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Preparing for Your Surgery

We realize surgery may be a new experience for you, so we've compiled the following information to better prepare you and your support person(s) for your surgical procedure. Our goal is to make you as comfortable and as safe as possible before, during, and after your surgery. Please feel free to ask questions at any point during your stay with us. You may be asked to complete a survey after you go home; we hope you'll highly rate your experience and recommend our services to your friends and family.

How much time will I spend at the Hospital?

For some surgeries, expect to spend the better part of the day with us. Please remember that your check-in time is not the expected time of surgery; we need preparation time with you here at the hospital before your surgery. We will not delay your surgery unnecessarily; however, due to the complex nature of surgery, and due to unexpected emergency surgeries, you may experience occasional necessary delays. We will keep you and your family informed at all times, and we appreciate your understanding and patience.

Do I need tests before surgery?

Once your surgery is scheduled, your surgeon or Primary Care Provider may ask you to complete some pre-surgical testing. This may include laboratory tests, EKG/X-rays, and a medical clearance with your family physician. To proceed safely with your surgery, you'll need to complete these tests and have the results sent to your surgeon's office and the CPH surgical services unit. Fax: (315) 261-5037.

Do you need to interview me?

You will be scheduled to speak with a nurse for a telephone or in-person interview based on your individual surgical needs. You will be notified by letter or by phone when and how the interview will take place. If the time is not convenient, you may reschedule it by calling CPH Pre-Op Scheduling (315) 261-5332.

What do you need to know?

During the pre-surgical interview, we will review your medical history with you. Please have a list of your previous surgeries and all medications you currently take, as well as how often you take them, and the dose. Don't forget over-the-counter medications, vitamins, or herbal supplements/preparations. The information we gather will help us prepare for your care; you will have the opportunity to ask questions or to tell us your concerns.

How do I pre-register for my surgery?

A member of our registration team will attempt to contact you by phone to pre-register you. The caller will verify your insurance and contact information. Please have your insurance cards on hand and prepare to provide the names and phone numbers for two (2) people we can contact in case of emergency.

What do I do if no one has called to pre-register me?

If you haven't heard from a member of our registration team and your surgery is scheduled to take place within the next two days, please call registration at (315) 261-5053.

If you are not Pre-Registered the complete Registration will be done on the day of surgery by the 4th floor Registration clerk. Please remember to bring your insurance cards, a photo ID and a copy of any Advance Directives you may have.

What do I bring with me on the day of surgery?

1. Your Insurance card and driver's license/photo ID
2. List of current medication
3. Case for storing your glasses/contact lenses, dentures or hearing aids (these will be removed before surgery)
4. Court of guardianship paperwork
5. Copy of any Advance Directives you may have (e.g. Health Care Proxy, Living Will or MOLST form)
6. If you have sleep apnea and have a CPAP or BIPAP machine, please bring it with you even for day surgeries
7. Please do not bring any valuables.

What if I need to cancel my surgery?

If you need to cancel your surgery please call the surgeon's office directly. Please contact your surgeon if your condition has changed (cold, fever, rash or other illness or if there is a possibility of pregnancy).

If you need to cancel your surgery and it is over the weekend for a Monday surgery please call the hospital at (315) 265-3300 and ask for the Nursing Supervisor.

How can I arrive prepared for surgery?

1. Follow these instructions and any additional or custom instructions your surgeon/doctor gave you.
2. Do not eat solid foods after midnight the night before your scheduled procedure. No hard candy, gum, mints or cough drops.
3. Do not drink anything after midnight the night before your scheduled procedure, except for sips of water for the morning medication you were instructed to take.
4. Special considerations: If you are a diabetic or have a check-in time after 8am, you may drink water or apple juice for up to four (4) hours before your arrival time for surgery. The (4) hours prior to arriving you may only have sips of water for necessary medications.
5. Unless instructed otherwise, it is important to drink plenty of fluids to keep yourself well hydrated the day before your surgery.
6. General Anesthesia relaxes the muscle in your digestive track and airway that keep food and acid in your stomach and out of your lungs. That is why it is important to follow your physician's instructions about when to stop eating and drinking prior to surgery.
7. Use the pre-surgical chlorhexidine wipes or shower wipes or shower kit as instructed (if you were given them).
If you were not given any wipes please bathe/shower before arriving.
Please brush your teeth/perform oral hygiene prior to arriving (do not swallow any water).
Do not apply lotion.
Do not shave near or at the surgical site at home unless instructed to do so.
Leave all jewelry at home – including watches, earrings, rings piercings and accessories.
Do not wear make-up or nail polish.
Wash hands frequently with soap and warm water, and insist that caregivers do the same.
Wear loose fitting clothing or pajamas (something easy to get dressed in to go home.)
 Shirt/top with front closure for face/head/ shoulder surgery.
 Shirt/top with loose sleeves for hand or arm surgery.
 Loose pants to allow for a big bandage for knee or foot surgery.

checking patient in
How do I check-in on the day of my surgery?

View a Map of streets around Canton-Potsdam Hospital, the main entrance, and access to valet parking.


Parking is available at Canton-Potsdam Hospital in the main lot at 50 Leroy Street, Potsdam. Free valet parking is available from 6:00 AM - 3:00 PM daily.


Proceed directly to 4th floor Registration. Enter through the main doors, proceed down the ramp and turn left. Walk to the end of the hallway until you reach the closed double doors, the elevator for the 4th floor is on your right. Take the single silver elevator to the 4th floor and stop at the Registration desk facing the elevator. Even if you are pre-registered please stop at the desk to sign in and receive a name band.

Special Considerations

If you are checking in after 2:00 PM or for certain procedures needing a pre-op x-ray, you will need to stop at the Registration desk on the 1st floor at the bottom of the ramp when you enter the hospital. You will be reminded of this when you are called with your check-in time the afternoon before surgery.

Any ordered bloodwork for day of surgery will be done after you are admitted to your pre-op room on the 4th floor.

Please arrive at your scheduled check-in time. Your check-in time is not the time of your actual procedure: we will need time with you to prepare.

Review your Surgical Checklist of information.

If you need to contact us:
               Surgical Services: (315) 261-5975      FAX: (315) 261-6440
               Pre-op/surgery area: (315) 261-5332      FAX: (315) 261-5037  
               Pre-registration: (315) 261-5053
               Hospital Switchboard: (315) 265-3300