Preparing for Surgery

If you are getting ready for surgery or any procedure, here are some easy steps to make the process smoother. More information — including videos about preparing for different types of surgery — is available on the main UCLA Health website.

  • Follow your dietary instructions

    Be sure to follow the instructions you've received about when to stop eating and drinking. The usual advice is to stop eating solid foods 8 hours in advance of your scheduled arrival, and to stop taking clear liquids 2 hours in advance. For more detailed information, please refer to our guidelines, "When to Stop Eating and Drinking".

  • Please stop smoking!

    If you smoke and you’re scheduled for surgery, we recommend that you take immediate steps to stop smoking at once, and remain smoke-free until at least one week following your procedure — or forever! Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do to recover from surgery without complications. People who smoke have an increased chance of complications including wound infections, pneumonia, and heart attacks. The sooner you stop smoking, the better your chances of a smooth recovery.

  • Bring your medical information with you

    If you take more than one or two medications, please bring the list with you or bring the actual medications, including any herbal or "natural" medications. If you have a complicated medical history, it may be helpful to bring a written summary of your major health issues, any operations you have had, and any problems you may have had with anesthesia.

  • Arrange for a responsible adult to take you home

    If you have had anesthesia or sedation, it isn't safe for you to leave the hospital by yourself or to drive yourself home even though you might feel awake. We recommend that you have someone stay with you at least for the first 24 hours. If you have only local anesthesia with no sedation, you may not need to have anyone with you, but please check with your physician first.

  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing

    After surgery, you will want to go home wearing comfortable clothing that is easy to put on and will fit easily over any bandage or surgical dressing. Please leave all jewelry and valuables at home. If you have any tight rings, it is a good idea to have them removed before you come to the hospital.