Pre-Operative Information & Instructions

Here at St. Louis Surgical Consultants, we believe that well informed patients make the best surgical patients. Please use the information below to help supplement what was discussed in our office. If at any point you have questions or concerns, be sure to reach out to our surgery schedulers and clinical staff to help answer questions and put your mind at ease.

Please Review all of the following:


Surgery Information Sheet – this is a paper given to you in our office (or mailed if scheduling by phone) by your Surgery Scheduler. It has the date and times of your surgery, along with important information about medications and where to go. Be sure to double check if there are medications you should be stopping a few days before surgery.


Operation Brochure – we have numerous surgery specific brochures from both the American College of Surgeons and the Society for Vascular Surgery listed in the side panel of this page. If one of these applies to you we strongly encourage you to review it. These discuss the surgery itself and appropriate expectations for you to have, along with outlining possible risks. We have found that these brochures help to answer a great number of questions you may have and some questions you didn’t know you had!


Explore this Website – each surgical category has its own page – General/Breast, Colorectal, and Vascular. These pages contain additional information you may find helpful, including instructional videos that show how to empty a drain and care for a wound.


Notify your entire Health Care Team & Insurance about your upcoming surgery – it is important that you notify your Primary Care Provider and any specialists (cardiologist, endocrinologist, pulmonologist, nephrologist) you may see about your upcoming surgery in case they want to see you beforehand or give you specific instructions. These specialists are more involved in your day to day care then we are and need to be kept in the loop.

We accept a wide variety of insurance plans, but not all. Call the number on the back of your insurance card to be sure that we are in-network with your specific plan and any deductibles you may have. St. Louis Surgical Consultants, while associated with St. Luke’s Episcopal Presbyterian Hospital, is a privately owned practice and may not accept the same insurance plans as the hospital, anesthesiologist, or pathologist.

What to Expect

  • Pain – Everyone’s pain tolerance is different.  You may be very sore for a few days to a few weeks following your surgery.  Each day will get better. However, you may not feel 100% improved for 6-8 weeks after surgery, depending on your surgery.
    • Those having an open procedure may experience more pain than those having a laparoscopic procedure due to the size of your incision(s).
    • If your surgery is laparoscopic, you may experience shoulder pain from retained gas.
  • Bowel Movements – It is not unusual to go a day or two without having a bowel movement after your surgery. However, it is not acceptable to go more than a few days without a bowel movement.
    • Refer to our “Preventing Post-Op Constipation” (link) sheet for instructions to follow immediately after your surgery.
    • If you are having bowel surgery, you will be given different expectations.
  • Drainage – Your incision(s) may drain.
    • Clear to light pink/red drainage is normal a few days after surgery. If the area is constantly wet notify our office.
      • Apply a loose dressing or band aid to stop any drainage from soiling clothing. Change often to prevent the surrounding skin from being too wet for too long.
  • Fatigue – You may feel tired after surgery for several weeks. You should plan on about 85% improvement by the end of your first week or 2; however, you might not feel 100% for 6 weeks after surgery. Continue to be active, but allow time to rest.
  • Activity – We recommend that you move as much as possible. You will be sore and tired, but getting up and being active will aid in your recovery. We do not recommend doing any strenuous activity immediately following surgery and many of the surgeries we preform have a lifting restriction to help prevent re-injury.
  • Swelling – You may turn black and blue (bruise) around your incision and surrounding tissue. Gravity will push the bruising down as it resolves. The same area may also become swollen.

Nutrition before Surgery

Your surgeon wants you to recover well from your upcoming surgery. Good nutrition will help get your body ready for surgery, heal better after surgery, and fight infection, too. Eating enough calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals will all help speed your recovery. Here are some general tips to get your body in good nutritional shape before surgery:

Eating to Heal

  • Eat foods that will help your body heal. Good choices are protein-rich foods, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products.
  • Eat at least three times a day. Don’t skip meals.
  • Include protein-rich foods with each meal. Some healthy choices are lean meat, fish, poultry, beans, eggs, cheese, nuts, tofu, milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, and protein drinks.
  • Drink at least 6 to 8 eight-ounce cups of fluid each day to stay well hydrated.
  • Add a daily protein drink if you cannot eat enough food.

Quit Smoking

Smoking increases the risk for many problems after your operation. It can:

  • Make it hard for you to breathe
  • Make an infection in your wound (incision) more likely
  • Increase your chance of having a heart attack

Ask your surgeon about how to quit smoking. Quitting will not only reduce these risks, it will also improve your overall health and even add years to your life.


  • Become an Ex
  • Freedom from Smoking
  • 1-800-Quit-Now
    Quitline is a quit smoking coaching service available through the toll free telephone number, 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). Quitlines are staffed by counselors trained to help smokers quit. These counselors, who are much like coaches, provide you with lots of helpful information, advice, and support. No matter who you are, if you are looking to quit tobacco, these guys can help.