What to Do Before Surgery

Contact your neurosurgeon’s office with any changes in your health condition. It is important to do this as soon as possible to allow your surgeon time to evaluate the changes and how they may affect your surgery.

Choose Your Support Person

It is very beneficial to have someone available to support you after your spine surgery. Your support person can be anyone you choose that will encourage you during your healing journey, help support your efforts as you increasingly make improvements and act as your cheerleader during the recovery process.

Your support person should be someone who is available to assist you after you leave the hospital with a variety of tasks. These tasks will vary depending on the type of surgery you have as well as your current level of functioning. As a result, your support person may need to assist you with dressing, bathing, getting in and out of bed, preparing meals, changing linens and other duties as needed following your procedure.

The in-person and online Spine Camp educational offerings from MyMichigan Health will help educate you and your support person as to your at home needs following surgery. If you do not have anyone available to offer support following your surgical procedure, please let your neurosurgeon’s office know.

Complete Pre-Surgery Testing and Appointments

We want to make sure you are at optimal health before your surgery and may ask that you participate in some form of pre-surgical testing. These tests often include blood and urine samples as well as having an EKG (electrocardiogram) or a cardiac clearance appointment. We often offer nutritional and/or medical education classes, in addition to diabetic services, pre-habilitation (PT/OT) appointments, and smoking cessation support. You will be instructed by your neurosurgeon’s office and/ or receive a call from one of our MyMichigan Health nurses to schedule these appointments if they are needed.

It is very important that you make sure you have completed all pre-procedure testing that has been ordered by your surgeon’s office. If these pre-surgical tests are not completed, they could delay or cause your surgery to be canceled.

Quit Smoking

It is the recommendation of our neurosurgical team that you quit smoking prior to any neurosurgical procedure. Smoking interferes with all phases of wound healing, including bone healing and fusion. It also decreases the ability of the cells to kill bacteria and fight infection. Having a wound infection increases the average hospital stay by 2 to 4 days. Quitting 4 weeks before a surgical procedure reduces postoperative complications by 20 – 30%. You must quit smoking, including marijuana and vaping for at least 48 hours before your surgery.

For help to quit smoking, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit www.smokefree.gov/build-your-quit-plan

Make Hotel Arrangements

  • Baymont - 2200 W. Wackerly Street, Midland Michigan 48640 • Phone (989) 631-0070
    • Provides hospitality services, one room up to three nights for $35 per night. Free breakfast and free transportation within the city of Midland.
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites - 506 E. Buttles Street, Midland, Michigan 48640 • Phone (989) 631-7100
  • Hampton Inn - 6701 Eastman Avenue, Midland Michigan 48642 • Phone (989) 837-4000
  • Holiday Inn - 810 Cinema Drive, Midland Michigan 48642 • Phone (989) 794-8500

48 Hours Before Your Arrival Time

Do not drink alcohol (beer, wine or liquor) or use recreational drugs (marijuana, cocaine, heroin, etc.) for at least 48 hours before your surgery.


These steps are important to help reduce the chance of infection.

Shower with the first new mini bar of antibacterial soap provided to you in your pre-surgical packet. If you were not given soap, shower with a new bar of antibacterial soap (like Dial). You may use liquid antibacterial soap if preferred. Make sure to wash the surgical site area first before using the bar of soap on the remaining areas of your body. (Do not share this bar of soap or reuse on pre-surgical site after 1 use. It may be disposed of, and/or used elsewhere on the body).

  • Cervical surgeries - Wash throat area, between jawline and clavicles, behind the ears, back of neck, and tops of shoulders down.
  • Lumbar surgeries - Wash mid-back down, covering the front and side of hips and below.
  • Thoracic surgeries - Wash from back of neck down to hip line covering the entire back.

What to Bring to the Hospital

✅ Slip on shoes that are comfortable and allow you to walk safely

✅ Pajamas/jogging suit that do not button or zip up the front

✅ Personal hygiene items (toothbrush, deodorant, razor, etc.)

