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Pre-Operative Instructions

Okanagan Health Surgical Centre strives to prepare patients and their families to fully participate in their surgical preparation. A successful surgery requires a partnership between you, your surgeon and the health care team.

It is SAFE to ask

  • Speak to your surgeon. All concerns and questions should be addressed prior to surgery.
  • Ask questions. Make sure the surgeon and heath care team can explain your care in a way you understand.
  • For your information, carefully read all pre-operative and post-operative instructions.
  • Educate yourself and your support team for your upcoming surgery.

The following instructions are essential to a safe experience and positive outcome. Use this as a checklist as you approach your surgery date. If you are unable to comply with these instructions, you must notify your surgeon’s office as soon as possible. As a result, your surgery may have to be postponed or delayed at the judgment of your surgeon. This is essential to your health and safety.

Three weeks or more before surgery

There may be several weeks between your decision to have surgery and your actual surgical date. During this time, there are several important considerations:

Practice proper fitness. Practicing good fitness habits is an important factor in your overall health and well-being. Upper body stretches and low-weight strength training now can help to enhance your posture and your strength in the weeks following surgery.

Good nutrition. Eat well during the weeks prior to surgery. Crash dieting, over-eating or high alcohol intake can greatly affect your overall health and well-being. A healthy, balanced diet is essential. Also, begin taking the following supplements daily: Vitamin C 1000 mg, Vitamin D 2000 IU, Zinc 50-100 mg daily.

Stop smoking. Smoking can greatly impair your ability to heal. You should be smoke-free for at least two weeks prior to your surgery.

Lead a healthy lifestyle. In the weeks prior to surgery, maintain the best of health and hygiene. A lingering cold, virus or other illness can result in your surgery being rescheduled. Make certain to address any illness immediately and advise your surgeon’s office of any serious illness or change in your health.

Prepare and plan. Schedule time off work and arrange support at home in the days following surgery, including housework, childcare, shopping, and driving.

Pre-operative testing. Every surgery is different, just as every patient is different. You may have to undergo pre-surgical lab and testing orders. This is done for a number of reasons to examine your general state of health. Make certain to schedule all required pre-operative testing. During your pre-operative screening you will be informed if blood work (CBC, electrolytes, etc.) or ECG are necessary. Your lab results or testing orders will be reviewed by your surgeon.

Please be aware that you cannot have any dental work done for at least six weeks following surgery. Having dental work within six weeks of surgery significantly increases your risk of infection after surgery. If you must have dental work done, contact your surgeon’s office as you may be placed on prophylactic antibiotic to protect you against infection.

Relax and enjoy life. Stress and anxiety over life’s daily events and even your planned surgery can affect you. While some anxiety is common, any serious stress or distress over the thought of surgery is something you must discuss with your surgeon. We are here to support you and answer all of your questions.

Two to three weeks before surgery

This is an important planning and preparation time. Continue to maintain the healthy lifestyle you have begun in addition to the following:

Prepare and plan: Preplan your schedule for the day before, day of and first few days following surgery. Share this with all of your key support people.

Pre-operative clearance and information: The pre-screening nurse will contact you two weeks prior to your surgery. A general health history will be obtained over the phone or at the surgical center. Alert the pre-screening nurse if you have diabetes and are taking high blood pressure medications, blood thinning medications or have a cardiac condition.

Fitness: Don’t overdo it. Avoid anything strenuous or that could potentially cause injury.

Good nutrition: Continue healthy eating and taking your supplements as directed.

NO SMOKING: Stay away from second-hand smoke. Your healing and health depend heavily on this. Failure to comply can result in tissue loss, wound healing complications and increased rise of blood clots.

Be Proactive: Practice good hand-washing and avoid large crowds, or individuals who are ill. Do not risk catching a virus or cold.

One week before surgery

Fill your prescriptions: Prescriptions (pain medication and/or antibiotics) may need to be filled within 5 days from the day the prescriptions are written. Your surgeon’s office will advise you accordingly.  For out of town patients, your prescription will be given to you on the day of your surgery. The nearest pharmacy (Shoppers Drug Mart) is located on the main floor of the Surgical Centre.

Your prescriptions may include the following commonly prescribed PAIN medications:

  • Tramacet (Tramadol Hydrochloride 37.5 mg & Acetaminophen 325 mg)
  • Emtec (Acetaminophen 325 mg & Codeine 30 mg)
  • Tylenol #3 (Acetaminophen 300 mg & Codeine 30 mg & Caffeine 15 mg)
  • Percocet (Oxycodone 5 mg & Acetaminophen 325 mg)
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid 2 gm)

Your prescriptions may include the following commonly prescribed ANTIBIOTIC medications:

  • Keflex 500 mg
  • Avelox 400 mg

Follow the medication as prescribed by your surgeon. Inform your surgeon if you are known to have allergies or sensitivity to narcotics or antibiotics.

Confirm your transportation. On the day of your surgery, provide the nurse with your rides contact information. A nurse from the Surgical Centre will contact your ride 30 minutes prior to discharge. You may take a cab with a responsible adult if a car is unavailable. It is prohibited to take public transportation. It is against the law to drive a car or operate machinery after a general anesthetic or sedation for 24 hours. Failure to comply with these instructions may result in your surgery being cancelled or postponed.

