Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care at HUP
Critical Care
Obstetrical Anesthesia
Thoracic Anesthesia
For Patients: What to Expect


Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania


Outpatient Anesthesia at HUP


General Preoperative Instructions for HUP
Penn Presbyterian Medical Center

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Penn Pain Medicine Center

General Preoperative Instructions - HUP

Many patients have surgery and return home the same day, while others are only admitted to the hospital following their operation. Although this shortens hospital stays and reduces medical costs, it places a greater burden on patients to know what to do and how to facilitate their own care.

Preoperative communication is important. We attempt to contact each patient on the working day prior to surgery between 5 and 7 pm. This phone call will contain specific instructions about the time to arrive and how to handle any medications that the patient may be taking. If the patient will not be at home the night before surgery, please make certain that we know where to call. If no call has been received by 7 pm, please call our hotline at (215) 662-6450.

Patients should wear comfortable clothing and leave all valuables at home, including jewelry. Contact lenses can cause problems, and patients will be asked to remove them. They should bring regular glasses, lens cases or spare contacts (for disposables) as appropriate. Body piercings, even at some distance from the planned site of surgery, can produce problems and should be removed and left at home.

If the planned surgery involves general anesthesia or sedation, please do not eat any food, candy or gum or drink any liquids after midnight. Doing so creates a risk of severe, life-threatening complications and may result in the cancellation of surgery.

Many daily medications need to be continued on the day of surgery and may be taken with a sip of water; some others may be omitted for the day without undue consequences. All should be discussed with the nurse in the preoperative phone call.

Patients being admitted to the hospital after surgery may bring a small bag of personal items with them. They should not bring laptops, cell phones and other expensive personal devices.

Patients going home the day of surgery must arrange for a responsible adult to accompany them home. A taxi, bus or paratransit driver can not be considered a responsible escort. Patients who receive sedation or general anesthesia have residual effects that make it unsafe to drive, even after the most minor procedure.


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