✅ Cane or walker that you are using at home

✅ Actual medications that you are currently taking

✅ Your insurance card

✅ This educational booklet

✅ A responsible adult to be in charge of any valuables and to talk to the surgeon after surgery

✅ If you are going home the same day as your surgery, have someone available to be with you to listen to discharge instructions and drive you home.

✅ Chapstick and hard candies are often helpful AFTER surgery

✅ Cell phones are allowed on our unit and in your room (hospital has free WiFi). You may want to bring your phone charger.

What You Should Leave at Home

❌ Jewelry

❌ Large amounts of money

❌ Electrical items (You may bring battery operated items.)

❌ Personal valuables

MyMichigan Health is not liable for lost or stolen personal valuables or cell phones.

Night Before Surgery


  • Shower again, using the second mini bar of antibacterial soap provided to you in your pre-surgical packet. To prevent infection, it is important to use a new, clean bar of soap for each shower. Do not reuse the bar from your previous shower or share soap with other people.
  • Pack an overnight bag with a clean change of clothes, underwear, and any toiletry items you may need.
  • Sleep in fresh clean sheets (do not sleep with your pet, this helps prevent infection).

8 Hours Before Your Arrival Time

Do not eat anything. Only drink clear liquids (see approved lists below).

  • Clear Liquids Approved to Drink:

✅ Coffee or tea with no dairy or creamers

✅ Water or flavored water

✅ Fruit juices like apple juice white grape juice, lemonade or orange juice without pulp

✅ Gatorade that is not red or purple

✅ Powerade that is not red or purple

✅ Ensure Pre-Surgery Clear

✅ Soft drinks like ginger ale, cola, Sprite, 7-Up, that are not red or purple

✅ Chicken or beef bouillon or broth (low sodium, fat free)

✅ Plain Jell-O that is not red or purple

  • Do Not Drink:

❌ Milk or other dairy items

❌ Coffee or tea with milk or dairy

❌ Protein drinks

❌ Drinks that contain alcohol

❌ Drinks that are red or purple

❌ Drinks that have pulp

Morning of Surgery


Morning of your surgery you will shower again, using the third mini bar of antibacterial soap provided to you in your pre-surgical packet. It is important that you do not share or reuse this bar of soap for infection prevention purposes.

  • Please do not use or have the following:

❌ Body lotion

❌ Contact lenses

❌ Creams

❌ Deodorants

❌ False eyelashes

❌ Hair extensions with metal clips including bobby pins

❌ Jewelry or piercings in place

❌ Makeup

❌ Nail polish on hands or feet

❌ Powders

  • You may brush your teeth and use mouthwash the day of the surgery.
  • Please do not chew gum, suck on candies or mints, or take any antacid tablets 8 hours prior to your surgery. This could cause your surgery to be canceled.
  • Do not use denture cream or adhesive powder the day of your surgery.
  • Wear clean, comfortable, loose fitting clothing.

3 Hours Before Your Arrival Time

Do not eat anything.
  • Non-diabetic patients - Drink only the 10 oz. serving Ensure Pre-Surgery Clear at this time. (If the Ensure Pre-Surgery Clear drink is unavailable for any reason you may substitute a 12 oz. serving of 100% White Grape Juice, No Added Sugar. Only choose 1 option, not both)
  • Diabetic patients - Drink only the 12 oz. serving of 100% White Grape Juice, No Added Sugar.

After finishing the approved drink, do not consume any additional liquids until after your surgery has been completed.

2 Hours Before Your Arrival Time

  • Do not eat anything in the 2 hours before your arrival time.
  • Do not drink anything in the 2 hours before your arrival time.

Failure to follow these instructions will result in the CANCELLATION of your surgery.

Ask Your Doctor

If you are experiencing back or neck symptoms such as pain, weakness, numbness or limited range of motion that do not resolve with rest and modification of your activities, ask your doctor for a referral to MyMichigan's WellSpine program.