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Preparing for surgery

HCA Florida University Hospital offers a set of guidelines to prepare patients for surgery with advice on what to expect before, during and after procedures.

Your doctor carefully selected HCA Florida University Hospital for your upcoming procedure. Please be assured our highly skilled staff will provide you with individualized care and attention in a warm and comfortable setting. We strongly encourage you to ask questions if you do not understand any procedures or guidelines for your surgery. 

If you have any questions, please call the surgical services department at (954) 475-5712 or (954) 475-5711.

Pre-surgery checklist

For your convenience, here is a checklist to help you prepare for surgery:

  • Do not eat anything after midnight the night before your operation. Otherwise, your surgery may be postponed or canceled. Non-compliance could cause serious complications.
  • You may have clear liquids (water or black coffee but no cream or milk) up until you leave for the hospital. Once in the car to drive to the hospital, nothing else to drink. Stay away from red/purple liquids.
  • Avoid all blood thinning over the counter medications including aspirin, ibuprofen, Vitamin E and all herbal supplements and vitamins. Follow instructions from your doctor for any prescribed blood thinners.
  • If attending a pre-admission testing visit you will be given either a pre-surgical Ensure for non-diabetics or Gatorade Zero for diabetics. Please drink one the night before surgery and one the morning of surgery before driving to the hospital.
  • Same day total joint patients will need to bring your walker with you on surgery day.
  • If you use a CPAP at home, please bring your CPAP with you to the hospital for surgery.
  • Please bring an applicable document such as living will, power of attorneys, refusal of blood or certain treatments.
  • Refrain from smoking after midnight the day before your surgery.
  • You should receive a pre-surgical wash. (If you don’t need to come in for pre-admission testing, please go to your local pharmacy and ask for either a pre-surgical wash or if not, available Dial soap will work.) Bathe completely and wash your hair the night before surgery and the morning of surgery. This helps to remove germs from your body.
  • Remove all makeup and jewelry before coming to the hospital. No lotions, powders, deodorants, perfumes or colognes day of surgery.
  • Wear simple, loose-fitting clothes and shoes.
  • Leave money, credit cards, jewelry and other valuables at home.
  • Please bring your insurance card(s). This will facilitate the admitting process.
  • Bring a list of current medications with dosages and frequencies that you are currently taking. Verify with the pre-admission testing team the medications that you can and cannot take prior to surgery.
  • Bring a container for your dentures, eyeglasses or contact lenses if needed.
  • A parent or guardian must accompany a minor.
  • Please arrange for an adult to drive you home and, if possible, stay with you for the night following the surgery. No Uber or Lyft will be accepted as modes of transportation home unless accompanied by a family member.

What to expect before during and after your surgery

HCA Florida University Hospital strives to ensure your visit with us is pleasant and comfortable. There are a number of steps that will be carried out before, during and after your surgery.

Before your surgery

Your surgeon or anesthesiologist may feel it is necessary for you to see your medical physician to be cleared for surgery. You may need to come in for pre-admission testing based on the type of surgery you are having to see a member of anesthesia and have certain testing done.

You should expect a call from a nurse the day before your surgery to give you your time of arrival and further instructions. If you do not plan to be at home that day, please call the surgical services department at (954) 475-5712 between the hours of 4:00pm and 5:00pm.

Please notify your surgeon if you become ill with a cold or fever the day before your operation or if you have a temperature of 100 degrees or higher. If you suspect that you may be pregnant, please notify your surgeon.

The day of your surgery

Plan on arriving at the hospital at least two hours before your surgery start time.

Upon arrival, please register at the front desk in the main lobby. You will then be directed to the Surgical Services waiting area on the second floor where you will wait for a member to come and direct you to your pre-op room. A pre-op nurse will then give patient instructions on how to get ready (gown, clothes in belongings bags etc.) Once you are ready to be pre-op’d, a RN will go over consents, administer pre-op medications, start an IV/ obtain blood if applicable and obtain vitals. After, the surgeon will come in to answer any and all patient questions, a few members from the anesthesia team will come in to discuss anesthesia options/concerns and lastly the OR team will come in.

An anesthesiologist may administer medications to you through an intravenous (IV) line. After the surgery, the IV will allow the nurse to give you fluids until you are able to drink, as well as administer pain medication if needed. You will be asked to describe your pain on a 0 to 10 scale, 10 being the worst possible pain. The IV will stay in place until just before you are discharged.


In consultation with the anesthesiologist, your surgeon will determine the appropriate type of anesthesia for you. Our board-certified anesthesiologists are highly qualified in all aspects of inpatient and outpatient anesthesia. Your anesthesiologist will evaluate you before surgery and answer any questions you may have. Be sure to talk to your anesthesiologist about any medications you are currently taking, even over-the-counter drugs.

After your surgery

After your surgery, you will be moved to our post-anesthesia care unit (PACU), also known as the recovery room, where you will remain under close observation.

The amount of time spent in the recovery room varies from patient to patient but typically is one to two hours.

If you are being discharged home, once stable you will move to phase two of recovery where a team of nurses will obtain another set of vitals, ensure all discharge parameters have been met that are required by the physician, provide you with a written summary of your surgeon’s post-operative instructions regarding diet, rest and inform you of your post-op prescription status (whether or not prescriptions were electronically sent to your pharmacy or paper copy handed to you).

When you are stable and ready to leave, a representative will escort you in a wheelchair to your car.

Since it is normal to feel drowsy after receiving an anesthetic, the following activities should be postponed for 24 hours after discharge:

  • Driving and operating equipment
  • Signing important documents
  • Making significant decisions
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages
  • Taking any drugs without your physician’s approval

Additional information about tests and procedures

Whether you are preparing for a mammogram or preoperative tests that need to be completed before the day of your surgery, our website will answer all of your questions about the services we offer at HCA Florida University Hospital.

For any questions about preregistration, please feel free to call (954) 475-5711 for inpatient surgeries or (954) 475-5712 for outpatient surgeries.