Before Surgery

Your doctor will provide you with specific instructions about how to prepare for your surgery. These general instructions apply to most everyone.

Many people find it helpful to know what to expect from surgery before that day arrives so they can prepare. When it’s time for your surgery, it’s important to follow your doctor’s preoperative instructions to help ensure the success of your procedure and recovery.

Pre-Surgery Instructions

  • If you're having anesthesia, your anesthesiologist may call you the night before your surgery — feel free to ask questions.
  • Eating instructions before surgery: Starting at midnight before your surgery, do not eat any food, dairy, or liquids with pulp. NO food, NO milk or dairy products, NO coffee creamer, NO alcohol, NO chewing gum, NO lozenges.
    Drinking instructions before surgery: Unless instructed otherwise by your doctor or the Pre-Admission Program at El Camino Health, you may continue to drink clear liquids up to 3 hours before your surgery. The ONLY liquids allowed are water, clear broth, tea or plain black coffee (no milk or creamer), grape, cranberry, or apple juice without pulp.
  • If you routinely take medications, check with your doctor to see if these should be taken on the day of surgery. Some medications are stopped seven days before surgery.
  • Arrange to have a friend or relative available to drive you home as soon as you’re ready for discharge. You may be ready for discharge in the morning and need someone available early in the day to pick you up and take you home.
  • Notify your doctor if you develop any signs of illness, such as fever, vomiting, cough or nasal congestion before your scheduled surgery.
  • Don't apply makeup on the day of surgery, and remove nail polish and all jewelry if possible.

Special Instructions for Pediatric Patients 

A parent or legal guardian must sign the surgical consent form for patients under 18 years of age, as well as accompany them to the hospital. If you’re a guardian, please bring guardianship papers with you to the hospital.

Other Helpful Pre-Surgery Information

Learn about:

Learn more about anesthesia and what to expect the day of surgery and after your procedure.