Preparing for surgery

Everything you need to know about while you prepare for your surgery

Welcome to Mackenzie Health. Here, we provide high-quality specialized surgical services, close to home. This page includes important information to help prepare you for your surgery. 

Clinical terms that we use when caring for you

  • Enhanced Recovery after Surgery (ERAS®): A term that your care team uses to describe how we will prepare you for your surgery and how we will work with you immediately after your surgery. ERAS® is a set of protocols based on evidence from research on how best to prepare and recover from surgery. These protocols are only for certain surgeries.
  • After Visit Summary (AVS): This is the term we use for your discharge instructions with information to help you be safe during your recovery at home.
  • Consent for Surgery: This is the form giving your consent for the surgery. You sign this after you and your doctor talk about what surgery you need, the risks and benefits and have all your questions answered.

Preparing for your surgery

You and your family have an active role in preparing for your surgery and recovery. We want you to know what to do and what to expect. Our surgery specific ERAS®  instructions will help you prepare for surgery, recover faster and feel better sooner.

If you are not an ERAS patient you will be provided with surgery specific instructions from your care team to follow for your own surgery preparation and recovery.  

Please don’t hesitate to ask us questions as we prepare you for your surgery and during your recovery.

Preparing for a surgery can be overwhelming. To help, we’ve compiled a list of topics that can help guide you as you prepare for your surgery:

  • Nutrition: Follow a healthy diet using Canada’s Food Guide. This will allow you to have the nutrients you need to help you recover from your surgery. If you are a diabetic or have any special dietary needs, please follow the instructions from your care team.
  • Exercise: The recommended guidelines are to get approximately 150 minutes of exercise per week. This will prep your body for surgery.
  • Smoking: If you smoke, please try to stop smoking at least three weeks before your surgery. This can help decrease breathing problems, help you to heal sooner and decrease the risks of infection. See your family doctor for tips on how you can stop smoking.
  • Health care visits: Please keep track of all appointments related to your surgery.
    • You might only have one appointment with your surgeon, or a few appointments before your surgery. During your appointment with your surgeon, you’ll learn about your surgery, how you need to prepare, and you will be asked to sign a consent form.
    • You may also have a pre-admission visit with your care team at the hospital (by phone or in-person) to receive further instructions and to submit forms such as the pre-anaesthesia questionnaire.
    • You may need to have bloodwork or other tests done before surgery. Tests can be done at your local community blood lab or at the hospital based on your care team’s recommendation.
    • You may also speak with your family doctor to discuss any concerns you have.

Important things to remember as your surgery date nears:

  • Time of surgery - You usually need to come to the hospital two hours before your surgery for prep. Please check this information with the surgeon’s office.
  • Location of Surgery - Your surgery will be performed at either Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital or Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital. Please ensure you are aware where to arrive.
  • Preparation - You may need to complete a bowel preparation. If that’s the case, carefully read the instructions provided to you and reach out to your care team if you have questions.
  • Current Medications - Ask your care team about your current medications as some medications, herbal remedies supplements and blood thinners can’t be taken before surgery while other medications can still be taken. It’s important to note that we may need to postpone your surgery if you do not follow your care team’s instructions.
  • Transportation - Arrange for someone to bring you to the hospital on the day of surgery, and for someone to drive you home and stay with you on your first night after surgery if you are discharged on the same day.
  • Communication - If English is not your first language, it’s recommended to bring someone with you to help translate for you during your appointments and on the day of surgery.
  • Caregiver - Make sure a caregiver can help with your meals, household chores, bathing and dressing after surgery if needed.
  • Diet - Foods that can help before and after surgery include:
    • Clear, high carbohydrate fluids like Gatorade, apple juice, white cranberry juice, iced tea, black coffee/tea without milk or cream before your surgery. These drinks will help you hydrate and decrease nausea after surgery. Your care team will give you instructions on when to drink (specific for ERAS patients).
  • Chewing gum - Bring two packages of your favorite chewing gum with you. After your surgery, chewing gum can help bring your digestion back to normal sooner and may decrease constipation.
  • Shower or bathe with soap the day before or the morning of your surgery
  • Do not shave the area where you will have surgery
  • Do not apply lotion
  • Remove all jewellery, including all piercings
  • Remove nail polish and acrylic nails
  • Do not drink alcohol
  • Do not smoke
  • Eat a light meal the night before surgery and make sure to stop eating after midnight.  
  • Before you go to bed, drink 400 ml of the clear high carbohydrate drink of your choice (specific for ERAS patients.)

No food should be consumed after midnight the day before your surgery (specific for ERAS patients). On the day of your surgery, drink 1.5 glasses (400ml) of a clear high carbohydrate drink of your choice up to two hours before your surgery even if you have type II diabetes. You may also drink water, black coffee/tea without milk or cream, or other clear fluids. No fluids should be consumed the last two hours before your surgery.

Please bring:

  • OHIP Card
  • Drug insurance card (if you have one)
  • Money or credit card to pay for any medications you might need when you go home. In-room patient entertainment (TV, movies, radio content) is paid via credit card
  • Your medications in their original package, vitamins, herbal supplements, and topical treatments. If you prefer, you can bring a complete list of medications and supplements including how often you take them.
  • Non-slip slippers or shoes
  • Two packages of your favourite chewing gum
  • If needed:
    • Mobility devices such as a cane, crutches or walker
    • Reading glasses with their case
    • Hearing aids with their case
    • Storage for your dentures and contact lenses (with solution) if applicable
  • If you are staying overnight, you can bring:
    • Cellphone, charger and headphones
    • Book or magazine
    • Pyjamas and bathrobe (loose comfortable clothing)
    • Personal hygiene items
    • Earplugs
    • Sleep apnea machine if you use one
  • Please refrain from bringing valuables, scented products and makeup

Please note:  Mackenzie Health is not responsible for lost or stolen belongings.  

Arriving at the hospital on the day of your surgery

On the day of your surgery, please arrive at the hospital two hours before your scheduled surgery to allow for prep time.

  1. When you arrive at the hospital where your surgery is taking place, go to Patient Registration to check in.
  2. A staff member or volunteer will guide you to the preparation area.
  3. As the care team prepares you for surgery, you will meet with your surgeon, anaesthesiologist and nurses.
  4. The care team will ask you about your medications, any allergies and when you last ate and drank. They will also complete health checks like taking your blood pressure.
  5. You will be asked to change into a patient gown and will be provided with a bag for your belongings.
  6. A nurse will start an intravenous line so that you may receive the medications you require for your surgery.
  7. You will be kept comfortable and warm while you wait to go to the operating room.

Here are some common questions you can ask your care team ahead of your surgery:

  • Will I need any special preparation – tests, blood donation, blood thinners, change in my routine medications?
  • Will I need to go on a special diet before or after my surgery?
  • When do I have to stop eating and drinking before the surgery?
  • Should I take my home medication on the day of my operation?

Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital

10 Trench St.
Richmond Hill, ON L4C 4Z3
Local to Richmond Hill: 905-883-1212
Local to Vaughan: 905-417-2000
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Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital

3200 Major Mackenzie Dr W
Vaughan ON L6A 4Z3
Local from Vaughan: 905-417-2000
Local from Richmond Hill: 905-883-1212
View the map for this location