What to bring when you come for surgery

  • Government-issued health card (OHIP card)
  • Mount Sinai or Women’s College Hospital card, if you are having your surgery at either location. See also: Admitting at Mount Sinai [opens in new window] »
  • Your health insurance policy number (if you have one). If you live outside Canada, contact Patient Accounts at 416 340 4800 ext. 6002 to make financial arrangements.
  • All your medications in their original bottles, as well as a complete list of your medications, including prescription medications, non-prescription medications, supplements and herbal remedies. See also: Your First Appointment at UHN »
  • Toiletries (toothbrush, tissues, lip and skin moisturizer, etc.)
  • Loose, comfortable clothing
  • Socks and comfortable shoes with non-skid rubber soles, such as running shoes
  • Hearing aids, dentures and eyeglasses (do not wear contact lenses)
  • Walking aids, such as canes or walkers, labelled with your name and phone number
  • CPAP (breathing aid) machine (if you have one) labelled with your name

If you need anything else, ask a friend or family member to bring the items to your room after your surgery.

You may also want to bring:

  • A phone card for the pay phones
  • A small amount of cash for newspapers, coffee shop, etc.
  • A credit card or Visa debit card for TV and phone rentals
  • Something to read

Please do not bring:

  • Valuables such as watches or jewellery
  • Many pieces of identification or credit cards
  • A cell phone
  • Large pieces of electrical equipment such as TVs or laptop computers
  • Large amounts of cash

We cannot take responsibility for personal items such as clothing, medications, money or valuables. 

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Checking In

Arrive at the hospital about 2 hours before your scheduled surgery time or at the time your surgeon told you to arrive.

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
18th floor, Unit 18B

Toronto General Hospital
Surgical Admission Unit, 2nd floor, near the West Elevators

Toronto Western Hospital
Pre-Operative Care Unit, 2nd floor, Room 116, near the South Elevators

Mount Sinai Hospital
Main Level, Room 302 (near the Murray Street entrance)

Women’s College Hospital
Pre-Operative Care Unit, 2nd floor, Room 116, near the South Elevators

When you arrive, check in with the ward clerk. The clerk will ask for your health card and will give you an identification band to put on your wrist. A nurse will check your chart information and give you a hospital gown to change into. A nurse will ask you to empty your bladder. You will then be taken to the Pre-Operative Care Unit.

A family member or friend can stay with you in the Pre-Operative Care Unit. We ask that you have no more than 2 family members accompany you because the Pre-Operative Care Unit is very busy.

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Before the operation

In the Pre-Operative Care Unit you will meet some members of your surgical team. Depending on the type of surgery you are having, they may:

  • Clip your body hair in the area of the surgery (do not shave yourself at home because this can increase the risk of infection)
  • Mark your incision line
  • Insert an intravenous (IV) line into your arm
  • Give you medication
  • Give you a soft hat to cover your head

You will be taken to the operating room on a stretcher.

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In the operating room

When you arrive in the operating room, you will see many people preparing for your surgery. You will be helped onto the operating table and will be given a blanket.

A blood pressure cuff will be put on your arm and an oxygen monitor will be placed on your finger. You will be hooked up to a heart monitor that will keep track of your heartbeat. A plastic mask will be placed over your face to give you oxygen.

Before you go to sleep, you will see the operating room staff following a surgical safety check list. They may ask you to answer a few questions during the safety check list. The surgical safety check list is used to ensure your safety.

You will be given medicine through the IV line to make you go to sleep. Once you are asleep, a breathing tube will be inserted into your mouth. The tube is usually removed before you leave the operating room.

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After the operation

When your surgery is over, we will take you to the Post-Anesthetic Care Unit (recovery room). This is a large room that will have several other patients in it. You will stay in the Post-Anesthetic Care Unit until you are awake and your pain is well managed. You may have an oxygen mask over your mouth and nose.

Nurses will be with you the entire time you are in this unit. The nurses will do everything they can to make you comfortable. They will check:

  • Your blood pressure, pulse and temperature
  • Your pain or nausea (tell a nurse if you are in pain or if you feel ill)
  • The area of your body where you had surgery (surgical site)
  • Tubes draining your surgical site (if you have any)
  • Other IV lines (if you have any)

You may be in the Post-Anesthetic Care Unit for 1 to 3 hours, or more. The length of time depends on the type of surgery you had.

We will then transfer you to your room, where your family and friends can visit you once you are settled.

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Changes to the time of your surgery

We will do everything we can to avoid changing the date of your surgery, but it is possible that your surgeon’s office may change the date or time (postpone it to a later date) before your surgery date.

It is also possible that your surgery may be cancelled on the day of surgery. This may happen if the operating room is needed to deal with life-threatening emergencies or multiple transplants.

If your surgery is postponed to another day, your surgeon’s office will call you with a new date.

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Last reviewed: 10/1/2018
Last modified: 10/2/2018 12:53 PM