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Before Your Surgery

Stay Well Informed

We encourage you to educate yourself about your condition, any medical tests you need, and your treatment plan. If you are not the legal parent of a minor, or if you are accompanying an incapacitated adult, you must bring with you on the day of surgery legal documents showing your guardianship rights. Only a legal parent or legal guardian may sign the surgical consent forms for minors or incapacitated adults. Surgery cannot be conducted without proper consent.

You will be asked to sign a consent form, if you have not already done so at your doctor’s office. Please be sure to read it carefully. It will include:

  • Your name
  • The name of the physician who will perform your surgery
  • The type of surgery you will be having
  • A statement that you have talked with your physician about the benefits and risks related to this procedure
  • A statement that you have talked with your physician about the surgery and had the opportunity
    to ask questions
  • Your agreement to have the surgery

You will also be given a consent form for anesthesia. If you do not understand something on the consent form, please do not hesitate to ask a member of our care team to explain things more thoroughly. You may also be asked to sign a document regarding the privacy of your health information and a patient agreement which gives Lakeland permission to bill your insurance.

  • Before your procedure, you may receive information about viewing a “myHealth Matters” video about anesthesia and sedation. We encourage you to watch the video at your convenience and contact your provider with any questions.
  • Your physician may suggest other videos for you to watch and you will be notified by a Lakeland MyChart message, email, or a phone call reminder. These programs can answer many questions you may have about being in the hospital or the procedure you are scheduled for.

Preoperative / Preadmission Tests

Your physician may want you to have some tests prior to your surgery. These tests are important because they provide your healthcare team with valuable information about your current health status. Tests such as blood work, an EKG (electrocardiogram), X-rays, or any other studies must be done a week prior to your surgery, but no earlier than a month in advance. Otherwise, your surgery may be delayed or canceled. Most tests can be scheduled in advance by calling (800) 791-2810 and performed at the following Lakeland locations:

Center for Outpatient Services, St. Joseph
3900 Hollywood Road

Lakeland Hospital Niles
31 N. St. Joseph Avenue

Lakeland Hospital Watervliet
400 Medical Park Drive

Paw Paw Lake Medical Center, Coloma

6559 Paw Paw Avenue - Walk-in lab and imaging services only


If you develop a cold, fever, rash, or other illness before your surgery, call your surgeon. He or she may want to reschedule your operation for a time when you are feeling better.


It is very important that you do not eat anything after midnight the night before surgery. Patients can drink water up until one hour prior to leaving their home for the hospital.

If your infant or child younger than three years of age is having surgery, please limit their food and fluids as instructed below:

  • Six hours before surgery, you may give formula, milk, or breast milk.
  • Four hours before surgery, you may give breast milk.
  • Two hours before surgery, you may give clear liquids. Do not give anything after this point. 

Your Medications Matter

It is important for you to know what medicines you take and why you take them.

  • Carry an up-to-date list of the medicines you are taking in your purse or wallet. Write down how much you take, how often, and when you take them. If you have any allergies to medications, foods, latex, bee stings, etc., record these as well. Go over the list with your doctor and other caregivers.
  • Do not bring your medications with you unless instructed to do so during the pre-op phone interview.
  • Before surgery, discuss with your physician which medications you can safely take on the day before your surgery, as well as on the day of your surgery. This should include all prescription medications and over-the-counter medicines, including aspirin.

Preparing for Surgery

  • Shower with antibacterial soap on the three days before and the morning of your surgery.
  • Wash your hair each time as normal with usual shampoo.
  • Use antiseptic soap or Chlorhexidine Gluconate (CHG) wipes if instructed to do so.
  • Use a clean, soft towel each time. Do not share towels with others.
  • Sleep on freshly laundered sheets and in clean pajamas prior to surgery.
  • Do not shave any part of your surgical area at least two days prior to surgery.
  • Use mouthwash and brush your teeth twice daily for at least two days before and on the morning of surgery.
  • Drink a pre-load drink called GED 
    • Outpatient surgery: 12 ounces, 2-3 hours before surgery
    • Major Surgery: 12 ounces at dinner the night before, 12 ounces at bedtime, 12 ounces 2-3 hours before surgery
  • Wear loose, comfortable, clean clothing the day of surgery.
  • If you smoke:
    • Let us know if we can help you quit and be smoke-free.
    • Decrease the amount you smoke now before your surgery to improve healing after surgery
    • It is important that you abstain from smoking on the day of your surgery. Please stop smoking
      at midnight.