General Guidelines to Help You Prepare for Surgery

woman in hospital bed with loved one

At the Johns Hopkins Department of Surgery, we are dedicated to providing quality care for our patients. We want you to have the most successful procedure possible. Please familiarize yourself with these instructions to help prepare for your visit.

It's advised you contact your physician or department for further instructions.

Before Surgery

Getting rest before your surgery may reduce risk of complications and speed up your recovery time. Please follow instructions provided by your physician or preoperative nurse prior to the day of your surgery. You may also want to complete the following steps to ensure you have a positive experience:

  • If you think you may be ill or experience any change in health before surgery, please contact your surgeon or the preoperative nurse at the hospital immediately.
  • Please complete any forms required before your scheduled 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.
  • If you 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.

Day of Surgery

During the day of your procedure, it's important that you bring any necessary insurance information, forms and ID along with a list of current medications you are taking. Learn more about what you should bring or leave at home during the day of your 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.

Guidelines Based on Location

Learn how to prepare for surgery at alternative Johns Hopkins Surgical Centers:

Appointments and Referrals