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Surgery - Preparing for Surgery

Our goal is to provide quality care and make your stay as comfortable as possible. So we’ve gathered information about what to expect and a pre-surgical checklist for you to follow.

Pre-Registration and Pre-Certification

The Admissions Department will contact you by phone to pre-register. We will need to verify your coverage or receive pre-certification for hospital services from your insurance company. Your surgeon’s office will coordinate with your insurance provider to obtain certification.
You will be contacted by an admissions representative who will gather demographic and insurance information from you. You will also be contacted by a nurse who will collect information about your health history and current medications and who will give you important instructions about preparing for surgery.  It is very important that you speak with both of these people; please promptly return any calls that you may receive.  If you do not speak with both of these hospital representatives prior to the day of surgery, your surgery may have to be rescheduled or cancelled.  If you return a call but do not reach a representative, please leave a message and your call will be promptly returned.

Arrange For a Ride Home

You must arrange for someone to take you home and assist you through the night following surgery. We will not allow you to drive home or get into a cab alone. If you do not make these arrangements, your surgery will be cancelled.

Financial Assistance

Our financial counselors are available to assist charity, self-pay, Medicaid, uninsured and underinsured patients. For assistance call 202.537.4160 or 202.537.4161.


Your anesthesiologist will meet with you before surgery to review your medical history and to explain your options.  Our anesthesia care team consists of board-eligible or board-certified physician anesthesiologists (MDs) and may also include a CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist). If you have additional questions before surgery, please visit the Pre-operative Anesthesia Consultation page.


Only one visitor is allowed in the pre- and post-operative clinical areas. Others are welcome in the surgery waiting area. No children under 12 are allowed in the Same Day Surgery suite.
If you have questions before your surgery, please call your surgeon. 
We rely on you to follow these important Pre-Surgical steps.

At Least 3 Days Before Your Surgery

Pre-register with the Admissions Office. If you do not hear from the Admissions Office, call 202.537.4190.
Make sure you’ve been contacted by a nurse from Sibley’s Testing Center to:
  • Review your health history and medications
  • Schedule any tests needed
  • Provide pre-operative instructions
  • Answer your questions
If you have not been contacted by a nurse, please call the Testing Center at 202.537.4437.
  • Visit your primary care physician or healthcare provider if your surgeon has asked you to do so. All required pre-operative tests and assessments must be completed and received by Sibley at least 72 hours prior to surgery or your surgery may be rescheduled.
  • Complete and update a list of your current medications to include name and dosage, including vitamins and herbals.
  • Arrange for a ride home.
  • Fill your post-op prescriptions.

One Day Before Your Surgery

A nurse will give you specific "day before surgery" instructions. In general, you should:
  • Drink extra fluids, but avoid alcohol.
  • Do NOT eat any food after midnight.

On The Day of Surgery

Follow your pre-surgical instructions regarding pre-op shower, medications, eating and drinking.
A parent or guardian must accompany minors under the age of 18.
For your convenience, a patient communication monitor is visible in the surgical waiting area. This system provides patient status and tracking information. An instruction sheet is available in this area to assist visitors in interpreting the information displayed on the monitor. We also have pagers available for visitors to use in the event they wish to leave our waiting area. Please see the secretary if a pager is needed.
Use this checklist before leaving home:
  • Bring your insurance card and picture ID.
  • Bring any forms or x-rays requested by your physician.
  • Leave valuables at home.
  • Patients having cosmetic surgery should bring payment in the form of a credit card (VISA, Mastercard or American Express) with them on the day of surgery. Personal checks are not accepted for payment of anesthesia services.
  • Remove all jewelry and body piercings.
  • Wear casual, comfortable, easy-to-change clothing and remove make-up.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Bring a case for your dentures, hearing aids, glasses or contacts.
  • Bring a copy of your advance directive or living will.
  • Bring information regarding any existing implants.
  • Arrive on time.
  • Bring a complete up-to-date list of current medications that includes name and dosage. Be sure to include vitamins and herbals.

After Your Surgery

Following surgery, you will go to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU/Recovery Room) for observation by nurses with special training in post-surgical care. You will remain in the Recovery Room until you are admitted to the hospital or are able to return to the Same Day Surgery Unit or your room. At that time, your family or caregiver may join you.


Your surgeon will speak with your designated contact person after surgery to answer any questions. Instructions about medications, diet and home care will be given to you and your caregiver, verbally and in writing, before you leave.  
After discharge, please contact your surgeon with any questions. 
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