Pre and Post Instructions for Surgery Patients | MedStar Health

Surgery Instructions — MedStar Surgery Center

Surgery Instructions — MedStar Surgery Center

Before your surgery

What can I expect from a surgery center?

  • Our surgery center is designed exclusively for outpatient surgery and procedures
  • A highly skilled team, trained in surgical and recovery care, supports your physician
  • Our surgical suites and facility are equipped with the same technical equipment typically found in a hospital operating room
  • The standards of care required by Medicare and the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care are strictly enforced

Will MSC contact me before my surgery, or procedure?

Yes, a member of our clinical staff will try to contact you by telephone before the day of your procedure to confirm your appointment, complete a questionnaire about your medical history, and answer any questions you may have. Please complete the pre-operative assessment questionnaire online. This will help your registration process be more efficient. Additionally, we ask that you review the day-of-surgery instructions. A business office associate will also contact you to inform you of any deductibles or co-payments or any other financial obligations required on the day of your procedure. We encourage you to call our staff at 202-223-9040, if you have any questions or need additional information.

Day of surgery

What should I bring with me on the day of my procedure?

  • Picture ID, such as a driver's license
  • Insurance card
  • Any financial payments, if applicable
  • Any paperwork your physicians may have given you to bring for your procedure, such as lab test reports, electrocardiograms (EKG), or X-rays
  • Please bring a list of your current medications and dosages — both prescriptions and over the counter — or bring the medications themselves. If you take blood thinners, it is important that you contact your physician for instructions on how to take these medications before your surgery
  • You will be asked to remove your glasses or contact lenses. Please bring an appropriate case

What do I need to know about the day of my surgery or procedure?

  • Careful attention to the following instructions will help ensure your comfort and reduce the possibility of complications and/or cancellation.
  • We are located in Building 2 at 1133 21st Street NW, 10 Floor, Washington, D.C., 20036. Parking is available in this building and is accessible at the 21st Street entrance
  • Please arrive 1 ½ hours prior to surgery time to allow time for preparation
  • You must be accompanied by a responsible adult to assist you with transportation needs upon discharge from the surgery center. Your responsible party must remain at the facility during the length of your stay, or your procedure will be subject to cancellation. For your safety, the responsible adult should stay with you for the first 24 hours after surgery
  • Do not eat or drink anything, including water, breath mints, hard candy or chewing gum, after midnight on the day of your procedure, unless instructed differently by your physician or anesthesiologist
  • Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing. Leave valuables such as jewelry, large amounts of cash and electronic devices such as laptops and cellular phones, at home
  • If you take medicines to control your blood pressure, seizures, thyroid disease or reflux (GERD), you should take them on the morning of your procedure with a small sip of water only. Discuss with your physician whether any other medications should be taken. This is especially important if you take insulin, since the dose is usually modified on the day of the procedure. If you take blood thinners it is important that you contact your physician for instructions on possibly holding these medications
  • Please check your sugar, if diabetic. If elevated, please call before coming in
  • Bathe or shower on the morning of your procedure. This will help you feel refreshed and reduce the risk of infection
  • You may brush your teeth, but be careful not to swallow the water
  • Limit the number of people who accompany you in order that we may maximize the comfort of everyone in the center. Children are not allowed unattended in the patient waiting room. Your procedure will be rescheduled if the child(ren) is/are left unattended
  • If you experience any health changes or suspect that you may be pregnant since your last visit with your doctor, please notify your physician. This includes even minor changes such as an elevated temperature, cold or cough
  • If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to ask either your physician or our staff

What should I expect when I arrive at MSC?

On the day of your procedure, you should arrive at least 1 ½ hours before the procedure is scheduled to allow time for preparation. You will be asked to complete the necessary paperwork to include the signing of a consent form, which gives your physician and MSC permission to care for you. If the patient is a child or minor, the parent or legal guardian must sign the form. If you have a Power of Attorney/Advance Directive, please bring it to the center in the unforeseen event of a transfer to another facility. It is important that you are aware that MedStar Surgery Center will initiate life sustaining efforts on all patients at the Center following the Code Blue Resuscitation policy and procedure. The patient will be transferred to an acute care facility for follow-up care where their Advance Directive will be honored. Upon request, we will provide you with contact information and forms to assist in writing an Advance Directive.

After your surgery or procedure

What happens right after the procedure?

You will be moved to our Post-Anesthesia Care Unit, where you will remain under close observation by the anesthesia provider and our nurses until you meet discharge criteria. Please let the nurses know if you need any medications, assistance, or have special concerns.

How will I feel?

Each person responds differently to surgery and/or anesthesia. We will do our best to keep you feeling comfortable.

What specific home care instructions should I follow?

Written instructions will be given to you before leaving MSC regarding your diet, activity, follow-up appointment and medication. Be sure to contact your physician if you have any questions.

What should I do when I get home?

In addition to following the instructions you have been given, we suggest that you rest for 24 hours after surgery. Since it is normal to feel drowsy after anesthesia, we recommend you postpone the following:

  • Driving and operating equipment
  • Signing important papers
  • Making significant decisions
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages or taking medications or drugs without your physician's approval 

When can I resume regular activities?

You may return to normal activity as instructed by your physician.

What should I do if I have a problem, question, or concern?

If you have routine questions or concerns during regular business hours, you may call us at 202-223-9040.

Emergency information

If you feel you have an emergency: Contact your physician immediately or go to the emergency room of the nearest hospital.