Are you scheduled for surgery? Any surgery can cause an upheaval in your life. The best way to counter this is to be prepared. Do as much as possible before surgery, so you can relax and focus on recovery afterwards.

Preparing For Surgery Checklist

In this article, we will explore some of the steps you can take before surgery to be better prepared and to make recovery easier. Let’s go over some areas you can clear out of your way before your surgery – a preparing for surgery checklist if you will.

Key Takeaways:

  • Consulting with your doctor and insurance company before surgery is crucial.
  • Important documents, such as advance directives and medical power of attorney, should be prepared in advance.
  • Other ways to prepare for surgery include arranging transportation and preparing your home for recovery.

Video: Preparing For Sugery

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Consulting With Your Doctor – More Than Saying Ahhhhh

Preparing For Surgery Checklist - Doctor talking with patient.

Before your medical procedure, it’s essential to have a consultation with your doctor to discuss any concerns or questions you may have. This is an opportunity to gain clarity on the procedure, your recovery, and any medications you may need to take.

During the consultation, you should ask your doctor questions such as how long you will need to stay in the hospital or if it’s an outpatient surgery. You should also inquire about your expected recovery time, when you will be able to drive, and what activities you will be unable to do after surgery. It’s important to know how long you will need to be off work and when you should make follow-up appointments. You should also ask if there will be physical therapy.

If you take any medications, including over-the-counter meds and supplements, you should discuss them with your doctor. Find out if you should stop taking any medications, such as high blood pressure or heart medications, before the procedure. If you will be undergoing general anesthesia, the anesthesiologist will control your blood pressure and other bodily functions and will adjust your anesthesia level if needed. Therefore, it’s imperative to find out what medications you should stop or continue to take.

If you will be experiencing general anesthesia, ask your doctor or surgical team if you will be able to leave your contact lenses in. If not, make sure you have a pair of glasses to take with you. Sometimes, a medical team may ask you not to wear nail polish so that the color of the nail bed can be monitored. The color of the skin and nail beds is an important sign of blood circulation.

It’s a good idea to write down any questions you have and take the list with you to your appointment. This is also an excellent time to see if your doctor will call in your prescriptions so you can pick them up before surgery. By consulting with your doctor, you can ensure that you are fully prepared for your procedure and have a clear understanding of what to expect.

Insurance – The Necessary Evil or Thank Goodness You Have It?

Preparing For Surgery Checklist - Insurance Papers

Before undergoing any medical procedure, it is essential to understand your insurance coverage. You may assume that all doctors and hospitals associated with your in-network hospital are also in-network, but that may not always be the case. Always double-check your insurance coverage with your insurance company to avoid any surprises.

It is not uncommon to receive bills from out-of-network doctors or labs, even if you were treated at an in-network facility. If you find yourself in this situation, contact your insurance company to inquire about your options for appealing the charges.

It is also important to know your deductible for both in-network and out-of-network services. You should confirm whether you have reached your out-of-pocket maximum or if you still have to pay out-of-pocket until you reach it. You will likely be asked to pay any deductible you haven’t reached upfront before the surgical procedure.

In addition, make sure your insurance has preapproved your surgical procedure and hospital stay. Find out how many days post-op have been approved for your hospital stay.

In conclusion, insurance can feel like a necessary evil, but it is important to understand your coverage to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Stay informed and proactive when it comes to your medical expenses.

Video: Understanding Health Insurance Coverage

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Important Documents – I Don’t Want to Think About Them

 Preparing-For-Surgery-Checklist- Legal Documents

As you prepare for surgery, it’s important to have certain legal documents in place, completed, and updated.

What documents am I talking about? I wrote an article, “5 Legal Documents Everyone Should Have.”  It goes more in-depth into these types of documents.

In this section, we will discuss some of the essential documents that you should have in place.


A Will is a legal document that outlines how your assets and property should be distributed after your death. It is essential to have a Will in place to ensure that your wishes are carried out and to avoid any disputes among your loved ones. You can update your Will at any time, as long as you are mentally competent.

Revocable Living Trust

A Revocable Living Trust is a written agreement that designates someone to manage your property while you are still alive. It is called “revocable” because you can change it at any time, as long as you are mentally competent. This document is essential in ensuring that your assets are managed according to your wishes.

Advance Directive & Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care

An Advance Directive and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care are crucial documents that outline your wishes regarding healthcare decisions. They allow you to appoint someone to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you become unable to make them for yourself. It is essential to include your wishes and thoughts in these documents so that the person you assign to make decisions is fully informed.

Financial Power of Attorney

A Financial Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone to take care of financial matters if you are unable to do so. This document is crucial in ensuring that your finances are managed according to your wishes.

In conclusion, having these documents completed and updated is crucial in ensuring that your wishes are carried out, even when you are unable to make decisions for yourself. If you have any questions or doubts about what financial documents are right for you, please consult with an attorney.

What documents am I talking about? I wrote an article, “5 Legal Documents Everyone Should Have.”  It goes more in-depth into these types of documents.

You might be interested in reading: Nolo’s Quicken WillMaker & Trust 2024

What About You? Yes, You.

 Preparing-For-Surgery-Checklist- Man pointing to himself.

Above, we discussed what to include in your surgery checklist. Now I want to go over what you can do to have yourself/your body be better prepared for surgery.

