Before Surgery

Food, Drink and Medications

To avoid problems, it is important to have an empty stomach during surgery. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your surgery. This includes water, gum and candy. You should not smoke or drink alcohol for at least 24 hours before your surgery. The only exception might be taking medicines with a sip of water the morning of surgery, but only if your doctor has instructed you to do so. Doing any of these things could possibly lead to a delay or cancellation of your surgery per Anesthesia.

CHG Shower and Sleep

Your body needs to be thoroughly washed with a special soap called ChlorHexidine Gluconate (CHG or HIbiclens) before surgery. This is because all humans have germs on their skin that may cause an infection after surgery. Taking two showers (one at night and one in the morning) with CHG soap removes germs and reduces the risk of infection.

Your doctor’s office will give you the CHG soap and showering instructions. If you did not receive the CHG soap from your doctor, you can pick up the CHG soap from your pharmacy – Hibiclens or the generic brand is acceptable. Remove your nail polish. Do not shave, was or use hair product removal products near the surgical site, as this can make it easier to develop an infection. Do not use lotions, moisturizers, deodorant, powder, cologne or make up after showering with the CHG soap. Be sure to put clean sheets on your bed before you go to sleep and sleep in clean, loose-fitting clothes after your shower.

Day of Surgery

Getting Ready

On the day of surgery, take a second shower with the CHG soap and follow the same instructions. Do not apply makeup, lotions or powders. Wear clean, loose-fitting, comfortably warm clothing to the hospital. Remove any jewelry and any body piercing jewelry. If you wear contact lenses, bring you lens case and your glasses with you. Bring your driver’s license or picture ID and insurance card. For your safety and comfort, please make sure your hairstyle (such as thick braids) does not prevent your head from being able to lie flat on the stretcher.


Please understand that the hospital cannot be responsible for your jewelry and other valuables. Leave them at home or give them to a family member to hold until after your procedure.

Labor & Delivery Arrival

At the hospital, you will change into a hospital gown. Tell the nurse whether you took the two special showers as you were instructed and talk to her about how you will be kept warm during and after surgery. Speak up if you have any concerns.

Be ready to tell the doctor and nurse the following information:

  • If you have diabetes or a family history of diabetes
  • Medications you normally take (It’s best to bring a written list with you, so leave your medicine bottles at home)
  • Medications your doctor said to take with a sip of water that morning and whether you did so
  • If you have any allergies
  • If you or anyone in your family has had a reaction to anesthesia

Showering Procedure the Night Before & the Morning of Surgery

  • In the shower, wash your body with regular soap and water first. Wash your hair as usual with your normal shampoo.
  • Rinse your hair and body thoroughly to remove any soap and shampoo residue.
  • The night before surgery: Turn the water off to prevent rinsing the soap off too soon. Apply 2 ounces or half the bottle of CHG soap with your hand or a nylon bath sponge to your entire body ONLY FROM THE NECK DOWN – DO NOT USE ON BREASTS.
    • Do NOT use CHG near the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, head or genital area.
    • Do not continue to use the CHG soap if you have itching, burning, or develop a rash.
    • Do not dilute the soap solution.
  • Wash your body gently with the CHG soap for five minutes, paying special attention to the area where your surgery will be performed.
    • Do NOT scrub the skin too hard.
    • Do not wash with regular soap after the CHG is used.
  • Turn the water back on and rinse your body thoroughly.
  • Pat yourself dry with a clean, soft towel.
  • DO NOT apply lotion after your CHG shower as this can attract bacteria.
  • Do not touch pets.
  • The morning of surgery: Repeat steps 3-8; DO NOT take a regular shower and DO NOT shampoo your hair.

Contact Us


Thank you for contacting Memorial Hermann. We have received your inquiry, and a team member will contact you soon.

If you need more immediate assistance, please call us at (713) 222-CARE.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.