Colorectal surgery can be a frightening procedure. Fear often stems from a lack of knowledge. This guide will help give you a better idea of what to expect before your procedure. As always, remember that your surgeon will be the best place to find information.

Before Your Surgery

Before your surgery, you will receive a physical examination at the surgery clinic. You’ll also be given instructions for cleansing the colon. 

The night before your procedure, avoid eating or drinking anything after midnight. If you were prescribed medicine, you may continue to take it with just a sip of water. You should refrain from taking medications containing aspirin, such as ibuprofen, for the week preceding your surgery. 

You should also avoid smoking leading up to your surgery. If you must smoke, stop after midnight the night before.

Don’t wear makeup to your surgery. You should also avoid wearing nail polish or artificial nails as the surgical team will monitor your fingernails to learn more about your oxygen levels and blood circulation. 

What to Bring

When you come in for surgery, bring a list of any medications you are on, as well as their dosages. You should also take a form of identification and your insurance information. Avoid bringing in large amounts of money, credit cards, or expensive jewelry

After Your Arrival 

After you get to the hospital, someone will provide you with hospital attire. A nurse will then take your vital signs and ask you a list of questions. Normally you will then talk briefly with your surgeon, and then the anesthesiologist. You’ll then have an intravenous line, known as an IV, inserted. 

After Your Receive General Anesthesia 

Once you are put under anesthesia, the surgical team will insert a catheter into your bladder to collect urine, and a nasogastric tube through your nose into your stomach. This will remove fluid from your stomach that could lead to vomiting after your surgery. Normally the tube will be removed by the time you come to. 

The exact length of your surgery will vary depending on your health and how complex your colorectal surgery is. You can talk to your doctor ahead of time to learn more about the expected timeline. 

Once your surgery is over, they will take you to a recovery room and then move you into your room once you are stable. Normally your surgeon will meet with your family afterward to discuss your surgery and condition.