This section provides information that will help you prepare for your upcoming medical procedure.

Please read this information before your surgery so you will be knowledgeable and informed about your upcoming procedure. In addition, members of the team are available to assist you with any concerns or questions that you might have. We are committed to making your stay as comfortable as possible.

Preparing for Surgery

When your surgery is scheduled, there are several steps you can take to prepare:

  • Walk as much as possible in the days before your surgery to maintain the best possible conditioning.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet. If you are having difficulty maintaining adequate nutrition because of swallowing difficulties, this will be discussed before your surgery. Sometimes nutritional supplements are recommended. Your surgeon may discuss placement of a feeding tube at the time of your surgery. This will be used in the period following your surgery to supplement your nutrition. That means you will eat by mouth when you can and you will receive additional nutrition through the tube.
  • If you drink alcohol on a regular basis, please tell us. Stop or limit consumption as much as possible.
  • Please tell us about all prescribed and over-the-counter medications—as well as supplements and/or herbal remedies—you take. We’ll tell you if there are any medications or supplements that you should stop taking.
  • If you take one aspirin each day for your heart, you may continue this. Otherwise stop taking all aspirin or aspirin-containing products and non-steroidal medications (such as ibuprofen, Advil, Naproxen) a week to 10 days before your surgery. You may take acetaminophen (Tylenol) as prescribed prior to surgery.
  • If you take warfarin (Coumadin) or clopidogrel (Plavix), please tell us. We will give you special instructions about taking these medications.
  • If you take corticosteroid medication (such as prednisone), please tell us.
  • In the week before your surgery, let us know if you develop a respiratory infection, a cold, a new cough, fever or flu-like symptoms.
  • If you have asthma or emphysema and experience increased symptoms the week before your surgery, please tell us.

The Day of Surgery

  • In some cases, you will be admitted to the hospital the day before your surgery. This is so antibiotics can be given and so bowel preparation can be completed. Bowel preparation involves drinking a solution that will empty your bowel before the surgery.
  • You will be called before the scheduled day of admission and given information about where to go and what time to arrive.
  • Please bring a list of your current medications and dosages to the hospital.
  • While you are in the hospital, all medications are prescribed by your health care providers and given under the supervision of professionals. Please do not take any medication on your own (either prescribed or over-the-counter) while you are in the hospital. If you have any questions regarding your medications, please speak with a member of your health care team.
  • You will not eat or drink anything after midnight prior to your surgery. Because you will be receiving anesthesia, it is for your safety that we ask you to have an empty stomach.
  • Wear comfortable clothes. Please bring your insurance cards or forms, including any Medicare or Medicaid information. You may bring toiletry items, although the hospital does supply toothbrushes, toothpaste and other toiletry items. Our regulations prohibit the use of personal plug-in items such as hairdryers and electric razors.
  • Do not bring valuables such as jewelry, credit cards or large amounts of cash. Your family or friends may bring additional clothing in the days after surgery.
  • Do not wear make-up, fingernail polish or toenail polish.

Arriving at the Hospital

  • Parking for the hospital is available in the parking garage at 710 Albany Street. Valet parking is also available. When you arrive at the hospital, enter through the main lobby of the Moakley Building at 830 Harrison Ave and proceed to the second floor. Please call 617.638.5600 if you have any questions or concerns.
  • You might want to bring reading material with you, in case there is a wait.

During Your Surgery

  • Remember that esophageal surgery is a complex operation and will take several hours.
  • Family members and loved ones may wait in the Family Waiting Room.
    • There are telephones and televisions in the waiting room.
    • A liaison nurse makes regular rounds to answer any questions or concerns.
    • The cafeteria is on the second floor of the Yawkey building, and the gift shop is in the main lobby of the Menino Pavilion.
  • Reading materials or music players may help to pass the time. Cell phones may be used throughout Boston Medical Center with the exception of patient rooms and procedure areas.
  • Your surgeon or a member of the surgery team will speak with your family members and loved ones as soon as possible following your surgery. Please designate one person to be your family spokesperson. We will call that person to communicate information and that person should be the one to call us with questions and concerns.