Preparing yourself for surgery is essential to ensure a smooth and successful recovery. It’s normal to feel nervous or anxious before surgery. The best way to get through all those emotions and feelings is to face them head-on. If you feel the need, be sure to talk to someone – be it a family member, friend, spouse, clergy, or therapist. Don’t try to squash those feelings and emotions or pretend they don’t exist – that won’t help the situation.

Meditation is an excellent way to relieve nervousness and anxiety. If you haven’t tried it before, now is a great time to learn.

Getting enough rest before surgery is crucial, as you may experience pain and discomfort afterward, which can disrupt your sleep.

It’s important to eat healthy foods while preparing your body for surgery. Make sure to get your last meal in before the medical staff instructs you to stop eating or drinking, usually at midnight before surgery.

It’s important to note that smoking and drinking can have negative effects on your surgery and recovery. If you smoke or drink, consider quitting before surgery to improve your lung function and blood pressure.

Last but not least, don’t forget to buy products that will help you after your surgery when you’re on the road to recovery. See my article entitled, Post Surgery Supplies to see some options.

Other Ways to Prepare


Before your surgery, it’s important to arrange transportation to and from the hospital. You won’t be able to drive yourself home after the procedure, so it’s best to have a friend or family member take you. Avoid taking a cab or Uber as you may not be in a state to travel alone.


After your surgery, you may feel groggy and may need assistance. It’s best to have someone stay with you for a few days to help you with daily tasks. This person can help you with meals, medication, and any other needs you may have.


To make your recovery easier, consider preparing and freezing some meals before your surgery. Another option is to have meals delivered to you. This way, you won’t have to worry about cooking while you recover and can focus on getting better.


Speak to your doctor about any prescriptions you may need before your surgery, including pain medication. Ask if they can be called in beforehand so you can pick them up before your surgery. This way, you won’t have to worry about stopping at the pharmacy on the way home from the hospital.


Preparing-For-Surgery-Checklist- Woman hugging dog.

Don’t forget to arrange for a pet sitter for your animals. Your pets will need someone to feed them and take care of them while you’re away. If possible, have the pet sitter meet your pets beforehand so they can get familiar with each other. During this meeting, provide the pet sitter with any necessary instructions for your pet’s care.

If you use a pet-sitting service, consider installing a camera. This will allow you to monitor your pets while you’re away and ensure that they’re being taken care of properly. Additionally, it can help you keep an eye on your home and ensure that everything is okay while you’re recovering.

Are You Ready? – I Bet You Are


Preparing for surgery can be a daunting task, but with proper preparation, you can make the experience less stressful. The following surgery preparation checklist can help you prepare for surgery:

  • Doctor
    • Questions
    • Instructions
  • Insurance Coverage
    • Pre-approval
    • In-Network – Out-of-Network
    • Deductibles
  • Documents
    • Will
    • Revocable Living Trust
    • Advanced Directive and Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare
    • Financial Power of Attorney
  • You
    • Mental health
    • Sleep
    • Nutrition
    • Post-surgery supplies
  • Miscellaneous
    • Transportation
    • Companion
    • Meals
    • Prescriptions
    • Pet Care

By following this checklist, you can ensure a smoother recovery process. Remember to follow any activity restrictions and incision care guidelines provided by your doctor. Also, make sure to attend your follow-up appointment and stay in the post-anesthesia care unit or recovery room as long as necessary.


How can you naturally prepare your body for surgery?

Preparing your body naturally for surgery can help improve your overall health and reduce the risk of complications during and after surgery. Some ways to prepare your body naturally for surgery include:

Eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean protein;
Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water;
Getting regular exercise and staying physically active;
Quitting smoking and avoiding alcohol;
Taking supplements recommended by your doctor, such as vitamin C and zinc.

What should you eat leading up to surgery to prepare your body?

Eating healthy and balanced meals leading up to surgery can help reduce the risk of complications and improve your overall health.
Remember to find out what time you need to stop eating before surgery.

Some foods to consider eating before surgery include:

Lean protein, such as chicken, fish, or tofu
Whole grains, such as brown rice or quinoa
Fruits and vegetables, such as berries, leafy greens, and carrots
Healthy fats, such as avocado or nuts

It’s important to avoid eating heavy or fatty foods before surgery, as they can slow down digestion and increase the risk of complications.

How can you mentally prepare for surgery?

Mental preparation is just as important as physical preparation when it comes to surgery. Some ways to mentally prepare for surgery include:

Talking to your doctor about any fears or concerns you may have;
Practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation;
Visualizing a successful outcome;
Surrounding yourself with a support system of family and friends;
Staying positive and focusing on your recovery.

Additional Posts


In conclusion, preparing for surgery can be overwhelming, but with proper preparation, you can make the experience less stressful and ensure a successful recovery. I hope with reading the Preparing for Surgery Checklist – Ready or Not? you gained some insight into some steps to take before your surgery so you can have a more relaxing, productive recovery. Wishing you the best for a successful surgery.

What experience or tips do you have for pre-surgery?  Comment below.

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  1. great topic to write about! Being prepared before anything like this is always a smart choice to make. I appreciate you taking the time to write this article.

    1. Hi Ethan,

      Thank you for visiting my site and reading this article. Yes, I agree preparation takes away so much of the unknown. You’re very welcome and hope to see your back here.

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