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Just Before Surgery

Just before surgery there are several things that you need to do to ensure you are safely prepared for your surgery.

Preparing your skin

Skin preparation before surgery helps to remove germs on the skin, prevent infection and to help incisions heal.

  • Do not remove any hair from your surgical area for at least one week before your surgery unless told to by your surgeon. If hair removal is required, it will be done after you are admitted to hospital. 
  • Take a shower or bath and wash your hair with your regular soap and shampoo the night before your surgery.
  • You may be asked to do further skin preparation by your surgeon or the hospital. Follow their instructions.

Fasting restrictions

Restricting food and fluid (fasting) before surgery helps to keep the stomach empty during surgery. This helps prevent vomiting that could cause choking or stomach contents going into the lungs, leading to pneumonia.

Your surgeon or pre-admission staff will tell you when to stop eating and drinking before your surgery. Your surgery will be postponed if you do not follow the fasting instructions.

Stopping medications

Take all medications as usual unless told not to by your anesthesiologist, surgeon or other specialist. Discuss any concerns you have about stopping your medications with your doctors at least two weeks before surgery. Allowed medications can be swallowed with 30 ml (1 oz) of water per pill up to one hour before surgery.

Bowel preparation

Some operations require the bowel to be cleaned out before surgery using laxatives, enemas or other bowel cleansing preparations. You will receive instructions from your surgeon if you need bowel prep before your surgery. Please follow these instructions carefully. Failure to properly prepare your bowel for surgery will cause your surgery to be delayed or cancelled on admission.

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