That Unexpected “Full Monty” Body Hair Shave

Looking back on my aortic valve replacement procedure, I remember several, distinct moments of physical and mental confusion. I might even consider that confusion as “dislocating” considering the process of having heart surgery is so foreign to regular, every-day life.

Sometimes, that dislocation evolved into fear (e.g. cardiac depression). At other times, that dislocation actually transformed into tremendous joy (e.g. taking my first shower after surgery).

Patient Body Shave Before Heart Surgery

One of my “dislocating moments” was entering the pre-operating room. I’ll never forget that final hug with my family after the nurse called my name. I’ll never forget the nervous tremors in my hands as I pushed the door open.

I’ll never forget the sounds, the tubes, the blinking lights, the quick movements, and the gurneys rolling around the pre-operating room. And… Of course, I will never forget the worried looks that draped each patient face as I passed them one by one.

I could go on-and-on-and-on about the pre-operating room. However, this blog is not intended to replay the details of that experience. Instead, I am here to give you, the patient or caregiver, an expectation.

That expectation is tightly focused on… the surgical shave.

Yes. You may not know it yet. But, most patients will have a pretty good body shave right before surgery.

I knew nothing of the surgical shave when I entered the pre-operating room that morning. Therefore, I was definitely taken aback when the nurse began the time-consuming process of removing my chest hair, my pubic hair, my leg hair, and my toe hair.

Personally, I’m not a big fan of hair. But, at the same time, I have never had a “full-monty” body shave before. That said, it would have been nice to know that the surgical shave was going to happen.

I hope my little shaving story above helps you understand a tad more of what to expect as a patient. As I’ve said before, a heart valve replacement and heart valve repair surgery is not always fun. But, the short-term pain is worth the long-term gain! 🙂

Keep on tickin!

Adam Pick
Written by Adam Pick

Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of

To learn how Adam has helped millions of people with heart valve disease, watch Adam's video, subscribe to his free newsletter, or visit his Facebook, or Twitter pages.

  • Clay

    Why didn’t they send a male nurse to shave you? I prefer death to having a perverted nurse shave my privates. I would only let a male nurse shave me if it was absolutely necessary and would NEVER let a woman anywhere near that area.

  • Greg

    Why do they need to shave your PUBIC hair for a heart valve surgery? I understand the obvious need to shave the chest. But why the pubes and legs? I think their answer would be “so no stray hairs get into the open heart cavity”. But seriously, aren’t you draped except for the heart area? How would a stray pube fall out and fall in? Doesn’t make sense. How often would that happen? Maybe one in 10,000?

  • DON

    that is total stupid to shave your entire body even down to your toes, just another nurse getting off on shaving a man’s body

  • Jay

    Preparing for any heart surgery there are many things a doctor has to consider, pre-op clipping the hair from the body is a way to prepare should a vein be needed when the chest is opened. It would waste time to do so while you are laying there in need of a vein so the legs could be clipped. In doing this all situations are covered need or not during the surgery. I hope that this answers the question for the need to have a full body clip before any heart surgery. As for not wanitng the opposite gender to do the clipping all you have to do is ask for same gender caregiver to do the clipping or shaveing.

  • Joanie

    Oh DON, such silliness. As a nurse and a patient, I’ve been on both ends of those clippers. No one is having any jollies. Please, if there is a anyone who would be uncomfortable with someone of the opposite sex doing the shaving, speak up!
    My open heart surgery when I was 16 (40 years ago) the nurses shaved me the night before. Razors and shaving cream back then, not that there was hardly much to shave. They gave me something to help me sleep and opps, they forgot the after shower shave. I had a very groggy shower being held up by two nurses.

Have A Question? Call Us at (888) 725-4311
P.O. Box 4049
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
Phone: (888) 725-4311