Preparing for Surgery
We are committed to not only caring for our patients, but their families and loved ones as well. This information will guide you and your family through the surgical experience and prepare you for your procedure and recovery.
Before surgery you'll meet with your doctor, discuss risks and benefits, pre-register and complete necessary tests and procedures. It is important that you get answers to all of your questions. You should never hesitate to ask your physician or the surgical staff any question you may have.
Talk to Your Doctor
Asking your doctor what you should expect before, during and after your procedure will help immensely as you begin preparing for surgery. Discuss any medications you're currently taking and those you may have to take after surgery. Your doctor may ask you to quit taking some medications before your surgery.
Contact Your Insurance Provider
Call your insurance provider to confirm the details of your coverage and pre-certification. UnityPoint Health – Des Moines has a dedicated financial clearance team. If you have questions about the cost of your procedure, please contact (833) 237-7423.
Please arrange for a responsible adult to drive you home from the hospital. This person should remain in the waiting area or be available by phone. No cabs, buses or car services such as Uber or Lyft. We recommend you have someone with you at home for at least 24 hours following surgery.
To prepare you for surgery, a pre-surgical nurse may meet with you or contact you by phone. This nurse gathers information regarding your general health. At this time, you may also be scheduled to meet with other health care professionals.
Routine tests and procedures may be required to determine your state of health. If you have had recent tests, please tell the pre-surgical nurse. Tests will vary, but may include blood and urine tests, an EKG for heart analysis, and a chest X-ray to determine if your lungs are safe for surgery and anesthesia.
Follow Pre-surgical Instructions
- Quit smoking or at least cut down before surgery.
- Stop drinking alcohol at least 24 hours before surgery.
- Advise the pre-surgical nurse of any illegal drug use.
- Ask your doctor about taking any medications (including herbal supplements) before surgery.
- Arrange with a family member of friend for rides to and from the medical campus. No cabs, buses or car services such as Uber or Lyft.
- Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery. This includes gum, candy, mints.
- If you get a fever, cold or rash, call your doctor. Surgery may need to be postponed.
- Plan for post-surgery needs such as transportation, home care or skilled care.
- Make changes in your home. For example, if you're told not to climb stairs, you may want to prepare a bed on the first floor.
- Prepare food ahead or buy pre-made meals to reduce the amount of work you have after surgery.
- Arrange to have someone with you at home for at least 24 hours following surgery.
- Provide the hospital with a copy of your advance medical directive, if you have one. This statement describes the medical treatment you'd want or names the person you'd wish to make health-care decisions for you if you could no longer speak for yourself.
- Remove all jewelry and piercings (including wedding rings).
Preparing for your surgery will depend on the procedure you are having done and the surgery center location. For downloadable booklets of hospital specific information, please see links below.