Before Your Surgery

In advance of your surgery at Tufts Medical Center, please follow these instructions:

Days or Weeks Before Surgery

At Home:

  • Attend educational classes if available about your surgery.
  • Complete Health Care Proxy which allows a person you designate to make medical decisions for you if you are unable.
  • Arrange for someone to drive you home when you are discharged from the hospital. 
  • Make arrangements for a responsible adult to assist in caring for you upon your return home.
  • Arrange for a responsible person to care for children at home.
  • Move obstacles such as throw rugs, extension cords, and footstools out of walkways. Make sure you can walk about easily with walker or crutches.
  • Have appropriate seating for your type of surgery, no rolling chairs.
  • Pets may need to be kept in a certain area so tripping is not a danger. Have enough food and supplies for your pet.
  • Make sure handrails are secure in stairways.
  • Have clean clothes for a few weeks ready or a plan for laundry.
  • Arrange for mail to be picked up or place on hold for a few weeks.
  • Stock up on food that is easy to cook like premade frozen meals, boxed meals, meals on wheels support, or grocery delivery.
  • Have enough medications to last you a few weeks. 
  • Try and refrain from smoking (or smoke less).

At the Hospital:

  • Talk with your surgeon about why you need surgery, how it might help you and whether there are other options.
  • Bring an up-to-date list of all medications and dosages, including over-the-counter medicines, supplements, and herbals, you take. Talk to your surgeon about why you take each medication and how it helps. Ask if there are any medicines (even over-the-counter) that you should not take before your surgery.
  • Let the surgeon know if you are allergic to any medication and what happens when you take it. 
  • Discuss with your surgeon if you are being treated for chronic pain. 
  • Tell the surgeon if you have diabetes or high blood sugar.
  • Tell your surgeon if you have heart problems or if you’re taking any heart medication.
  • Depending on your surgery, you may be scheduled for a visit with an anesthesiologist. Tell your anesthesiologist about prior anesthesia experiences for you and for those within your family. Discuss your medical conditions and how they might affect your anesthetic options and your post operative pain management recommendations with your anesthesiologist.
  • Inform your anesthesiologist if you have been previously told that you have a “difficult airway.”
  • Talk to your surgeon about your anticipated discharge plan.
  • Attend Center for Preoperative Assessment visit if scheduled. If you do not have an appointment, an RN will call you to do your assessment.

The Day or Night Before Surgery 

  • Do NOT shave near where you will have surgery. Shaving can irritate your skin, which may lead to infection. If you are a man who shaves your face every day, ask the surgeon if it is okay to do so.
  • Keep warm. This means wearing warm clothes or wrapping up in blankets when you go to the hospital. In cold weather, it also means heating up the car before you get in. Keeping warm before surgery lowers your chances of getting an infection.
  • Shower and wash your hair. Follow any instructions provided on use of an antimicrobial soap. Do not use hair spray or other hair styling products. Remove any nail polish on your fingers and toes and do not wear make-up. Your caregivers need to see your skin and nails to check your blood circulation.
  • Follow all pre-surgery instructions carefully. You will probably be asked to stop eating the night before surgery. You may be instructed to stop taking regular medicines or you may be given a special medication or solution to drink before you go to the hospital.

Due to the complexity of the Operating Room schedule we are unable to provide your final arrival time until the day prior to surgery. After 2 pm on the day prior to surgery please call 617-636-TIME (8463) to confirm your expected arrival and surgical time.