What you need to pack in your “hospital bag” (or “recovery bag” if you’re staying at a recovery center) will depend on where you get your surgery, where you will be recovering, what surgery you are getting, and the duration of your stay. You may feel the need to pack everything, but the trick is to stick to items you absolutely need. Then if you have room, add in a few items that may make your stay more comfortable.
General items for the day of your surgery
- ID, registration forms, insurance card.
- Credit card to pay for your service.
- Medications (and their instructions!).
- Chapstick (lips can get dry during surgery).
- Mini deodorant (for after your surgery unless you are getting surgery around your armpits).
- Mini hairbrush and hair ties or a headband (to keep your hair back).
- Eyeglasses or contact lenses/contact solution (if applicable).
- Comfortable going home outfit, which may be the same as what you came in (loose shirt, zip-up sweatshirt, loose pants, and slip-on shoes).
- A fresh pair of underwear (you may have to remove yours during surgery).
- Phone and phone charger.
- Headphones (for entertainment during any waiting periods).
- Pen and paper for taking aftercare notes (or you can take them on your phone’s notes app).
Additional items for overnight stays
- Toothbrush/toothpaste (mouth can get dry during surgery).
- Face wash, soap, lotion, and whatever else it takes to make you feel fresh again after surgery that your surgeon allows (the hospital often provides these, but you can bring some of your favorites if you have them).
- A reusable water bottle (to stay hydrated).
- Clean underwear for the duration of your stay.
- A robe (for taking short walks).
- Comfy socks or slippers.
- Slip-on shoes (it may be difficult to bend down).
- Comfortable going home outfit (loose shirt, zip-up sweatshirt, loose pants).
Nice-to-haves for overnight stays
- Mini dry shampoo (you may not be able to shower for a while).
- Makeup essentials like lip gloss & mascara (if you received a facial procedure, ask your surgeon about how soon you can apply makeup as you may want to wait a bit).
- Ipad or computer to watch movies (you may need to check with the hospital or facility on what they allow).
- Books or magazines.
- Healthy snacks (especially if you’re a picky eater and don’t want to get stuck eating hospital food).
- Pillow with a non-white pillowcase (if you want to have the comforts of home).
- A small blanket (if you want to have the comforts of home).
- A small hand towel (if you don’t want to use the one the hospital provides).