Patients & guests

Home > Patients & guests > Preparing for surgery

Preparing for surgery

Thank you for selecting Regions Hospital for your surgical care. Our staff is committed to giving you a positive experience and great care.

Types of procedures

  • Same-day surgery: You are admitted for surgery or a diagnostic procedure. You return home the same day.
  • A.M. admission: You arrive at the hospital on the morning of your surgery. Right after surgery, you are admitted to the hospital. How long you stay depends on the type of surgery you have and how your doctor thinks you are doing.
  • Observation: You will stay in the hospital for 23 hours or less. You may stay overnight, but you will not be admitted to the hospital.
Regions Hospital - Patients & Guests - Surgery waiting room

Preparing for surgery

It’s very important to carefully prepare for your surgery. This is for your safety and to help you have the best results. Please follow these instructions carefully.

Regions Hospital - Patients & Guests - Prep surgeon

Up to one month before surgery

  • History and physical: Within 30 days before your surgery, you will need to see a doctor for a complete medical history and physical. Please check with your surgeon’s office to see where you should make an appointment. After the appointment, ask to have a copy of the results sent to the Regions Hospital Surgery Center. Our fax number is 952-883-9645.
  • Questions: If you have questions about your surgery, or if you don’t understand something, be sure to ask your surgeon. We want you to be fully informed. Please ask questions if you don’t understand something.

One week before surgery

  • Physical condition: If your condition changes, contact your surgeon’s clinic right away. Do this if you get a cold or fever or if you have a major change in the condition for which you are having surgery. If you cannot reach your surgeon’s clinic, call us at 651-254-0023.
  • Medication: Continue taking all medications as your doctor directed. Check with your surgeon before taking medications that have aspirin or ibuprofen the week before surgery. These can cause serious problems with blood clotting and anesthesia. Stop using all herbal medications two weeks before surgery. This includes fish oil and vitamin E. Consult with your primary doctor if you take diabetic medication.
Regions Hospital - Patients & Guests - Prep tools

The day before surgery

  • Confirmation: Our nurse will contact you one or two days before surgery. This is to confirm the time you should arrive for your surgery and answer your questions. If you know you will not be available then, please call us at 651-254-0023. We take calls Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
  • No eating: Young children and adults should not have milk, liquids or solid foods after midnight on the day of their surgery. This includes chewing gum, hard candy and chewing tobacco. If there is food or liquid in your stomach, your surgery will be canceled. For infants age six months or less, consult with a nurse.
  • Medication: If your doctor told you to take medication the day of your surgery, take it with a small sip of water. Check with your doctor before taking aspirin, ibuprofen or other medications that contain aspirin.
  • Bathing: It’s important to prepare your skin for surgery to reduce the risk of infection. You must take a bath or shower the night before and the morning of surgery. You must use a liquid antiseptic soap wash (such as Dial®; or a product given to you by your clinic). Sleep on clean bedding and dress in clean clothes after bathing.
  • Hair: Many hair products and hairpieces contain highly flammable products. Your safety is our first priority. That’s why we require that you wash your hair the night before or the morning of surgery using only shampoo and conditioner.

DO NOT use any other hair products after washing, including hairspray, mousse and gels.

DO NOT have your hair in dreadlocks, wear hair extensions, or wigs or hairpieces. Because these products are highly flammable, they create a risk of fire during surgery. Your surgery may be cancelled if you arrive with hair products. Please help us keep you safe.

  • No makeup: Do not wear makeup, especially eye makeup, when you come for your surgery. Your eyes could be injured from mascara flakes falling into them.
  • No smoking: Do not smoke or use chewing tobacco after midnight before your surgery. This helps reduce coughing and other smoking-related irritations after surgery.
  • Advance directive: We’ll ask if you have an advance directive. This is a written form in which you state your choices for medical treatment if you cannot tell us yourself. You may also name someone who will make treatment choices for you if you are unable to decide for yourself. A living will is an example of an advance directive. If you have an advance directive, please bring a copy with you.
  • Personal arrangements: Sometimes hospital stays and recovery at home take longer than expected. You may want to make arrangements for childcare, pets, etc. in case things take longer than planned.

Day of surgery

  • Medication: If your doctor told you to take medication the day of your surgery, do so with a small sip of water.
  • Arrival: Arrive 1½ to 2 hours before your surgery time. A member of our anesthesiology staff will review your medical history, assess your physical condition and decide on the anesthesia that’s best for you.
  • Health insurance: Bring your insurance card(s) with you. Most insurance policies cover surgeries. You are responsible for checking with your insurance company if you have questions about your coverage.
  • Surgical site marking: Your safety is important to us. Depending on your procedure, the surgeon will mark your surgical site.
  • Family waiting area: Family members may wait for you in the surgery waiting area. Your doctor will update them after surgery.
  • Personal belongings: Do not bring credit cards, jewelry or large amounts of money. You may want to bring a small amount of money for parking or prescriptions from our pharmacy. We’ll secure your belongings while you are in surgery.
  • Contacts and glasses: If you wear contact lenses or glasses, please bring the case. You will not be able to wear contacts or glasses into surgery.

After surgery

  • Recovery: After surgery, we’ll take you to a recovery room. The nurses will watch you closely and make sure you are comfortable. How long you stay there will depend on the type of anesthesia you were given. Be sure a staff member is with you when you first stand or walk in case you become dizzy. The anesthetic used during surgery may slow your reactions.
  • Rating your pain: We want you to feel as little pain as possible. To help speed your recovery, we will ask you to rate your pain from zero to ten. Zero (0) means no pain. Ten (10) means the worst pain you’ve ever felt. We will also ask you to describe your pain with words such as “sharp,” “dull” or “burning.” This will help us know how your treatment is working. Please become familiar with this pain scale before surgery.
Regions Hospital - Patients & Guests - Pain scale
  • Going home: Your nurse and anesthesiologist will decide when you are ready to go home. Your nurse will tell you how to take care of yourself at home and give you written instructions. The nurse will answer your questions.
  • Care arrangements: You must arrange to have someone drive you home, help you get inside and stay with you during the first 24 hours of your recovery.
  • No driving: You may not drive, under any circumstances, for at least 24 hours after surgery. Your surgeon may ask you not to drive until after you are seen in the clinic for your follow-up visit.
  • Rest and eat lightly: Plan to rest for at least 24 hours after your surgery. Eat lightly and do not drink alcoholic beverages for at least 24 hours after surgery. Drink plenty of clear liquids after your surgery.
  • When you’ll leave: If you are admitted to the hospital after surgery, your doctor will let you know when you might expect to leave the hospital. This date may change, depending upon your progress and care plan. Most patients are scheduled to leave the hospital around 11 a.m.

Payment for services

You will probably get at least two separate bills for services. If you have any questions about your bills, please call one of the following phone numbers:

  1. Hospital services
    Regions Hospital Patient Billing: 651-254-4791
  2. Doctor’s services
    HealthPartners Medical Group Patient Accounting: 651-265-1999
    University of Minnesota Physicians: 763-782-6500
  3. Radiology services
    St. Paul Radiology: 651-767-1400
  4. Anesthesia services
    Twin Cities Anesthesia Associates: 800-495-0127