Preoperative Planning Steps to Make Surgery Simple

Preoperative Planning: 3 Steps to Make Your Surgery Simple

Do you have a surgical procedure coming up? It’s not uncommon to have some questions or concerns as you start your preoperative planning.

At the Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin, our goal is to help you feel comfortable and confident before, during, and after your surgery. While pre-surgery nerves are normal, we go above and beyond to make preoperative planning simple to put your mind at ease. When you decide on surgery, your doctor will immediately inform you about the surgical plan, and our staff is available to assist you every step of the way. Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out at any time.

Here, we’ve outlined three preoperative planning steps you can take before surgery to ensure the process is as smooth as possible. 

3 Simple Preoperative Planning Steps to Take Before Surgery


Step 1: Attend Your Pre-Surgery Evaluation

Around 3-4 weeks before your surgery date, you’ll go to our Preoperative Clinic. All of our patients must have a pre-surgery evaluation to ensure they are medically ready to have surgery. You’ll meet with a practitioner who will review your overall health. The practitioner may also request follow-up appointments in some instances to ensure that patients are ready and healthy enough for their procedure.

Pre-Surgery Evaluations May Consist of:

  • Vital Signs: Non-fasting lab work and electrocardiogram (EKG) will be performed if ordered by your surgeon.
  • Medications and Allergies: We will evaluate both prescription medications and over-the-counter medications. Please bring all the medicines you take in the original bottles.
  • Medical History: We will assess your medical history. We may ask you to schedule further appointments with a specialist if deemed necessary per your evaluation.
  • Areas of Improvement: We will discuss areas of health improvement such as your use of tobacco products or recreational drugs and your alcohol consumption.

Attending your Pre-Surgery Evaluation is a pivotal part of preoperative planning. We design this appointment as a personalized education session for your surgery. Come with all your questions about the upcoming procedure. Our nurse educators will provide you with the information you need to arrive ready for surgery on the day of your operation and plan your recovery successfully.

We also encourage you to bring a family member or friend with you to this preoperative planning appointment. Choose someone who will be helping you with your recovery. Your friend or family member can also help you remember key points from the pre-surgery appointment.

Please Bring the Following Items to your Pre-Surgery Evaluation:

  • Your insurance and identification cards.
  • All the medications you take, including prescriptions, herbal supplements, over-the-counter and as-needed medications in their original bottles.
  • Any questions you may have about your surgical procedure!

Step 2: Create a Plan for Discharge

When preoperative planning, it’s essential to plan for your discharge from the hospital. The first step to a smooth discharge from the hospital is identifying a friend or family member who can drive you to and pick you up from your procedure. 

Once you have that person available to help you arrive and depart from surgery, there are many simple things you can do before your surgery to make your recovery safer and less stressful.

Here are our simple tips to help you think ahead:

  • Recruit your friends and family to assist with physically taxing tasks such as laundry, grocery shopping, and transportation for appointments and errands. 
  • Pick up loose throw rugs and tack down carpeting to avoid trips and falls.
  • Keep electric cords and clutter away from walkways. 
  • Install night lights in bathrooms, bedrooms, and hallways.
  • Make sure you have 2-armed, straight-back chairs with a firm cushion.
  • Have comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that is easy to get on and off. 
  • Move your frequently used items to the countertop level for easy access.
  • Prepare and freeze meals in advance.
  • Make arrangements for pets, mail, and trash.
  • Consider setting up a temporary sleeping arrangement in the main area of the house to avoid climbing stairs.
  • Check railings to ensure they are secure. Consider safety bars for your shower/bath. 

Remember that everyone’s mobility requirements will be different. Check with your nurses and doctors to get a better idea of the activity level you can expect after surgery. They can also tell you about the estimated time you may need to recover and regain mobility.

Step 3: Prepare for Surgery

In the days leading up to your surgery, it’s essential to follow the surgical preparation guidelines we provide to you. You are an important member of your surgical team. You play a pivotal role in your surgery planning and subsequent successful outcome by ensuring you are prepared and ready for surgery. 

Two Days Prior to Surgery

You’ll begin your pre-surgical skin preparation two days before your surgery. You will use Hibiclens (CHG), an antimicrobial and antiseptic foaming soap, on your body from the neck down. You will still be able to use your regular soap and shampoo on your face and hair—check with your preoperative team for Hibiclens and skin preparation instructions

One Day Prior to Surgery

On the day before surgery, you’ll also utilize Hibiclens soap, following the instructions provided to you. It’s also vitally important that you do not use any deodorants, perfumes, powders, or lotions on your body. In addition, do not apply any hair oil, gels, and sprays, or makeup. Don’t eat or drink anything after midnight on the day before surgery—this includes drinking water. You will be able to brush your teeth and floss the morning of your surgery; however, be careful not to swallow any water, toothpaste, or rinse. 

The Day of Surgery

The day has finally arrived! On the day of your surgery, you want to make sure you have everything you need with you. 

What to bring to the hospital on the day of surgery:

  • Photo I.D. and insurance cards
  • A copy of medical Power of Attorney paperwork (if applicable)
  • All medications and their original labeled bottles
  • Assistive devices (walker, cane, orthotic shoes, crutches, wrist splints, inserts, etc.) if you currently have them
  • Loose-fitting, comfortable clothing, and tennis shoes
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Eyeglasses (no contact lenses)
  • CPAP machine with attachments and tubes (if applicable)
  • Leftover Hibiclens (CHG) foam soap

Be sure to leave any valuable items at home, and do not bring any jewelry, cash, credit cards, or checkbooks. Arrive at the hospital 2 ½ hours before your scheduled surgery time or as instructed by your pre-admission nurse. Your family will be able to stay with you up until you are taken to surgery. 

When you arrive, you’ll check in for surgery on the 2nd floor of the hospital at the front desk. A tablet (iPad/smart device) is at the front desk, and you’ll select your name on the tablet to let our staff know you’ve arrived. 

Reduce Pre-Surgery Stress with Preoperative Planning

While waiting to begin your procedure can cause anxiety, know that our award-winning OHOW staff are working to ensure your care is of the best quality. Our preoperative area is designed specifically for your comfort before surgery, and our nursing staff will be checking in with you to ease any fears leading up to the procedure. You’ll even have the chance to chat with your surgical team in the operating room prior to surgery—just another way to put your mind at ease.

When you wake up from surgery, we will be by your side to guide you through your recovery journey. Know that you are not going into surgery alone and that your care is our top priority.

If you’re ready to be evaluated by a member of our team at the Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin, reach out today. Our physicians are ready to help you through any orthopedic challenge and help you regain your comfort, health, and mobility. Should you need surgery, rest assured that our team is ready to ensure your experience is excellent, from preoperative planning to post-surgical recovery.