Helpful Tips to Prepare for Surgery | UnityPoint - Trinity

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Surgery at UnityPoint Health - Trinity

Helpful Tips to Prepare for Surgery

Having surgery can be a stressful time. At Trinity, we believe that patient teaching can greatly reduce stress. The following guidelines describe helpful tips in preparation for surgery. If your doctor has given you instructions that vary from these, please follow his/her instructions.

The Day Before Surgery

During your clinical assessment, you will receive instructions on when to arrive at the hospital for your surgery. When you get ready for surgery, please follow these guidelines. If you do not follow these guidelines, we may have to reschedule your surgery for safety reasons.


Do not eat or drink anything! This includes mints, candy, chewing gum, chewing tobacco or snuff, after midnight prior to the day of surgery unless instructed otherwise.  


Ask your doctor about taking your medications the morning of surgery. All prescribed morning doses of diuretics (fluid or water pill), cardiac (heart pill), antihypertensive (blood pressure pill), seizure and breathing medications should be taken with a small sip of water. Please let your nurse know which medications you took and the time you took them. 

If you have any x-rays or special test results that are related to your surgery, please bring them with you to the hospital if instructed by your doctor.

If you develop a cold, fever, cough, sore throat, stomach ache, diarrhea, vomiting or rash, please call your doctor right away. Your surgery may need to be changed to another day for your protection. 


Be sure to bathe before coming to the hospital. You may be given a special soap to use prior to your surgery.  You will need to bathe with this soap from the neck down, avoiding your private areas, the night before surgery and the morning of surgery. You may bathe your face and hair as you normally would with regular soap and shampoo. 

Clothing and Accessories

Wear loose, comfortable clothing to the hospital. If you are having same day surgery on your arm, shoulder or breast, please wear a comfortable shirt that buttons down the front. Wear loose, comfortable pants or shorts if you are having same day surgery on your leg or foot.

Do not wear any jewelry to the hospital. All jewelry will have to be removed before surgery, including all types of body piercing. Do not wear any make-up or fingernail polish or toenail polish. Please do not use lotion, deodorants, powder, hairsprays or hair gels. 

Do not wear anything metal in your hair such as bobby pins, hair barrettes, beads, etc. when you come in for surgery. If you wear a wig or hairpiece, you will be asked to remove it before surgery for safety and infection control reasons. We will give you a surgical cap to wear on your head.

If you have false teeth, do not apply adhesives of any kind before coming to the hospital. Bring all storage containers and solutions needed for eyeglasses, dentures, contact lenses or hearing aids to the hospital.


Leave anything of value at home. Do not bring jewelry, money, credit cards or banking cards with you to the hospital. We are not responsible for personal belongings. 


Children should follow the same instructions as adults, but a few guidelines are different. As with adults, failure to follow the instructions may result in the surgery being rescheduled for safety reasons. 

Do not give your child any candy, mints or chewing gum the morning of surgery. Your child can brush his or her teeth and spit out the water. If your child has something to eat or drink that is not within the guidelines, please let us know.

We suggest having two adults present while driving home after surgery. One adult may attend to the child. Do not bring other children to the hospital on the day of surgery.

Children may bring a favorite toy or blanket.

If you are under 18 years of age and not married, you must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

If You Are an Outpatient

It is required that you be accompanied by a relative or friend so you can be assisted in going home. You cannot drive yourself home.

If You Have Questions

If you have any questions concerning your surgery, please call the pre-admissions nurse at 515-574-6415 between 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.