Confirm after care with a responsible adult. A responsible adult (18 years of age or older) must stay with you after surgery for the first 24 hours, around the clock. Any concerns with finding a responsible adult to care for you following surgery, contact your surgeon’s office to have alternate arrangements made.

If your home is not in the Kelowna area: You may need to make arrangements to remain in the city overnight. Contact your surgeon’s office to determine if this is necessary.

Confirm all lab results and paperwork, have been received by your surgeon, if you have not already done so.

Continue to practice healthy habits, nutrition and fitness. No strenuous exercise. No saunas, hot tubs or steam baths.

NO SMOKING. Smoking can greatly impair your ability to heal.

Alcohol: Limit to 1-2 drinks daily and it is best avoided altogether.

Getting your home or hotel ready for after your surgery is important. Have extra pillows available. Remove any scatter rugs, cords, clutter, and anything that be a tripping hazard. Have fluids such as apple juice and water available. Surgical procedures such as knee or foot surgery may require you to be non-weight bearing after surgery, in which case you may require crutches or a walker. These items will need to be organized before your surgery. Ice may be required after surgery so it is important to have a few ice packs at home.

Stop taking the following medication and vitamins one week before your surgery. Taking any of the following can increase your risk of bleeding and other complications. If you have a history of cardiac disease, inform your surgeon as blood thinning medications such as aspirin may not be discontinued as per your surgeon.

  • Aspirin and medications containing aspirin
  • Ibuprofen and anti-inflammatory agents
  • Vitamin E
  • Fish oil supplements
  • St. John’s Wort
  • Garlic supplements
  • Green tea or green tea extracts
  • AND the following sheet…

Relax. Call your surgeon’s office with any unusual anxiety or concerns. Get plenty of rest.

One day before surgery

Pack your bag for the day of surgery. This should include:

  • All paperwork including your ride and support person contact information
  • Any inhalers, insulin medication or migraine treatments
  • A list of your current medications
  • If you are using a CPAP machine, please bring it with you Money or credit card to purchase prescriptions, if not already obtained
  • Reading glasses, contacts and case/solution
  • Care card

Shower the night before or the morning of surgery. Use an anti-bacterial, fragrance-free soap such as Spectrogel. Shampoo and condition your hair. Do not use any scented skin creams or moisturizers. Do not use any hair spray, perfume or cosmetics. Remove finger nail and toe nail polish. Gel/acrylic nails do not need to be removed. Do not shave near the area of your surgery. Shaving can irritate the skin, which may lead to infection.

Avoid alcohol twenty-four hours before surgery.

Refrain from smoking 24 hours before surgery.

Eating a light diet the night before surgery helps reduce the risk of post-operative nausea.

NPO status (nothing to eat or drink). Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your surgery. This includes water, coffee, tea, candy, gum, breath mints, cough drops, etc. Morning medications reviewed by your surgeon can be taken with a small sip of water. For surgeries scheduled in the afternoon, the pre-screening nurse will notify you regarding your NPO status.

Confirm transportation. On the day of surgery, provide the nurse with your rides’ contact information. Inform your ride the nurse will call 30 minutes prior to your discharge. Your ride must be available to pick you up at the time you are discharged.

Contact your surgeon’s office if your medical condition changes (sore throat, fever, confirmed pregnancy, or any skin problems such as a rash or infection).

Arrival time confirmation call. The day before your surgery please contact the office (250) 868-9799 between the hours of 1300 - 1500 to confirm your arrival time at the surgical centre. Surgeries booked on a Monday contact the surgical centre on a Friday to confirm arrival time. 

RELAX! Get plenty of rest and avoid unnecessary stress.

The day of surgery

Dress appropriately. Wear loose comfortable clothing. Wear slip on flat shoes. Do not wear any jewelry or body piercing. If there is something you cannot remove, let the admitting nurse know right away. Any piercing near the surgical site or tongue piercing (airway risk) must be removed.

Leave all your valuables at home as Okanagan Health Surgical Centre assumes no responsibility for lost or stolen articles.

If you’ve been asked to take routine or other medication on the morning of surgery, please take them with a small sip of water.


Following instructions regarding your NPO status (nothing to eat or drink) before your surgery.

Arrival: Arrive on time to ensure that there is adequate time to fill out the necessary forms and prepare for surgery. Upon arrival, you will register at the Surgical Front Desk. You will then be escorted to a preparation room where you will be asked to change into a patient gown. At this time, the nurse will perform a simple physical examination to check your weight, height and vital signs. Your surgeon and anesthesiologist will meet with you to answer any questions or concerns. From the pre-operative area you will then be taken to the operating suite. After your surgery, you will be taken to the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) where the nurses will monitor you and make sure that you are comfortable.
Please note your arrival time is not your surgical time. Depending on the type of procedures, the operating room may be delayed. A nurse will inform you during this time if the operating room is delayed.

Length of stay. Your length of stay is dependent on your type of surgery, anesthetic used and your specific recovery needs. Average length of stay, may be 2- 8 hours post operatively.

Discharge: All patients will be discharged with instructions pertaining to their particular surgery, a follow up appointment with their surgeon and will receive a phone call the next day from a nurse.

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