Preparing for SurgeryPreparing for surgery

Find out what you can expect before, during, and after your surgery at Nash UNC Health Care in Rocky Mount.

Qualifying for Surgery

Before your surgery, you may need to have:

  • Physical exam – Your health care provider will ask about your:
    • Allergies
    • Experiences with anesthesia
    • Medications
    • Use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs
  • Tests – May involve X-rays, a urine test, blood tests and an electrocardiogram (EKG), which sees how well your heart is functioning

Registration & Insurance

If you have insurance that covers your surgery, please have the following information available:

  • Name of insurance company
  • Group number and ID number
  • Insurance company’s telephone number to verify coverage
  • Insurance company’s address to mail claims
  • Any referral, precertification and/or authorization numbers required

Submit any required authorization from your insurance company before your surgery. Please review your insurance benefits for necessary precertification, authorization, and/or second opinion requirements.

How to Pay

Payment of your deductible (charges not covered by insurance) is due at the time of service. Nash UNC Health Care accepts cash, check, VISA or MasterCard.

Who Bills Me?

You will receive a separate bill from the following:

  • Anesthesiologist
  • Pathologist (tissue examination)
  • Radiologist (X-ray, MRI)
  • Surgeon
  • Hospital

What to Avoid Prior to Surgery

You shouldn’t:

  • Take any aspirin and aspirin-containing products for one week before your procedure.
  • Smoke tobacco or drink alcohol for 24 hours before your surgery.
  • Put anything in your mouth the day of surgery, including hard candy, gum, mints or tobacco.
  • Use lotion, powder, perfume or deodorant on your skin.
  • Shave your surgical area for two days prior to your surgery.
  • Eat anything after midnight before your procedure.

Call your surgeon if you get a cold, flu or other illnesses within 24 hours before your surgery.

Bathing Prior to Surgery

You need to bathe the night before and the morning of surgery with antiseptic surgical scrub. This specialized type of soap (chlorhexidine topical) may be given at your pre-op visit. Do not use it on your face or groin area. Use it only from the neck down with special attention given to your surgical area. If you don’t receive the antiseptic soap at your pre-op visit, please bathe with an antibacterial soap the night before and the morning of your surgery.

Dos and Don’ts Before Day of Surgery

On the day of your procedure:

  • Bring one form of identification, such as driver’s license, Social Security card or Medicare/Medicaid card.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothes. Jogging suits are excellent because they are lightweight and apply little or no pressure to the surgical site.
  • Refrain from wearing makeup, nail polish or jewelry.
  • Refrain from using hairspray or hair products.
  • Bring an eyeglass case if you wear glasses or a contact case if you wear contacts. You’ll remove both prior to surgery.
  • Secure long hair with braids or rubber bands. Remove all wigs, extensions, clasps, and combs.
  • Remove all jewelry, including any kind of ear or body piercings, before arriving at the hospital.
  • Leave all valuables at home.
  • Leave all luggage in your vehicle until after surgery if you are staying overnight.
  • Abstain from eating or drinking in patient rooms prior to surgery.
  • Abstain from wearing perfumes and colognes in patient care areas.


Bring a list of all medications you are taking, as well as the dosages. You may want to bring your medication bottles with you the day of surgery. Download a medication list form [PDF]. Bring any inhaler(s), nebulizers, or C-PAP machines you use at home. Do not take your insulin or diabetic pill unless instructed by your doctor.

Presurgery Anesthesia

Your anesthesia care team will escort you into the operating room for surgery. Before the operation, they’ll ask questions to assess your health. Your anesthesia provider will stay throughout your surgery to monitor your vital signs and airway.

Depending on your surgery, you’ll receive one of the following types of anesthesia:

  • General anesthesia – You’ll inhale gas through a facemask or breathing tube, or receive general anesthesia through an IV. This will make you unconscious and deeply asleep. You will have no pain or knowledge surgery is taking place.
  • Regional anesthesia –This process blocks feeling to a certain area of the body. Examples include a spinal (when your doctor injects anesthesia into your lower back) or when anesthesia is injected into a cluster of nerves, known as a nerve block. You will usually also be given sedation.
  • Local anesthesia – You receive injections of anesthesia only to the part of your body that undergoes the operation.
  • Monitored anesthesia care (MAC) – You’ll be heavily sedated and your pain will be managed with little recall or memory.

During Surgery

You’ll remove your clothing and jewelry and wear a hospital gown, cap, and booties. Afterward, you may sit in a recliner or rest on a stretcher. Your nurse will answer any questions you have and will confirm your information. He or she will provide you with any additional instructions you will need.

Your surgical site may receive markings with a pen or a marker. This is a part of our patient safety regulations. An anesthesiologist will interview you to identify potential risks and to discuss the type of anesthetic you will receive. Your personal belongings will stay with a family member or secured in a locker. We will start your IV and give you any medications needed before going to the operating room.

After Surgery

After surgery, you go to the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) to awaken. The length of your stay is dependent upon the type of anesthesia you received. You may have an oxygen tube or mask on your face. You’ll have heart and oxygen level monitoring. Your incision may have dressings, tubes or drains. This is to aid in your recovery.

Potential Side Effects of Surgery

You may feel side effects from the anesthesia and surgery such as:

  • Coldness
  • Drowsiness or a feeling of tiredness
  • Dry mouth, thirst or a sore throat
  • Nausea, headache or vomiting
  • Soreness or discomfort

Returning Home After SurgeryReturn Home

After careful observation, either you’ll go home with a responsible adult or you’ll be admitted to Nash General Hospital. A nurse team will help monitor your diet and activity levels and will explain medications and treatments.

Before leaving the hospital, you’ll receive verbal and written instructions about your diet, medications, pain control, bathing, and activities. If you go home after surgery, you’ll receive a phone call within 24 to 72 hours from the hospital to ask about your progress and answer questions. You’ll receive emergency numbers to notify the surgeon if you require care before you get a follow-up call.

If you go home the same day of surgery, please arrange for someone to drive you home. You may not drive home or leave by cab or bus. Someone must stay with you 24 hours after surgery.

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