine medications on the day of surgery?

You will be given instructions regarding medications by your physician or a staff member. Also, as noted above, please be prepared to list all medications (including name and dose) you are taking and to bring any with you that may be needed during your stay (e.g., inhaler or insulin).

7. What can I do to help ensure that I have the proper procedure on the correct surgical site?

Your safety is our primary concern. Your entire health care team will follow rigorous guidelines regarding site identification and procedure confirmation. National Patient Safety Goals have been developed which require your involvement too. You will be asked numerous times to confirm both the procedure you are having and the surgical site. You should take a very active role in all discussions with your physician, your anesthesia provider and our staff regarding the identification of your procedure and the correct surgical site. Your surgeon will mark the site prior to your procedure.

8. What can I do to help prevent a surgical site infection?

  • Take a shower the night before or the morning of surgery. Follow these simple steps:
    • Wash your hair first with any shampoo.
    • Wash all of your body using the liquid antibacterial soap and a clean washcloth for each shower. These will be provided at your pre-admission testing appointment.
    • Rinse well to remove all soap.
    • Dry your body with a clean towel.
    • Do not use lotion, cream or powder.
    • Do not shave or clip the area where the surgery will be done unless your physician directs you to do so.
  • On the day of your procedure make sure you, your family and any other caregivers wash hands frequently while at the facility and at home following your surgery. Also, do not hesitate to ask members of your health care team at the facility if they have washed their hands!
  • After your procedure make sure you, your family and any other caregivers wash their hands frequently. Also, be sure you follow all instructions provided by your health care team regarding the care and cleaning of your surgical site as well as the administration of post-operative medications and bandages.

9. What if I think I might be pregnant?

Please be sure to notify your physician, anesthesiologist and nurse prior to the date of surgery if you think you may be pregnant. The surgical procedure, anesthesia and medications may be harmful to a developing baby. Saint Thomas Hospital for Specialty Surgery’s policy is that NO pregnant patient will receive surgical services. The surgical procedure will be cancelled.


Saint Thomas Hospital for Specialty Surgery
615.341.7500   Map