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Getting Ready for Surgery

When will I know the date and time of my surgery?

  • Your surgeon's administrative assistant will give you a surgery date 1 to 2 weeks after you have signed the consent for surgery. Please call if you do not hear from us by then.
  • The Same Day Surgery Department will call you the day before your surgery between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to tell you what time you need to come to the hospital to register for your surgery. Please make sure the hospital has a phone number where you can be reached.
  • For a Monday surgery you will be called on Friday.
  • Your registration time could be as early as 6:00 a.m.
  • Please tell your surgeon's office if you have a cold, fever or illness of any kind a few days before the surgery. Your operation date may need to be changed.

Please note that the surgery date might change. If this happens, your surgeon's office will call and give you a new date for surgery as soon as possible.

What do I need to do to get ready for surgery?


Take off all jewelry (including wedding bands) and all body piercing before you come to the hospital. If you cannot remove rings, they will be cut off.

Jewelry left on can cause harm including:

  • Burns from the equipment
  • Swelling and reduced circulation in fingers and toes
  • Choking or other injuries from mouth jewelry
  • Infections
  • Skin tearing near the jewelry
  • Risk of injury to the hospital staff

EXCEPTION: Medic-alert bracelets should be worn


  • Take off all make-up and remove all nail polish from your fingers and toes.
  • Some surgical equipment does not work as well through nail polish.
  • DO NOT use perfume, cologne, scented cream, body lotion, deodorant or hair products on the day of your surgery. Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre is a fragrance-free hospital.


  • You may shower and wash your hair on the morning of your surgery.
  • DO NOT shave the area where you will have surgery such as your armpit.
  • DO NOT use body lotion, hair products, talcum powder, baby powder or deodorant on the day of your surgery.

Food and Drink

  • DO NOT eat any food after 12 midnight on the night before your surgery.
  • DO NOT drink milk, orange juice (or any juice with pulp), or alcohol after midnight.
  • Up to 2 hours before surgery, you may drink up to 300 millilitres (1 glass) of clear fluids such as water, clear juices (apple juice, cranberry juice, or Gatorade) or coffee/tea WITHOUT milk, cream or whitener.


  • DO NOT take any medications with acetylsalicylic acid or ASA (Aspirin); or blood thinners (Warfarin, Coumadin) 5 to 7 days before your surgery.
  • DO NOT take any herbal remedies or homeopathic medicines (prescribed or over-the-counter) for 14 days before your surgery. They can cause bleeding problems during your surgery.
  • Bring this instruction booklet with you on the day of surgery so the nurses will know which medications you took.
Speak with your doctor about which medications to stop taking before your surgery and which medications to take with a few sips of water in the morning before you leave for the hospital.

If you have diabetes:

  • DO NOT take any insulin or oral diabetic medication on the day of surgery.
  • Check your blood sugar and if your sugar is low, drink a small glass of clear apple juice.
  • If you are going home on the same day as your surgery AND you take insulin, you will be seen by a nurse who specializes in diabetes before you leave the hospital. The nurse will tell you how to continue your medication once you are at home.

If you smoke:

Smoking or vaping nicotine can affect your healing and make your chances of getting an infection after surgery higher.

Quitting Aids:

  • Try to stop, or smoke/vape less before your surgery.
  • DO NOT smoke or vape any tobacco products or recreational drugs on the day of your surgery.
  • Speak to your doctor or nurse if you would like to quit smoking or you need help with withdrawal symptoms after your surgery.
  • You can find information about quitting smoking on Sunnybrook's website:

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