Thank you for choosing Memorial Hermann for your surgical care needs. Our goal is to provide you with exceptional care while keeping you informed throughout the entire process.

When you have a surgical procedure, it is common for both you and your family to be a bit nervous. Knowing what you can expect before, during and after your surgery can help make things a little easier.

Before Surgery

When you discuss surgery with your doctor, it is important to share details about your general health. Be sure to let your doctor know about any health issues, even if you think they do not apply to your surgical procedure.

It is especially important for your doctor to know if you have allergies or diabetes (or if anyone in your family has diabetes). Controlling blood sugar is very important in the healing process.

Also let your doctor know about any medications you are taking, along with the dosages and how often you take them. This includes:

  • Prescription medications
  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Herbal or nutritional supplements
  • Weight-loss medications

Some medications must be discontinued for a period of time before your surgery. Medicines like aspirin and blood thinners can decrease your body’s ability to form a blood clot and stop bleeding. Your doctor will tell you which medications you should not take before surgery, and which ones you should continue.

Pre-Admission Testing (PAT)

Before surgery, you will need to speak with the hospital’s pre-admission testing department (PAT). Sometimes this is done by answering questions over the phone, or it may require an in-person appointment at the hospital’s pre-admission office. Your doctor will tell you how to proceed, and whether or not you need to have lab work or other testing done before surgery.

After your doctor schedules your surgery, you will get a call from the nurse to confirm several things:

  • Medical history
  • Medications you take
  • Known allergies and your reactions
  • Previous surgeries
  • Name and location of your pharmacy
  • Name and phone number of your primary care physician and specialists
  • Name and phone number of the person who will drive you home from surgery

If your doctor requests additional lab work or testing, you will need to schedule a PAT appointment. Testing could include a blood test, urine test, Electrocardiogram (ECG) or an X-ray. Please bring the following items to your appointment:

  • Driver's license or picture ID
  • Current insurance card
  • Copies of your living will, advance directives, and medical power of attorney, if you have them
  • Complete list of your medications

During your appointment, you will complete any outstanding registration paperwork, as well as review and sign a surgery consent form. The nurse will take your vital signs, including blood pressure and heart rate, and you will complete any tests requested by your doctor.

You will also receive information about what time to arrive at the hospital, where to park, and post-surgery instructions for home care. Remember that your scheduled surgery time is not exact. Sometimes things change, and your surgery may be earlier or later than planned. If this happens, you will receive a call the day before surgery to let you know the revised arrival time.

The PAT nurse will send you home with a special soap called ChlorHexidine Gluconate (CHG) and instructions on how to bathe at home, before surgery, to help prevent surgical-site infections. You may also receive a carbohydrate-loading drink to promote healing after your surgery.

Special Instructions

Food, Drink and Medications

You must have an empty stomach during surgery. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight on the evening before your surgery. This includes water, gum and candy. The only exceptions are medications that are approved by your doctor, taken with a sip of water. Remember to not smoke, vape, chew tobacco or drink alcohol during the 24 hours before your surgery.

CHG Shower and Sleep

Your body needs to be thoroughly washed with ChlorHexidine Gluconate (CHG) soap before surgery. This is the special soap you received at your PAT appointment. Taking two showers with CHG soap removes germs from your skin and reduces the risk of infection.

Follow your PAT nurse’s instructions regarding the soap and showering instructions. You should also watch the video below for detailed instructions on showering and sleeping the night before your surgery. The video explains how to bathe with CHG soap and how to prepare your bed for pre-surgery sleep.

By taking these important steps before surgery, you are doing your part to help us give you the safest care possible.

Day of Surgery

Getting Ready

On the day of your surgery, take a shower with the CHG soap, following the instructions from the PAT nurse, and put on clean, loose-fitting, warm clothing to wear to the hospital.

You will need to remove nail polish and arrive at the hospital without wearing makeup, lotions or powders. Remove all jewelry, including piercings. If you cannot remove rings, we can cut them off when you arrive in the pre-operative area.


Please leave all valuable items at home or give them to a family member to hold until after your surgery. The hospital cannot be responsible for your jewelry or other valuables.

Hospital Arrival

Please arrive at the hospital 2 hours before your scheduled surgery time with your photo ID, insurance card and medication list.

When you arrive, you will change into a hospital gown and remove contact lenses if you wear them. If you did not bathe with CHG soap, please tell your nurse.

Surgery Pre-Op

The final surgical preparations happen in the surgery pre-op area before you are taken to the operating room. Here’s what you can expect:

  • The nurse will check your identification band and perform a safety assessment. You may be asked the same questions multiple times, but this ensures all details are confirmed.
  • You will receive a warm blanket that is connected to a warm-air source. Keeping you warm before surgery can help prevent heat loss that may happen while you are asleep in the operating room.
  • The nurse may start an IV to provide fluids.
  • The anesthesia doctor or nurse will speak with you and answer any questions you have about being put to sleep for surgery.
  • Your surgeon will speak with you to answer any last-minute questions you may have.

From here you will go to operating room, and your family will be directed to the waiting room.


Most patients receive one dose of antibiotics before surgery and another dose the day after surgery. This will help prevent infection.

Family Waiting

Your family members may sit in the surgery waiting area while you are in the operating room. Nurses will update your family when time permits, and the doctor will visit with your family after surgery is complete.


Post-Anesthesia Care/Recovery

After surgery, you will be taken to the recovery room where nurses will watch your vital signs (temperature, blood pressure, pulse and respirations) as you begin to wake up. There may be other patients in the recovery room, because this area is designed to care for several patients at the same time. Visitors are not allowed in the recovery room.

Discharge Unit

When it is time to leave the recovery room, you will moved to a patient room or to the Discharge Unit, which is last step before going home. You will sit up in a recliner, and your nurse will offer you a light snack and something to drink. Your family may join you.

Once your pain level is tolerable, you will be discharged home with a responsible adult who will stay with you for the first 24 hours. You will not be permitted to drive yourself home because of the medications you will receive during surgery. Taxi or Uber drivers are not permitted.

After Surgery


Once you are settled in a post-surgery bed, family members will be able to visit you. However, if family or friends have a cold or respiratory infection they should not visit, because exposure to their illness could complicate or extend your recovery.

Visitors should wash their hands with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub, before and after visiting you, and should not touch the surgical wound or dressings.

Pain Control

When your pain is controlled, you may heal faster and feel better sooner. Our goal is to control your pain well enough for you to do the things you need to heal.

Don’t wait until your pain is too strong before telling the nurse. They may not be able to take away all of your pain, but they want to make you as comfortable as possible.

We try to avoid opioids whenever possible, because the side effects can delay your recovery. If you have a history of chronic pain or substance abuse, please tell your doctor so your care plan can be adjusted.

Patient Services