What you need to know

Preparing For Surgery

Once you have scheduled your surgery, preparing yourself physically and mentally are important for a healthy recovery.  Here are a few steps to help you get ready for your surgery.

Surgery Pre-Registration and Pre-Surgical Assessment

Before you come to the hospital for surgery, you must complete your pre-registration.  Your surgeon’s administrative assistant will help you coordinate your pre-surgical appointment as well as any required preoperative clearance or testing.

Be sure to have the following information available:

  • Questions you have about your surgery
  • A list of your allergies
  • A list of medications and dosages you take on a regular basis, including vitamins, herbs and other over-the-counter medications
  • Results of any recent test(s) at other hospitals
  • Names, addresses and phone numbers of your doctors, including specialists
  • Any previous problems or reactions to anesthesia

The nurse will:

  • Confirm your surgical procedure
  • Conduct a nursing assessment, which includes past medical conditions, previous hospitalizations and a complete list of medications including prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and any dietary supplements
  • Confirm any allergies you have to drugs, food or latex
  • Review arrival time for the day of surgery
  • Recommend a special soap to wash the area the day before surgery


Depending on the type of insurance you have, you may be responsible for a co-pay for your surgical procedure.  The amount will vary depending on your insurance provider.

Informed Consent

Before surgery you will be asked to sign consent forms.  You have the right to understand your health problem and treatment options in words you can understand.  Your doctor should also tell you about the risks and benefits of each treatment.  Please feel free to ask questions.


A member of the Anesthesia Department will speak with you before surgery and let you know if any medications need to be stopped before surgery (see medication list in the Surgery Handbook PDF).

Physically Preparing for Surgery

Here are some tips that will help you focus on a smooth recovery following surgery.

  • Stay as active as possible.
  • It is important to share with staff any pain medication you are taking.  This will better allow us to plan for your comfort after surgery.
  • Continue your normal activity and exercise programs. 
  • Be mindful of your weight.  You may want to contact a dietitian for help losing weight or maintaining a lower weight after surgery.  Resources are available. 
  • Discuss the need for a routine dental exam prior to surgery with your surgeon. 
  • If you have a fever, flu symptoms or other medical issues, please contact your surgeon’s office.  
  • Stop smoking.  If you smoke, try to stop or cut back on the number of cigarettes you smoke every day.  Smoking can cause complications with the anesthesia you receive for your surgery.  Smoking also inhibits wound healing and bone healing.  There is a 50% chance your fusion will not heal if you continue to smoke.  Smoking decreases blood flow to healing tissues by 25% and accelerates arthritic changes.  People who smoke have more back and neck pain than non-smokers.  Stopping even for a short time can be helpful.  
    • For further information and resources on how to quit, contact or visit:
    • 1-800-TRY-TO-STOP or visit www.trytostop.org
    • 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit http://cdc.gov/tobacco

Mentally Preparing for Surgery

Having surgery can be stressful.  It is important to be an informed patient.  Learn as much as you can about the surgery and discuss realistic expectations with your surgeon and staff.  Share this information with family members and friends who will be involved in helping you with recovery.  Don’t hesitate to ask for help from others during your recovery.  It is important to plan for help in place during your recovery period.

We’ve also prepared a Surgery Handbook that goes into more detail about preparing for surgery, what to expect during your hospital stay, and post-operative care. Download the entire Surgery Handbook PDF to learn more.

Request an Appointment

Our office will call you to schedule your appointment date and time.