What To Expect

What to Expect

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  1. Do not bring any valuables to the hospital.
  2. You will be required to remove all personal items before surgery. These items include dentures, glasses, hearing aids, prosthetic devices, hair pins, hairpieces, jewelry or any object that can be removed. Please leave these items at home or leave them with the person(s) accompanying you to surgery. Things can get lost very easily and are often unable to be found.
  3. Stop taking blood thinners, such as aspirin, 1-2 weeks before your surgery date. If your medical condition is such that aspirin cannot be stopped for the 2 weeks before surgery, 1 week before your surgery date is also fine. If you are on medications such as Plavix, Heparin, or Coumadin, please call the prescribing physician to ask for their instructions.
  4. Stop taking all Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory (NSAIDS) medications 3 days before surgery. This includes Motrin, Ibuprofen, Aleve, Daypro, Relafen, Celebrex, Vioxx, Advil, Naproxen or any other NSAIDS. If you are unsure if you are on an NSAID, please ask Dr. Kelley’s nurse. If you are having a spinal fusion, DO NOT take NSAIDS or aspirin products for FOUR MONTHS after surgery date unless authorized by Dr. Kelley. You can take Tylenol before surgery for pain. After surgery, be aware that Tylenol is in most pain medications. Limit your Tylenol dosage to no more than 3000 mg per 24 hours.


If you develop a cold or infection the week of the surgery, please call Dr. Kelley’s nurse. During the winter season, colds are common. In general, you do not have to cancel your surgery if you have a cold. But if you have a fever greater than or equal to 100 degrees, are coughing up blood or green sputum, we recommend that you postpone your operation and contact your medical doctor. Occasionally, patients get sick prior to their operation or, their neck symptoms resolve while awaiting surgery. In either case, surgery should be cancelled. If for any reason you have to cancel your surgery, please let us know as soon as possible. We often have patients who would like to have their surgery earlier, but if a scheduled patient cancels on the day or weekend before their operation, it may not be possible for us to arrange for another patient to take their place. While you should feel free to cancel for any emergency the night before, please call (478) 745-4206 as soon as possible, regardless of time. This allows us to contact the operating room and the other patients scheduled for that day to make the appropriate arrangements. Failure to extend us the courtesy requested above may jeopardize your ability to reschedule your operation with us.

IMPORTANT: DO NOT DRINK OR EAT ANYTHING AFTER MIDNIGHT THE NIGHT BEFORE SURGERY. This includes any pain medications that you may be taking. You may take your other medications on the morning of surgery with a sip of water.


If a medical clearance is necessary, you will need to make an appointment with your internist or family doctor. Your internist will need to fax a statement to Dr. Kelley’s office that states that you are medically stable for surgery. The medical clearance is very important and determines if you can have surgery. Please call Natasha Robertson with any questions at (478) 254-5318.