Preparing for Surgery

Surgery Contacts

General or Orthopedic Surgery: 781-624-8624

Pre-registration: 781-624-8701

Dolphin Center Waiting Area: 781-624-3761

2 Pond Park Waiting Area: 781-624-2880

We know that surgery can be nerve-wracking, whether it’s your first time or you’ve been through it before. We believe that knowing what to expect and how to prepare can help ease some of the anxiety and ultimately set you up for the best possible outcome.

Children can be especially nervous about an upcoming surgery. Watch the video below to help prepare your child for an upcoming surgery (run time is about 11 minutes).


  • You will receive a scheduled phone call with one of our nurses from the surgical department in advance of your operation. 

  • The nurse will review your medical and surgical history, allergies, and your medication list, along with their doses and schedule. This is a very important step in your surgical process because it helps determine if you require further testing such as blood work or an EKG, medical summary, and/or a cardiac summary prior to your surgery. Your surgery may be rescheduled if you are not available for a phone interview.

  • There will be important instructions delivered during the call, so be sure to write them down. The nurse will not be able to conduct a phone interview if you are driving or unable to take notes on instructions that are provided by the nurse. 

  • Know what type of surgery you are having. If it’s inpatient, you’ll spend at least one night in the hospital. If you are going home the same day, you will need to arrange a ride home with a responsible adult and you should have a reliable adult to assist at home as needed. You will not be allowed to take a taxi, ride share (Uber, Lyft, etc.,) or any form of public transportation home. 

  • Monitor how you feel. If you are having unexpected illness such as a fever, cough, sore throat, or flu-like symptoms, please notify the surgeon as these could postpone your surgery. 

  • Prepare your home for your return. Have shopping and laundry done. Have prepared food ready. Purchase any recommended equipment such as a shower chair or commode.

  • South Shore Hospital will call you at 3 p.m. the day before your surgical date with your arrival time and surgical time. 

  • Parents and guardians of children under 18 years of age may view the pediatric surgical preparation video above. 

  • Refrain from using any tobacco products or any recreation drugs one week prior to surgery.

Contact your insurance company to confirm if a co-payment is required before surgery. If it is, please bring this with you on the day of your surgery.

Eating, drinking, and medication instructions will be given to you at the time of your pre-surgery phone call.

You will be asked to arrive 2 hours prior to your surgery time in order to prepare for your procedure. Please expect to be at the hospital at least 3 hours. 

Personal Care

  • You may shower the night before or day of surgery. Don’t use conditioner or hair products such as hair gel, mousse, or hairspray.
  • Do not use perfume, cologne, lotion, or powder after your shower.
  • Do not use deodorant near the operative site.
  • Do not shave the operative site.
  • Remove all makeup, nail polish, hair accessories, contact lenses, and jewelry (including body piercings) before leaving home.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing and shoes.
  • Do not bring any valuables with you. 

  • You will be signing a consent form for anesthesia administration. If you wear reading glasses, please bring them with you on the day of your surgery.

All types of anesthesia are administered with the goal of keeping patients pain-free and comfortable during surgery, procedures, or testing. The type of anesthesia you will receive depends on factors including your health, the type of procedure, and your preference. Review the different types of anesthesia below. 

General Anesthesia: General anesthesia is used for major operations such as knee replacement or open-heart surgery and causes the patient to lose consciousness. This type of anesthesia requires a breathing tube to be placed temporarily during the procedure. 

IV/Monitored Sedation: IV/Monitored sedation is often used for minimally invasive procedures like colonoscopies. The level of sedation ranges from minimal-drowsy but able to talk to deep sleep. 

Regional Anesthesia:  Regional anesthesia is often used during childbirth and surgeries of the arm, leg, or abdomen. It numbs a large part of the body, but you remain aware. 

Local Anesthesia: Local anesthesia is for procedures such as getting stitches or having a mole removed. It numbs a small area, and you are alert and awake. 

  • After you arrive in the pre-operative area, you will change into a hospital gown and slippers. You will meet your surgical team of nurses, nurse anesthetists, anesthesiologists, and your surgeon. 
  • You will meet your anesthesiology team in the preoperative area before your surgery. There, the anesthesiologist will review the anesthesia plan, explain possible complications, obtain written consent, and answer any questions you may have regarding anesthesia. 
  • After you have changed and your IV is established, you may have a family member or friend stay with you in the pre-operative area until you are ready for surgery. The pre-operative area may be cold. Don’t hesitate to ask a nurse for a warm blanket. 

Advice for Family and/or Guardian

  • Recovery times vary but our goal is to reunite patients with their family and/or friends as soon as possible. Please make sure the concierge has the best phone number to reach your contact person after surgery. 
  • Parents/guardians of children under the age of 18 having surgery may not leave the surgical waiting area. The nurses will bring you into the recovery area with your child.
  • Upon discharge, you will be given written instructions from your surgeon and anesthesiologist. Make sure the person caring for you is there so they can ask questions and understand your discharge plan.

  • Upon discharge, you will be given written instructions from your surgeon and anesthesiologist. Because you have had some form of anesthesia, it is best to include the person(s) caring for you during the discharge teaching process. If you or your caregiver(s) have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask during this teaching time. 

  • After discharge, you will receive a follow-up (post-op) phone call the next day to check on your status at home and address any concerns. 

  • You may receive a survey about the care you received. We are committed to providing you with the very best surgical care and we take your feedback very seriously. Please don't hesitate to speak to a team member if something can be done to make your time here more pleasant.

Our goal at South Shore Health is to provide Patient and Family Centered Care. In an effort to maintain privacy and provide the best care to all patients, we ask that you follow these simple guidelines:

  • Limit cell phone use. 

  • Speak quietly and keep conversations to a minimum to allow patients to rest. 

  • No food or beverages allowed in surgical areas.

  • Children are discouraged in the waiting room. 

  • The concierge in the waiting room will be your liaison to keep you updated. 

Please contact your surgeon's office or the pre-surgery evaluation nurse with questions: 

  • General or Orthopedic Surgery: 781-624-8624

  • Pre-registration: 781-624-8701

  • Dolphin Center Waiting Area: 781-624-3761

  • 2 Pond Park Waiting Area: 781-624-2880

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