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Preparing for Surgery

Howard County General Hospital cares about you and your surgical experience. We want to be sure you have the most successful procedure possible. The best way to prepare for it is to take care of yourself, get plenty of rest and familiarize yourself with these instructions. We are committed to ensuring that your brief stay with us is safe, uncomplicated, convenient and successful. This information includes key instructions and helpful hints to help prepare you for your visit. We thank you in advance for taking the time to review this information carefully.

If you have questions or concerns, please call our preoperative nurse at 410-884-4526.

Before Your Surgery

  • Please arrange for an adult to drive you home from the hospital. For your safety, if you are having an outpatient procedure, an adult must remain with you for 24 hours after surgery. If you do not make these arrangements, we would be happy to work with you to reschedule your procedure for a date on which you can meet these important requirements.
  • Shower or bathe two days before surgery and the night before surgery to minimize the chance of infection. Read our preoperative bathing instructions.
  • If you become ill or experience any change in health before surgery, please contact your surgeon or the preoperative nurse at the hospital immediately.
  • If you are a woman and suspect you are pregnant, it is extremely important that you notify your surgeon immediately.
  • You may receive a preoperative health assessment call from a nurse one to three days in advance of your surgery.
  • Many of our forms may be filled out in advance.

Day of Surgery

  • Please follow your surgeon’s instructions regarding eating and drinking prior to surgery.
  • Take only medications your physician has instructed, with a small sip of water. Some medications, such as medications taken to control your blood pressure, are very important to take before your surgery, the day of your surgery, and the immediate days after your surgery.   
  • Wear or bring loose, comfortable clothing to the hospital.
  • Wear flat shoes—slip-on styles are best.
  • Remove any body piercings.
  • Leave all jewelry and valuables home.

What to bring with you on the day of surgery

  • Bring a list of current medications and pills you take including name, dosage and how often each is taken. Do not bring the bottles.
  • Bring asthma inhalers if you use them.
  • Bring your completed insurance forms, insurance or Medicare card, a photo I.D. and any applicable co-pays.
  • If you are staying overnight, please leave your overnight bag in the car. Your family may bring it in after your surgery, when you have been taken to your room.
  • If you use a CPAP machine when you sleep, please bring it with you to the hospital. This may be left in the car with the overnight bag and brought to the room later.
  • If you have an advance directive, bring a copy with you. If not, please tell the receptionist where you have it on file.
  • Please bring your glasses for reading and your eyeglass case.
  • Young children who will be undergoing surgery may bring a comforting toy or blanket with them.

When and Where to Arrive

  • On the day of your surgery, you will need to register for your procedure.  If your scheduled arrival time is before 5:00 PM on a weekday, you will come directly to the Berman Pavilion (formerly the Health Care and Surgery Center), next to the main hospital. Our registration team will assist you in the lobby of the building.
  • If your scheduled arrival time is after 5:00 PM on a weekday, or if it is on a weekend, please enter through our main hospital entrance. You will be directed to the Admitting Desk in the lobby of the main hospital.
  • Surgical services are provided in the main hospital building as well as The Center for Ambulatory Services in the Berman Pavilion, but the registration process is the same regardless of where you will have your procedure.
  • If you are having inpatient surgery, you should arrive no later than 90 minutes before your scheduled surgery time (unless your surgeon instructs you to arrive earlier).
  • If you are having outpatient surgery, you should arrive no later than 60 minutes before your scheduled surgery time.


For the safety of all of our patients, personal electrical appliances such as hairdryers, electric razors, radios and televisions are prohibited within the hospital. Laptop computers, cell phones, battery-operated radios, DVD players and MP3 players are permitted. For the consideration of other patients, however, please use headphones when listening.

Go to Day of Surgery

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