What to Wear for Your Surgery

Please wear loose, comfortable, casual clothing. If you are having upper extremity surgery (such as shoulder, elbow, or hand surgery), a loose, button down shirt is recommended. If you are having lower extremity surgery (such as knee, ankle, or foot), loose fitting pants or shorts are recommended. You will be provided with a hospital gown to wear during your procedure.

What to Bring on the Day of Surgery

Identification card with a picture
Healthcare insurance card (unless it is a Worker’s Compensation case)
Any pre-operative assistive devices that have been provided to you such as a cane, crutches, braces, splints, or immobilizers


You and your family will remain in the waiting area until you are called to the pre-operative area. When you are called, your family may stay in the nearby waiting room.

In the pre-operative unit, you will be greeted by the nursing staff. You will be asked to change to a hospital gown. Your clothes and personal possessions will be placed in a belongings bag.
The nursing staff will get your respiratory rate, pulse rate, blood pressure, take your temperature, and review your history, including any medications and/or supplements that you take. Your surgical areas may be shaved and washed with an antiseptic soap, if necessary. If you have not had a full physical exam in the last 30 days, your surgeon or the anesthesiologist will review your medical history and perform a physical exam.

Mandatory Pregnancy Test: All female patients who are in their childbearing years will have a pregnancy test perform on admission prior to your surgical procedure.
When you are ready for surgery, your surgical team will introduce themselves to you. These include the nurse, surgical assistant, anesthesiologist, and any assisting physicians. Each member of the team will have already reviewed your medical record. They will discuss key aspects of your health as they relate to your surgery and explain the procedure. This is an excellent time to ask any last minute questions about your surgery that you may have.

“Sign Your Site”: Your surgeon or an assisting physician will initial the surgical site to be operated on.

Recovery Phase

In the recovery room, the nursing staff will provide the necessary care and monitoring for your return to full awareness.

As your anesthetic wears off, you can anticipate some pain in your surgical site. The staff will ask you to rate your pain on a scale from 0 to 10, with 0 = no pain and 10 = the most severe imaginable pain. The nurse will assess your pain and administer pain medication accordingly. You will be provided with a prescription for pain medication from your surgeon either prior to your scheduled surgery or on the day of. You should get your prescriptions filled as soon as possible.

Use of Cold Therapy to Reduce Pain and Promote Healing

You may already know the value of applying “cold” to injuries. It can help decrease pain, swelling and inflammation. It may be implemented in the form of ice wrapped in bags or towels, commercial cold packs, or compression cuffs. You will receive instructions on cold therapy treatment. Begin using it as soon as possible after you arrive home. A common misconception about cold therapy is that it is used only during the initial post-operative phase. Actually, it will benefit you throughout your recovery and rehabilitation. (Do not apply heat directly to your surgical site as it may increase swelling and inflammation).