1. Donating before surgery -- Blood banks can draw your blood and store it for your use. This is most often done for a planned surgery. Blood can be stored for only a limited time, so the donation must be planned with the date of surgery in mind.
2. Donating during surgery -- This can be done in two ways. If you are interested in either of the following, make an appointment to speak to your anesthesiologist before your date of surgery.
- Right before surgery, your doctor may be able to remove some of your blood and replace it with other fluids ("hemodilution"). After surgery this blood may be returned to you.
- During surgery, the surgeon may be able to recycle your blood ("cell saver"). Blood that is normally lost and discarded may be collected, processed, and returned to you. (This may not be an option for patients with cancer, since cancer cells can be "reintroduced" in the blood.)