Patient Surgical Guide Part 3

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Patient Surgical Guide Section 3


Preparing for Surgery

Hospital Registration

Registration can be completed the morning of surgery or in advance by phone or Internet:

  • Online at Select Admitting & Registration from the drop-down menu
  • Phone (602) 307-2305


Weeks before your surgery, begin eating a balanced diet if you are not already doing so.
  • Include protein and dairy in each meal
  • Eat 3-4 meals/day

Decrease your intake of alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes weeks or months prior to your surgery if possible. It is not recommended that you abruptly stop smoking days before surgery. Doing so can have an adverse affect on your breathing passages.


Notify your surgeon if you are currently taking the following medications: hypoglycemics (insulin or oral agents); anti-coagulants/anti-platelets such as Aspirin, Excedrin, Coumadin, Plavix, Heparin, Lovenox, etc.; anticonvulsants (Depakote); anti-inflammatory drugs including Anaprox, Dolobid, Feldene, Motrin, Ibuprofen, Naprosyn, Toradol, Vioxx, Aleve, Advil, etc.; natural supplements such as Vitamin E; and herbal medications such as gingko and St. John's wort.

Your surgeon may ask you to discontinue some medications before surgery because many of these substances contain ingredients that interfere with normal body functions and can increase the risks of complications during surgery.


Plan your discharge ahead of time.
  • Identify a companion to help you for a few days after you arrive home.
  • Arrange transportation to and from the hospital. Discharge usually takes place by 11:00 a.m.
  • Stock your refrigerator.
  • Prepare meals in advance.
  • Contact your insurance company to determine your benefits regarding outpatient therapy or medical devices such as walkers and shower chairs that you may need once you are home.


Remove nail polish, jewelry, and body-piercing jewelry. Your surgeon may request that you take a shower with Chlorhexadine the night before and morning of surgery, from the neck down, giving special attention to the area of surgery. If you are scheduled for head or neck surgery, you may also be asked to shampoo your hair with your shampoo of choice when you shower as instructed above. Do not use hair spray, other styling products, lotions, or perfumes. Underarm deodorant may be used unless you are undergoing a thoracoscopic procedure for hyperhydrosis.

Traditionally, patients are advised not to eat or drink at least eight hours prior to their surgical procedure. Please consult your surgeon for the restrictions that apply to your specific case. Specific guidelines are given to children based on their age, body weight, and time of surgery. Always remember to consult your surgeon for specific instructions.

Day of Surgery


The closest parking for surgical patients is in the 6th avenue garage. Additional parking may be available in the 3rd avenue garage. Upon request, hospital security will escort you to your car and may be available to shuttle you to and from nearby hotels. Valet services are available from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Fees for valet services as well as the parking garage are available at the hospital information desk.


The morning of surgery you will arrive in the Preoperative Center at 5:00 a.m. (unless directed otherwise by your surgeon). This department is located on the 2nd floor of the Neuroscience Tower.

Do not bring the following items to the hospital:

  • unnecessary valuables or jewelry
  • medications from home. The hospital policy prohibits patients from receiving medication from outside the hospital for safety precautions.

Do bring the following to the hospital:

  • complete list of medications that you take at home, including dosages and frequency
  • insurance card and means to pay hospital co-payment
  • identification
  • living wills and advance directives
  • test results

If you have had a chest x-ray within the last year, notify your surgeon to avoid unnecessary testing the morning of surgery. Also tell your physician if you have had an EKG (electrocardiogram) test completed within the last month. Your surgical team will want to see the results of this test. Give these documents to your surgeon's office before surgery or bring them with you the morning of surgery.

If you have experienced any medical challenges such as cardiac, renal, or respiratory conditions, please make sure that your specialist is aware of your upcoming surgery. These physicians must "clear" you for surgery; that is, they must provide a written release stating that your condition does not prohibit you from undergoing surgery.

Preoperative Center Services

Once you are admitted to this department, various tests and examinations are performed. Blood is drawn unless you have been pretested or have copies of results from an outside laboratory. A nurse checks your vital signs (blood pressure, pulse, temperature). Procedures may be cancelled if you have a fever and other symptoms of illness. Please notify your surgeon's office if your temperature is higher than normal or if you have other symptoms of illness before the day of surgery. You may undergo x-rays, CT or MRI studies before your procedure on the day of surgery or in the days leading up to it.

Before surgery you will change into a hospital gown. Your clothes will be given to your family. An identification bracelet will be placed on your arm. You will wear the bracelet until you are discharged from the hospital. You will be asked to sign registration and consent forms for your surgical procedure and for any tests, examinations, or consultations that your surgeon orders while you are in the hospital.

You may be examined by a physician to assess your general health and to diagnose any unexpected illnesses. You will be asked to remove your eye glasses, contact lenses, and dentures. Your dentures may be placed back into your mouth in the recovery room when you are awake and alert. You will be asked to remove all jewelry. Hearing aids will not be removed until you have arrived at the operating room to ensure that you can communicate with the surgical team until you drift off to sleep.

After your examinations and laboratory tests are completed, you and your family will be welcomed by your anesthesiologist and registered nurse from the operating room. You will have an opportunity to ask questions about the procedure and recovery process. An intravenous catheter may be placed in your arm to administer medication to relax you before you are taken to the operating room.

The surgical site will be shaved if necessary once you are asleep in the operative suite. The amount of hair to be shaved is determined by the type of procedure and by your surgeon's preference. For most cranial (head) surgeries, a small "strip" is shaved over the surgical site, rather than a full head shave.

> Section 4: During and After Surgery

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Barrow Neurological Institute
350 W. Thomas Road
Phoenix, AZ 85013
(602) 406-3000