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Preparing for Outpatient Surgery

By now, you’ve been told that you’ll be having outpatient surgery. This is also called same-day or ambulatory surgery. It means you’ll stay at the hospital or surgery center for less than 24 hours. If you plan ahead, recovering at home can be comfortable. Start with a few of the tips listed below.


Prepare your homeYoung couple in kitchen putting groceries away in refrigerator.

Don’t let household chores slow your recovery or make it more painful. Plan now so you’ll have less to do after surgery. Try to:

  • Prepare and freeze meals ahead of time.

  • Clear clutter and stray cords from floors to prevent falls.

  • Arrange for an adult to stay with you, if needed, during your first few days home.

  • Ask someone to help care for children or pets until you feel better.

  • Have some treats ready to take your mind off the pain. Rent a few videos, or check out some library books.

Prepare yourself

Preparing your body for surgery helps limit problems later. Be sure to:

  • Stop eating and drinking after the midnight before surgery, or as directed.

  • Ask when to stop taking aspirin or other blood thinners, herbs, vitamins, and supplements. Some of these medications can interfere with surgery or interact with other medications that you may need around the time of surgery.

  • Ask which medications to keep taking. If told to take medication on the day of surgery, do so with only a sip of water, or as directed.

  • If you smoke, cut down or quit. Smoking is one of the most common factors of postoperative complications.

  • Know when and where to arrive for surgery. Get there on time.


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