Day of Surgery

What to Do:

  • Shower the morning of your procedure using antibacterial soap. Download the Pre-Surgery Skin Preparation Instructions brochure.
  • Brush your teeth, but do not swallow any water.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing and low-heeled shoes to avoid post-surgery discomfort. Wear a shirt that opens in the front if you're having surgery on any body part above your waist.
  • Bring government-issued photo identification (for example, driver's license, state ID, passport), insurance information, prescription information and co-payment if needed.
  • Have a responsible adult drive or to accompany you home. You will not be permitted to leave alone, and your surgery will be rescheduled or canceled if a responsible adult is not with you.
  • Follow physician and/or ATC instructions about which medications you are allowed to take and not take. If you are permitted to take routine medications, take them with a sip of water before going to the hospital.
  • Report to Admissions Testing Center (ATC - room A101) at least two hours before your scheduled surgery. If you are late, your surgery may be rescheduled or canceled.

What Not to Do:

  • Do not smoke, eat, or drink anything, including water, candy, gum, mints and lozenges.
  • Do not bring valuables, large sums of cash, jewelry or credit cards with you.
  • Do not bring your medications with you when you come to the hospital. The hospital will provide medication as needed.
  • Do not wear makeup, jewelry, perfumes or lotions; you may use a little deodorant.
  • Do not bring any dependents with you during your surgical stay. Plan for someone to care of all dependents (children and adults).


  • Plan to park in the "Hospital Parking Garage"
  • The hospital only validates parking tickets for outpatient procedures, preoperative testing and the day of discharge. If you will be at the hospital for an extended amount of time, you may purchase discounted parking coupons.
  • Learn more about parking and entrances at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, including information on the cost of parking.

What to Expect:

  • In ATC:
    • The ATC staff will verify your personal and insurance information, collect any copayments and place a patient arm band on your wrist.
    • You will be given a folder and instructions on how to get to the Surgical Waiting Area.
  • In Surgical Waiting:
    • Check in at the waiting room desk.
    • The staff will discuss the protocol with you and your contact person. A contact person is a responsible adult who will be allowed to get updates regarding your surgical procedure.
    • Your contact person should sign in and provide his or her contact information. He or she will be given a privacy number to receive updates about your surgery.
    • A pre-op nurse will call your privacy number and take you to the Surgical Holding Area to be prepared for surgery. Your contact person will remain in the waiting area until those preparations are complete. He or she will be allowed to visit you after you are ready for surgery
  • In Surgical Holding:
    • You will be asked to undress and put on a hospital gown.
    • You will be visited by your surgeon, anesthesia providers, pre-op nurse and operating room nurse.
    • Your surgeon will review your medical record, and mark your surgical site as appropriate.
    • Your anesthesia team will discuss the plan for your anesthesia.
    • Your pre-op nurse will start an IV, and blood work may be drawn.
    • You will be given paperwork. Read through it carefully, and make sure all the information is correct. If any information is not correct, inform a nurse or a doctor immediately.
    • Your care team will constantly ask for your name and birth date. While it is tiresome to repeat your information, it helps us ensure your safety.
    • All clinicians should wash their hands before providing your care.
    • Your operating room nurse will confirm that you are fully prepared to enter the Operating Room.
  • While in Operating Room:
    • Once preparations are complete, you will be escorted to the Operating Room, and your contact person will be directed to the Surgical Waiting Room.
    • You may be asked to assist with transfer to the Operating Room table. The room is intentionally set up this way for your safety
    • The operating room may be cold, filled with many pieces of equipment and bright lights.

Contact Us
If you are delayed on the day of surgery, please call 202-877-0732.
If you have any questions, please call the Admission Testing Center (ATC) at 202-877-7169.