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If the surgery involves the digestive system, the patient may be instructed to perform a bowel prep by drinking a solution of polyethylene glycol the night before the procedure.

Patients are also instructed to abstain from food or drink (an NPO order after midnight on the night before the procedure), to minimize the effect of stomach contents on pre-operative medications and reduce the risk of aspiration if the patient vomits during or after the procedure.

Based on the procedure, anesthesia may be provided locally or as general anesthesia.

Spinal anesthesia may be used when the surgical site is too large or deep for a local block, but general anesthesia may not be desirable.

In fact, medical specialty professional organizations recommend against routine pre-operative chest x-rays for patients who have an unremarkable medical history and presented with a physical exam which did not indicate a chest x-ray.

The environment and procedures used in surgery are governed by the principles of aseptic technique: the strict separation of "sterile" (free of microorganisms) things from "unsterile" or "contaminated" things.If these results are satisfactory, the patient signs a consent form and is given a surgical clearance.If the procedure is expected to result in significant blood loss, an autologous blood donation may be made some weeks prior to surgery.Surgery usually spans minutes to hours, but it is typically not an ongoing or periodic type of treatment.The term "surgery" can also refer to the place where surgery is performed, or simply the office of a physician, dentist, or veterinarian.

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