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Preparing for Surgery

At Reston Hospital Center, our goal is to provide you with the best possible care before, during and after your surgery. You can play an important role in making sure your admission, surgery and recovery go smoothly.

Your Preadmission Visit

Once the date of your surgery has been set, you'll also get an appointment for a preadmission interview and diagnostic testing. This provides us with vital information as we prepare for your procedure.

Bring your personal identification, insurance card, list of medications and dosages (including supplements, herbal preparations and vitamins), a summary of your drug allergies and any advance directives regarding your healthcare.

Check in at the admissions office on the hospital's first floor.

During your preadmission visit, we:

  • Gather your medical and surgical history
  • Conduct a nursing assessment and discuss any concerns you may have about your care
  • Provide you with an anesthesia consent form
  • Conduct any preadmission tests such as X-rays and lab tests
  • Set the time and place to arrive on your day of surgery

Before Your Surgery

Follow these general guidelines to prepare for your surgery at Reston Hospital Center unless you're directed otherwise:

  • Stop eating and drinking at midnight the night before your surgery. This includes chewing gum and throat lozenges. You may brush your teeth on the morning of your procedure, but don't swallow water.
  • Take your prescribed heart, blood pressure, asthma, thyroid, seizure or pain medications, as discussed with your physician, with just enough water to swallow them.
  • Patients with diabetes should not take insulin or any diabetic medication on the day of surgery.
  • Talk to your doctor if you're on blood thinners.
  • Do not smoke after midnight.
  • Bathe or shower prior to your procedure.
  • Don't apply makeup or lotions.
  • Wear comfortable clothing and remove all jewelry and body piercings.
  • Leave valuables, credit cards and money at home.
  • Bring containers for eyeglasses, dentures or hearing aids, and place these items in their containers before entering the operating room.
  • Pack a small bag with what you'll need for an overnight stay, including pajamas, slippers and toiletries. You may want to leave these items in the car until you've been assigned an inpatient room number.
  • For children having surgery, parents may bring a stuffed toy or security blanket for the child to hold following the procedure.
  • If you experience a change in your health–such as a cold, cough or fever–within 24 hours of your scheduled surgery, contact your physician immediately.

Make plans for someone to drive you home and stay with you for 24 hours after surgery.

Your physician will provide additional directions on prepping for your surgery. We also offer interactive tutorials with in-depth, easy-to-understand explanations for many procedures performed at Reston Hospital. To view these tutorials, you'll need an access code from the hospital.

View patient education tutorials.

Check our online Health Library for information about what to expect before, during and after your specific medical procedure.

After Your Surgery

After your surgical procedure:

  • Your physician will talk with your designated caregivers about your procedure.
  • Depending on the use of anesthetics during your procedure, you may be taken to a postanesthesia care unit (PACU) where your blood pressure will be continuously monitored.
  • As your anesthetic wears off, sounds may seem louder than normal and you may experience blurred vision, dry mouth or chills. While these are usually normal responses, tell your nurse how you're affected.
  • If you're experiencing pain, a nurse will provide pain medication upon request.
  • Your physician or nurse will determine when it's appropriate for you to return home or be moved to a postoperative room to continue your recovery.
  • Before you're discharged, you'll receive written instructions about caring for yourself at home, information on who to call with questions about your recovery and a time and date for your follow-up appointment.

Be sure to ask a member of your surgical team if you have questions about preparing for your surgery or postsurgical care. Or call our Pre-Op Screening unit Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. at 703.639.9427.