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Once you and your doctor decide that surgery is the best treatment, you can start preparing for surgery and the way it will affect your lifestyle for several weeks or even months. Planning your surgery can be overwhelming, but you can make it easier on yourself and your family by being prepared and knowing what to expect. We can help you with that.

Two weeks before surgery

Please stop taking all herbal remedies, aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (Advil, Aleve, Ibuprofen, Motrin, Naproxen, etc.). You can take Tylenol (acetaminophen) if you need it for pain. If you are taking any other medications, please ask your primary care physician if you can take them up until the day of surgery.

The night before surgery

Food and drink

  • Please do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your surgery date because it may lead to complications with the anesthesia. This includes mints and chewing gum.
  • We also recommend that you do not smoke, chew tobacco, or drink alcohol for at least 24 hours before your surgery.

Hygiene and dress

  • You may brush your teeth the night before surgery. Just remember not to swallow liquids after midnight.
  • Do not wear jewelry, watches, or body piercings on the day of surgery.
  • Do not bring valuables with you to the hospital. You may wear dentures and glasses, but please bring the cases to place them in during surgery. If you wear contacts, you will need to take them out so bring your solution and a case.
  • Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that is appropriate for the procedure being performed - such as a button front shirt if you are having shoulder surgery.
  • Bring flat sole, slip-on walking shoes.
  • If you have been given any medical equipment before your surgery date - slings, crutches, post-operative shoes, or walkers - please bring them with you to check –in.

Bathing with Hibiclens before surgery

Because skin is not sterile, we need to be sure that yours is as free of germs as possible before surgery. You can reduce the number of germs on your skin by carefully washing before surgery. 

You must shower with a special soap called chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG)*. A common brand name for this soap is Hibiclens but you can use any brand. The soap comes in liquid form or in a scrub brush applicator. You can use either form. You can buy CHG soap at most large pharmacies, including CVS, Rite Aid, and Stop & Shop. 

*not to be used by people allergic to chlorhexidine.  

Follow these instructions to be sure your skin is clean before surgery:  

  1. Shower or bathe with CHG the night before your surgery and the morning of your surgery. Do not shave the area of your body where your surgery will be performed.
  2. With each shower or bath, wash your hair as usual with your normal shampoo.
  3. Rinse your hair and body thoroughly to remove all of the shampoo residue.
  4. Apply the CHG soap to your entire body FROM THE NECK DOWN. Do not use CHG near your eyes or ears to avoid permanent injury. Wash thoroughly, paying special attention to the area where your surgery will be performed.
  5. Turn the water off so the soap is not rinsed off too quickly. Wash your body gently for five minutes. Do not scrub your skin too hard. Do not wash with regular soap after CHG.
  6. Turn the water back on and rinse your body.
  7. Pat yourself dry with a clean towel.


You will not be able to drive a car or leave the surgery center unattended after your surgery. Please make arrangements for a responsible adult to drive you home and stay with you for 24 hours after surgery.