A Patient's Guide

Your surgery is important. The very best way for you to prepare is to take good care of yourself, eat well, and get plenty of rest. The Highland Hospital Surgery staff will ensure that your stay is uncomplicated, convenient and successful. Here are a few key instructions and helpful hints:

Preparing for Surgery


  • We will telephone you the evening before your surgery. If you are unable to have surgery on the scheduled day, please notify your doctor, or call the Operating Room at 510-437-4969.
  • Same Day Surgery – Arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery. You must have a ride home with a responsible driver or your surgery will be postponed. Make sure that a responsible adult stays with you for the rest of the day and through the night following your surgery. Make child care arrangements so that you can rest when you get home.
  • Inpatient Surgery – Arrange to be away from home for the time you will be in the hospital. Pack a bag for someone to bring to you after surgery with slippers, robe, and a comb.

The Night Before Surgery

  • After midnight, do not eat any solid food or drink any liquids – this includes water, juice, coffee, mints or chewing gum. If you eat or drink after midnight, your surgery will be postponed.
  • If you normally take medications after midnight, check with your anesthesiologist to see if you should take them the night before or morning before your surgery. If you were unable to ask your anesthesiologist, do not take medications. Bring your medications with you on the day of your surgery.
  • If you use an inhaler, please being it with you.
  • Do not smoke for 24 hours before the surgery.

The Morning of Surgery

  • Shower or bathe the night before or in the morning of your surgery to minimize the chance of infection.
  • Brush your teeth and rinse your mouth without swallowing any liquid.
  • Wear loose clothing to the hospital for ease in dressing and comfort.
  • Wear flat, comfortable shoes.
  • Leave jewelry and other valuables at home–this includes any piercing studs, jewelry, or other metal.
  • Leave contact lenses at home. Bring your glasses.
  • Leave children at home

When to Arrive

  • Arrive by 6 a.m. on the day of your surgery.
  • Same Day Surgery – Go to the Ambulatory Surgery Unit waiting room, Room 500 on the 5th Floor of the Koret Center building (phone 510-437-4276). You may have an adult come with you to the 5th Floor.
  • Inpatient Surgery – Report to the Admitting Office, 4th Floor of the Highland Hospital building (ground floor on E. 31st St.). After you are done at Admitting, go to the Surgical Suites on the 5th Floor of the Koret Center Building (K-Building).

Special Precautions

  • If you are a woman of childbearing age and suspect you may be pregnant, notify your surgeon. Anesthesia and medications may be harmful to a developing fetus.
  • If you are unable to have surgery in the scheduled time, notify your surgeon. If unable to reach your surgeon, call the Operating Room at 510-437-4969.
  • Be sure to bring your current Highland white or yellow plastic card, and your Highland green or Medi-Cal card.

Following Surgery

  • Same Day Surgery – You may have some discomfort after surgery. You will be given medication to take home for pain.
    • You will not feel totally recovered when you leave the hospital. You will complete      your recovery at home.
    • Plan to rest at least 12 hours when you return home after surgery.
    • You may feel the effects of anesthetic medications for 24 hours after surgery. Do not drive, operate machinery, or make important decisions for 24 hours after surgery.
    • Call the emergency room at Highland 510-437-4559 if you experience difficulties after surgery such as bleeding, vomiting, or inability to urinate.
  • Inpatient Surgery – When you awaken, you may have an IV and other tubes or drains. Each tube is necessary and the nurse will explain their purpose.
    • Following surgery, you will be taken to a hospital inpatient room.
    • Your family will not be able to visit you while you are in surgery or in the Recovery Room. They may visit you in your room.
    • You may have some discomfort after surgery. Ask your nurse for medication to relieve your pain.
    • You will be asked to do deep breathing, coughing, and walking exercises to prevent complications after surgery.
    • Your doctor may order a special diet for you. This is necessary for medical reasons. These restrictions will be imposed only as long as your condition requires.
    • You may have changes in your bowel habits due to the surgery, lying in bed, or medications. Follow the instructions of the staff about diet and activity to assist in getting back to normal.