Preparing for surgery

As part of the preoperative assessment, you will be given instructions about how to prepare for the surgery based on your health and medical history. Let your treatment team know if you have any concerns about what you are asked to do. The advice you receive will cover a range of issues.

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Bathing and shaving

You will be told when to shower or bath. This may be the night before and/or morning of the surgery. If you have been told that hair near the surgical site needs to be shaved, you may be asked to do it yourself before you go to hospital, or it will be done when you are admitted. In cases where there is a lot of hair at the surgical site, you will be asked to avoid shaving the area yourself, as any cuts to the area can increase the risk of infection. You may also be asked not to wear any make-up or perfume.

Eating and drinking

Most people are told not to eat or drink for 6 –12 hours before surgery. This may be called fasting or nil by mouth. It ensures that your stomach is empty before surgery, which reduces the risk of some complications. In some cases, you can continue drinking clear fluids until two hours before surgery – your surgeon, anaesthetist or a hospital nurse will advise you about this. You should not drink alcohol or smoke for at least 24 hours before the operation, or chew gum while you are fasting.


Your doctor will tell you whether to keep taking any medicine you are on or to stop taking it in the days or weeks before surgery. If you have to take medicine while fasting, swallow it with a small mouthful of water. If you are on blood thinners, including minor ones like aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or clopidogrel, talk to your surgeon about whether you need to stop taking them.

Support person

You may want to ask a friend or family member to stay in the waiting room while you are in surgery. If you are having day surgery, you should arrange for someone to take you home when you are discharged. It’s not safe to travel alone or use public transport or a taxi, as you will still be under the effects of the anaesthetic.

What to take with you

Your treatment team will let you know what personal items to take to hospital with you and what to leave at home. For example, they may tell you to take all your current medicines with you, but suggest you leave valuables, such as jewellery, at home. You should also take your admission letter and any recent x-rays or scans with you. If you are staying in hospital after your operation, you might like to take some toiletries and nightclothes.

What time to arrive

You will be told what time to arrive at the hospital, either in the letter confirming the surgery or during a phone call from the hospital on the day before the surgery. You may have to wait for surgery, which can be stressful. It’s a good idea to take a quiet activity with you to keep you occupied and feeling calm, e.g. a book or tablet device.

You will be asked to remove nail polish, including clear polish, before surgery. Checking your fingernails during surgery is one way the anaesthetist can check the level of oxygen in your blood.

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Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
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To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
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Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

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Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
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Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.

This information was last reviewed in April 2019
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