The Days and Weeks Before Your Procedure or Surgery

Getting ready for a procedure or surgery is very important for your health and recovery. Contact your health care team if you have any questions about this information.

Your doctor may want you to have more tests or see an anesthesiologist or other doctors before your procedure or surgery.

Go to all pre-surgery appointments your doctor sets up for you. If you do not go to these appointments, your surgery may be cancelled.

If you need to have any lab work or other tests done before your procedure or surgery, these must be done at least one week before. Otherwise, your procedure or surgery may need to be rescheduled. Contact your doctor’s office for information about where to send test results.

It is important that your doctor and anesthesia team know about all of your medical history.

Fill out the Patient Medical History for Anesthesia form found in your My Surgery Folder. You will give this to your anesthesia team before your procedure or surgery.

Tell your surgeon and anesthesiologist about any allergies or medical problems you have, including other infections. Health problems such as allergies, diabetes and obesity could affect your surgery and treatment.

Talk to your doctor or anesthesiologist at least one week before your procedure or surgery about any medications you take including:

  • How much you take
  • How often you take them
  • When you take them
  • Any medication you stopped taking and when you stopped taking it

Your doctors may need to make changes to your medication for the weeks or days before surgery and on the day of surgery.

Talk to your doctor about your medications.

  • It is possible your surgery may have to be cancelled if your doctor does not know all your medications.
  • Ask your doctor when to take medications for diabetes, hypertension and pain or for your heart, lungs or eyes before a procedure or surgery.
  • If you are told to take your morning medications on the day of a procedure or surgery, drink only as much water as you need to take them.
  • If you have lost your medication instructions call 773-834-3531.
  • Get any prescriptions filled before treatment that you will need to take after your procedure or surgery. Then, you can begin taking them as soon as you get home.

You always have the right to choose what you want done with your health care. This includes your right to say no to any treatment offered to you.

You can create what is called an "advance directive," such as a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care or Living Will. An advance directive tells us what you want done in the future in case something happens and you cannot speak for yourself.

If you have an advance directive, please bring a copy with you at the time of surgery. If you do not have an advance directive and wish to create one, you can call Social Work at 773-702-6243 in advance and ask them for help.

You can reach us: Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Phone Number: 773-702-6664

You can also visit our websites:

UChicago Medicine is committed to giving quality care to all of our patients.

Eat healthy food in the weeks and days before your procedure or surgery. Medical research shows that you can get better treatment results if your nutrition is at its best. Include food with quality protein such as beans, lentils, tofu, chicken, seafood and dairy products. Protein is important and helps your body to heal after a procedure or surgery.

Most patients must limit what they eat and drink beginning the day before surgery. Read more about this in The Day Before Your Procedure/Surgery.

Follow the food and drink instructions given to you by your doctor. If you are not sure what foods or liquids you can or cannot have call our anesthesia and pain management team at 773-834-3531.

Do not smoke before your procedure/surgery. Stop smoking at least two weeks before your procedure or surgery. Smoking increases your risk of heart and breathing problems. Patients who smoke have a higher risk of getting an infection. Smoking can cause you to have more nausea. Smoking can also cause your wound to take more time to heal. Ask your doctor if you need help to stop smoking.

Do not drink alcoholic drinks 24 hours before your procedure/surgery.

Drugs and alcohol can cause problems with your anesthesia and procedure/surgery. It is very important not to take them within 24 hours of your procedure or surgery.