The South’s leader in minimally invasive and robotic cardiovascular and thoracic surgery

Prepare for Surgery

How To Prepare For Surgery

Pre-operative visit – This will often be the first meeting with your surgeon. He will review your medical records, including your catheterization films, x-rays, and CT scans.. This is the perfect time for your questions and we are happy to review all aspects of your operation.

Scheduling – We have a specialist in our office who will coordinate with you and make appropriate arrangements to schedule your surgery. We will also initiate the contact with your insurance company and obtain pre-authorization if required.

Pre-op Testing – After a specific date for your procedure is selected pre-op testing will be scheduled. This takes place at the main hospital onthe first floor of the hospital.They will instruct you to bring a list of all prescription medications, herbal preparations, and dietary supplements you take, including vitamins. You will be asked to complete a health history for the hospital and a nurse will take your vital signs and evaluate your current condition. Any special testing we need for surgery will be done, such as x-rays, EKGs, blood work, and pulmonary function screening. This is done Monday- Friday, between 8:00am-5:00pm and generally takes about an hour and a half. They will give you a small bottle of antibacterial soap with instructions to shower with it the night before surgery. You will also be asked to not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery.

Showering - Showering before any operation will decrease the skin bacteria count and can decrease the chance of a wound infection. At some hospitals special antimicrobial soap is ordered. You will be advised to take a shower once the night before surgery and once the morning of surgery, with this particular soap.

Nasal Decontamination is frequently recommended to decrease the amount of staph which is carried by most patients in their noses. If your surgeon orders Bactroban nasal ointment, you should apply it twice daily for seven days prior to your operation.

Medications: your surgeon and the anesthesiologist will tell you which medicines you should stop prior to your operation (examples: Coumadin, Plavix, Pradaxa, etc.) and which medications you should take the day of your operation.

Instructions for Bloodless surgery

Diet – The preoperative diet consists of iron-rich foods, along with iron and vitamin supplements. It should be initiated as soon as surgery is contemplated. Absorption of iron from food is influenced by multiple factors. One important factor is the form of the iron, which you eat. Heme iron, found in animal sources, is highly available for absorption. Non-heme iron, on the other hand, found in vegetable sources, is less available. You can increase the absorption of non-heme iron by combining it with heme iron, for example, clams or mussels with enriched pasta.

Preoperative Diet

Iron Rich Foods containing Heme Iron:

  • Clams
  • Pork Liver
  • Oysters
  • Chicken Liver
  • Mussels
  • Beef Liver
  • Beef
  • Shrimp
  • Sardines
  • Turkey

Iron Rich Foods containing Non-Heme Iron:

  • Enriched breakfast cereals
  • Cooked beans and lentils
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Blackstrap Molasses
  • Canned beans
  • Baked potato with skin
  • Enriched Pasta
  • Canned asparagus

Some foods block the absorption of iron. These include coffee, tea, egg yolks, milk, fiber and soy protein. Try to avoid these when you’re eating food high in iron.


In addition to following an iron rich diet prior to surgery we will want you to begin iron and vitamin supplements to maximize your body’s ability to build blood stores and heal properly. All of the supplements can be purchased over the counter at your local pharmacy or discount store.

I. Iron supplement (i.e. Ferro Sequels, SlowFe, or Feosol) – Take one tablet twice a day.
2. Multivitamin – One tablet a day (any brand).
3. Vitamin C 500mg – One tablet a day.
4. B-Complex Vitamin – One tablet a day.
5. Folic Acid 400mg – two tablets (taken together) a day.

Tips on taking iron pills

Take the pills with food. Start slowly. Try taking I pill a day for 3 to 5 days, then two pills a day until you aren’t bothered by that amount. Increase the number of pills until you’re taking the amount your doctor recommended. Use a stool softener if you become constipated (i.e. Surfak or Docusate). Don’t take iron pills at bedtime if they upset your stomach. If one type of iron pill causes problems, talk to your doctor about trying a different formula or brand.

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Please call our office at 205.716.6900 to schedule a consultation to discuss your medical need.

Our Location

Cardio-Thoracic Surgeons, P.C.

2871 Acton Road, Suite 100
Birmingham, AL 35243



Our Services

At Cardio-Thoracic Surgeons, P.C., we specialize in the surgical treatment of heart, lung/thoracic, and vascular diseases.

Providing a cutting edge approach with the highest quality of patient care.

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