It's normal to have questions about an upcoming surgery. At UnityPoint Health – Trinity, we will be by your side to support you before, during and after a procedure.
Your care team will give you detailed instructions to help maximize your results and long-term health. See what you can expect and the steps you can take to prioritize your health before surgery.
Before Surgery: What to Expect
In the days or weeks before surgery, your doctor will sit down with you to explain everything you need to know about an upcoming procedure, including its potential risks and benefits. We encourage you to ask questions or raise concerns with your care team at any point. We are here to support you throughout the surgical care process.
A member of your care team will help you preregister so that your insurance and medical records are in order before your surgery. We will also discuss in detail any tests or procedures you may need.
A presurgical teaching nurse may get in touch with you in person or by phone to help prepare you for surgery. This nurse will ask you questions about your health, checking for any issues that could make surgery less safe.
We may ask you to meet with another doctor or complete some tests before surgery. These steps can help us gain a full understanding of your health. Tell your nurse if you have recently undergone any of these tests. It may not be necessary to have them again.
The specific pre-op testing you need will depend on your overall health and the type of surgery you are having. Common tests required before surgery include:
- Blood and urine tests to check for things, such as your blood's ability to clot, that could lead to a problem during surgery
- Electrocardiogram (EKG) to measure your heart health
- Chest X-ray to evaluate your lungs
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing to protect your health and avoid virus spread
Preparing for Surgery: Steps You Can Take
Making healthy choices and planning ahead can set you up for a successful surgery and recovery.
Plan what to avoid before surgery
Tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs can make surgery riskier. Quit smoking or at least cut down before surgery, if you can. Learn coping strategies and get support to help you quit smoking for good at our Freedom From Smoking program. Stop drinking alcohol at least 24 hours before surgery. Please make your presurgical nurse aware of any recreational drug use.
Arrange for your postsurgery care
Your care needs after surgery will depend on your unique situation. You may want to:
- Set up transportation to make sure someone is available and prepared to take you to and from the medical campus for your surgery
- Ask someone to check in on you at home in the days after surgery
- Make changes in your home, such as preparing a bed on the first floor if your doctor has advised you to avoid stairs shortly after surgery
- Prepare meals in advance or buy premade meals so you can take it easy after surgery
Know what to eat the day before surgery
Look to your doctor's specific instructions for details on food and drink restrictions before surgery. In general, we advise patients not to eat anything after midnight the night before surgery. You may drink clear fluids (such as water, juice, tea or coffee without milk, creamer or sugar) as directed by your care team.
Monitor your overall health
If you get a fever, cold or rash in the days before surgery, call your doctor. Your doctor may postpone your procedure if your health could introduce new risks. Ask your doctor whether you should change any medications (including herbal supplements) you take before your surgery.
Make an advance care directive
Provide the hospital with a copy of your advance medical directive, if you have one. This statement describes the medical treatment you'd want in the unlikely possibility you can no longer speak for yourself. It also names the person you wish to make medical decisions for you in that situation.
Patient Guide to Surgery
At UnityPoint Health, our experienced, compassionate care teams are committed to providing a safe and comfortable care experience. We work hard to coordinate all your surgery needs (before, during and after a procedure) seamlessly, often under one roof.
Learn more about what to expect:
Find a surgeon that fits your unique needs, easily. To connect with a member of our experienced surgical care team, please call 309-779-5960 in the Quad Cities or 563-264-9245 in Muscatine.