Blood conservation is based on the principle of avoiding allogeneic blood transfusion with the aim of improving outcome and protecting patients' rights. Surgical patients receive a significant proportion of the allogeneic blood transfused in the hospital. Blood conservation in surgery greatly reduces overall allogeneic blood use, thereby reducing costs, hazards, and adverse outcomes. Blood conservation techniques aim to lower the "transfusion trigger," optimize the hematocrit, minimize blood loss, and optimize tissue oxygenation. Successful blood conservation involves a combination of techniques tailored to the individual patient. It requires planning and a multidisciplinary team approach but usually little technology. Bloodless medicine and surgery programs represent the gold standard in blood conservation. Blood conservation is evidence based, and it results in faster recovery, lower morbidity, lower mortality, shorter hospital stay, lower cost, and better patient (and physician) satisfaction while avoiding the hazards of allogeneic blood transfusion. Blood conservation is thus the current standard of care.