Preparing for Your Surgery

Before Your Surgery

Call your surgeon if you have any feeling of illness that comes up (cold, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, fever or flu). It is important that you promptly notify your doctor as you need to be as healthy as possible before surgery.

Ask about medications

  • Inform your surgeon of any medications you are currently taking.
  • When the Pre-Anesthesia Surgical Services (PASS) nurse calls to discuss your medical history, review your list of medications for instructions of which ones to take on your day of surgery.
  • Take only those medications prescribed by your doctor and verified by your surgeon with a sip of water on the morning of your surgery. If you use an inhaler, it is a good idea to bring your inhalers with you on the day of surgery.

Expect a call 1–7 days before surgery

  • A PASS nurse will call to review your medical history and provide important information to help you prepare for anesthesia and surgery. The nurse will also confirm your surgery time. This is a good time to ask specific questions that you may have prior to your surgery.

Pre-Admission Tests

You may need to have routine pre-admission tests before surgery to advise your physician of your general state of health. Tests may include lab work, radiology testing or an EKG.

  • Your surgeon may ask you to visit your primary care physician or a specialist to obtain a medical/preoperative clearance.
  • Tests must be completed 3–10 business days prior to your surgery date. This gives your medical team time to review the test results and prevents delays in your surgical schedule.
  • Bring your health insurance card and pre-admission testing orders at the time of scheduled tests.
  • Bring a list of your medications, including medication name, dosage amount and frequency.
  • If your pre-admission testing is not performed at a Sentara facility or if your physician’s office performs these tests, the results must be sent in writing to the hospital (either by mail or fax) no later than 48 hours before surgery.

Night Before Your Surgery

Your surgeon will provide detailed instructions. In general, follow these guidelines:

  • Eat a light dinner.
  • Do not eat solid food after 12 midnight.
  • Do not drink any fluids, chew gum or have mints after midnight, unless your surgeon instructs otherwise.
  • Do not smoke or drink alcoholic beverages for 24 hours before your surgery.
  • Do not swallow any water when brushing your teeth the morning of surgery.

Family and Companion Information

You will need an adult to escort you to and from the hospital on the day of your surgery. If possible, this person should also accompany you to the preoperative interview so he or she can be included in all instructions given. This person will be responsible for your valuables, clothing and for taking you home after you are discharged. For your safety, you will not be admitted to or discharged from outpatient surgery without an adult as your escort. If you are going home the day of the surgery, please arrange for someone to stay with you during the first 24 hours after your surgery. At the time of your interview, you will designate persons with whom we may discuss medical information.

For Your Safety

Please follow these three critical rules which will ensure your comfort and safety. Your surgery may be canceled or delayed if these instructions are not followed.

  • Do not eat solid food and do not drink any liquid after midnight the night before your surgery unless otherwise instructed to do so by your anesthesiologist.
  • You must arrange for someone to take you home after your surgery. There will be no exceptions to this rule. Outpatient surgery cannot be performed without responsible adult transportation to take you home. A cab or bus will not be acceptable. Please arrange for someone to be with you for at least 24 hours after the surgery.
  • A legal guardian must accompany minors and must be physically present in the facility from admission to discharge.