The Day of Your Surgery

Please follow these instructions to help our team provide all patients with quality and efficient medical care in a safe, comfortable, and convenient environment.

  • No solid food or beverages (like orange juice, grapefruit juice, liquid with pulp, or coffee with cream) after midnight the day of surgery.
  • No gum, candy, or mints of any kind are permitted.
  • Do not drink alcohol 24 hours prior to your surgery. Avoid smoking and tobacco after midnight.
  • If you take high blood pressure, seizure, breathing, heart condition or thyroid medication, it’s recommended that you take your regular dose with as little water as possible, unless otherwise instructed by your surgeon.
  • Arrive at the time instructed by the pre-op nurse or your surgeon, which is usually 2 hours before the scheduled operation. Be prompt to allow necessary time for your admission process.
  • Bring any appropriate insurance cards, co-pays, or forms. Please bring any laboratory results, medical records, or forms given to you by the physician. In addition, if you were given a pre-operative packet, please bring that with you as well.
  • All jewelry (rings, earrings, body piercings) must be removed prior to going into the operating room. Please do not bring any valuables (jewelry, excessive amounts of cash, or credit cards). You should be prepared to leave these items with whomever accompanies you to the surgery center.
  • If you wear glasses, contact lenses, or dentures, they must be removed prior to your surgery. Please bring a case to safely store these items.
  • Wear comfortable, casual clothing on the day of your surgery. Clothing should allow you to easily dress or undress.
  • Please, no make up (cosmetics), aerosol sprays, perfumes, or skin creams. Deodorant is acceptable.
  • If you are being admitted to the hospital following surgery, bring a small bag containing pajamas, robe, slippers and toiletries.


  • Staff will greet you, help you check in and give you an identification bracelet.
  • You will sign a surgery consent form (and other forms) if you have not done so already.
  • You will need to remove any makeup, nail polish and lipstick. Surgical staff need to see your natural coloring to assess and monitor any changes


  • A nurse will take you to the surgical preparation area, where your blood pressure and temperature are taken.
  • The nurse will review your medical history and have you change into a hospital gown.
  • If necessary, a small catheter will be inserted into one of your veins to maintain fluid balance during the procedure and to administer medications.
  • If necessary, staff will wash the incision area and shave body hair needing removal.

Meeting Your Anesthesiologist

Be sure to tell your anesthesiologist (or nurse anesthetist) about any past problems you have experienced with any type of anesthetic.

After reviewing your test results and speaking with your surgeon, your anesthesiologist will speak with you before surgery and ask important questions. The anesthesiologist will explain the anesthesia type or local anesthetic you will be receiving, how it is administered and the risks.

Your anesthesiologist is a credentialed medical staff member and is committed to providing patients with quality, comfort and exceptional surgical services.


You will be taken to the pre-surgical area for final preparations. Your family will be directed to the waiting area and a spokesperson will be appointed to relay information. Your spokesperson should keep the waiting area staff informed of his/her location when leaving the waiting area.

Operating and Recovery Room

The operating room (OR) is staffed with professionals, led by your surgeon, trained to provide a safe and sterile environment. The OR can be cold and blankets are available. Expect bright lights overhead.

Please be sure to follow all preoperative instructions.

Arriving at Sentara RMH

Depending on the procedure you're having, you'll need to enter Sentara RMH either at the Outpatient Center or through the main hospital entrance. You will be told which entrance to use during your pre-operative interview. If arriving through the Outpatient Center, the person who escorts you to the hospital may let you out at the Outpatient Center entrance and park in Lot G. You'll need to check in at the registration desk. If arriving through the main hospital entrance, your escort may drop you off at the entrance and park in Lot A. You'll need to check in at the registration desk.

The day of your surgery, please:

  • Review your preoperative instructions for the medications you need to take. Take your medications on the morning of your procedure as directed by your doctor or nurse with just enough water to swallow.
  • Bring your insurance and prescription cards with you. You may also want to bring money for prescription co-payment if you plan to have your prescriptions filled while you are here.
  • Bring any special medical equipment from home that you may need (i.e. CPAP mask, crutches, walker).
  • Bathe or shower before you leave home. Depending on the procedure, some patients will be given a special antibacterial soap by their surgeon.
  • Brush your teeth without swallowing water.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing and flat shoes.
  • Bring your glasses and/or contact lenses case.
  • Remove all jewelry before arriving at the hospital, including wedding rings, hair clips, pins and all body piercings.
  • Please remove makeup, including lipstick, and nail polish prior to arrival.
  • Do not bring a large suitcase, jewelry or valuables of any kind such as money, credit cards, etc. You may want to have your family member carry any cash necessary for prescriptions, if you plan to get them filled at the hospital.
  • Bring your "Preparing for your Surgery" folder with you.

In the preoperative area, you will:

  • Change into a hospital gown and cap. We will supply you with a plastic bag for your clothes. Your family will need to be responsible for your belongings.
  • Speak with a nurse who will check your vital signs and review your medical history.
  • Have an intravenous line (IV) started so we can give you fluid and medications during and after your operation.
  • Be taken from the preoperative area to the operating room on a stretcher or bed by an operating room transporter. Please let your pre-op nurse know of any special needs. Your family will receive instructions on where to wait while you are in surgery.

Anesthesia Care

Prior to surgery, you will talk with the anesthesiologist who will be caring for you during surgery. The anesthesiologist will discuss the anesthetic plan with you and answer any questions you have.