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Enhanced Recovery After Surgery Learning Module

At Home: Getting Ready for Surgery

Planning ahead will make your stay in the hospital more comfortable, your discharge easier, and your recovery faster.

Plan ahead:

Make sure everything is ready for you when you go home.

You may need help for a little while with things like making meals, washing clothes, and buying groceries.

Prepare and freeze meals ahead of time: Then all you have to do is re-heat the food once you’re home.

Stop smoking if you can:

Not smoking prevents problems with your lungs after surgery and helps you heal faster.

The Smoking link at the right will take you to web pages with help to stop smoking. You can also talk to your doctor about ways to stop smoking.

Cut down or stop drinking alcohol:

Don’t drink 24 hours before surgery.

Talk to your doctor if you need help cutting down or stopping.


Try to be in the best shape possible before surgery. If you don’t exercise, start slowly. Even several 10-minute walks are better than no exercise.

If you use recreational drugs:

Stop using drugs (like marijuana) before surgery. These drugs can have serious side effects when mixed with the medicine used during surgery or the pain medicine used after surgery. Your surgeon, anesthesiologist, or nurse need to know if you use recreational drugs. The link at right will take you to web pages with more information.

If you take prescription pain medicine:

Tell your nurse or anesthesiologist when you speak with them if you already take prescription pain medicine. If you do, after surgery the pain medicine or dose may have to be changed. Your body may be used to a certain level of pain medicine so the amount needed to deal with your pain will have to be adjusted after surgery. The Know Your Medications and Pain Medicine links at right will take you to web pages with more information.

Make a plan to go home:

Before surgery, please make sure to arrange a ride home.