Preparing for Surgery

Joint University
Educational program for those undergoing joint replacement

Thank you for choosing Riverside for your surgery. Your surgery will take place in our new Pavilion at Riverside Regional Medical Center. Our goal is to give you the best care possible and to make this experience as stress-free and comfortable as possible.


Some physicians prefer to tell the patients when to arrive for surgery. Other physicians prefer to have the hospital nurses call the afternoon before your surgery to give you an arrival time. Generally, you should plan to arrive at the facility at least 2 hours before your scheduled surgery time. It is important that you arrive on time. If you think you will be late, please call our Pre-Op/Post-Op team at (757) 534-6036. If you need to cancel or have questions, you must call your physician.

Sometimes we have unexpected delays in our carefully planned operating room schedule. We will try to avoid any inconveniences to you and your family. We will keep you informed as changes occur.

We recommend that you not schedule any other appointments the day of your surgery. In addition, if you have young children, you should make plans for their care on your surgery day, such as having someone pick them up from school.

Back Up Child Care
Riverside Health System's Child Development & Learning Center is available to those in our community needing back up care. Parents and Guardians of children ages 6 weeks to 8 years old may use the center's back up care services while receiving outpatient or inpatient services, as well as receiving medical and related care in a hospital-affiliated extended care Riverside facility. In addition, those attending classes through our School of Health Careers and contracted employees are also eligible. The Child Development & Learning Center is located in the Oyster Point area of Newport News. Please call (757) 594-3300 for more information on fees and availability.

Medications and Supplements
Discuss your medications with your doctor or surgery scheduler. You may need to stop taking some medications, such as aspirin, ibuprofen or blood thinners. You also need to tell your doctor about any vitamins and herbal supplements you take. Some preparations can interfere with bleeding or healing.

A nurse will call you one to three days before your surgery to go over medication with you; however, we ask that you bring a detailed list of your medications with you on the day of surgery and whenever you come to the hospital for testing or treatment.

This list should include the name of the medicine, the dose and the frequency (or how often you take it). Riverside offers a free, wallet-sized List for Life/MediCard that you can keep and use to list your medications and other important information. To request a free List for Life/MediCard call Riverside Nurse at (757) 595-6363 or (800) 675-6368.

Call your physician immediately if you notice a change in your health between the time you see your surgeon and the day of your procedure.

Testing Before Surgery
You doctor may order testing before your surgery. You can have this testing performed in Pre-assessment at the Pavilion. Pre-Assessment Laboratory Testing is open Monday through Friday from 7:00am until 5:30pm. Although drop-ins are accepted, we encourage you to make an appointment for this testing. Convenient parking is available near the entrance to the Pavilion.

To have your testing at Riverside, you can make an appointment by calling Central Scheduling at (757) 989-8830 (choose Option 2). Central Scheduling is open from 8:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday. You should call 10-14 days prior to your surgery to schedule your testing appointment.

Your testing appointment will last approximately 30 to 60 minutes. During this visit, our staff will draw your blood and/or perform an EKG if ordered by your physician. If your physician orders a chest x-ray, our staff will take you to the Radiology/Imaging department for this test. In addition to the testing services offered at Riverside Regional Medical Center, we offer additional testing sites where patients can have testing done (lab draw, EKG, x-ray) on a walk-in basis -- no appointment needed.

The Day Before Surgery
DO NOT EAT OR DRINK ANYTHING AFTER MIDNIGHT ON THE NIGHT BEFORE YOUR SURGERY. This includes chewing gum, eating candy and swallowing water when you brush your teeth.

If you are taking medications regularly for heart and lung conditions (such as angina, chest pain, high blood pressure or asthma) or for seizures (such as epilepsy control), we recommend that you continue to take the medications on your usual schedule including your day of surgery. Medications may be taken with a small sip of water. If your physician gives you different instructions, please follow those instructions.

Diabetic patients who do not eat after midnight should not take insulin or other diabetic medications the morning of the surgery.

Do not consume alcoholic beverages 24 hours before and after surgery.

Avoid smoking at least 12 hours before or after your procedure.

If your physician orders a clear breakfast, you may have one of the following items:

  • Coffee or tea without cream or sugar
  • Bouillon
  • 7-Up
  • Ginger ale
  • Jell-O, except NO red-colored
  • Apple juice

After having one of these items, you should not eat or drink anything else.

If you have not received a phone call from our Pavilion surgery team by 3pm the day prior to surgery, please call (757) 534-6036.

The Day of Surgery
You must have a responsible adult with you on the day of surgery, to remain at Riverside and drive you home after your surgery. We will not allow you to leave Riverside alone. For your own safety, do not drive for 24 hours following surgery if you receive general anesthesia or sedation.


Medical Papers Remember to bring any papers your physician or the admissions clerk has asked you to bring.
Advance Directives If you have Advance Directives, please bring a copy for our records.

Bring a detailed list of the medications you are currently taking, including:

  • The name of the medicine
  • The dose
  • How often you take it.
Medical Equipment
  • Bring any inhalers you are currently using. If you are on CPAP, please bring your equipment with you.
  • Bring any custom-fitted appliances or orthopaedic appliances that you will use after surgery. These include collars, lumbar corsets, slings, walking boots, post-op shoes, etc.
Clothing Wear comfortable, casual clothing. Low-heeled shoes and jogging suits are ideal. We will provide a hospital gown and slippers for use during your stay.
Valuables Other than your co-pay (if applicable), please DO NOT BRING VALUABLES (money, credit cards, checkbook) with you. The medical center accepts no responsibility for the possible loss of these items.
Jewelry Please do not bring jewelry with you on the day of surgery. Remove all jewelry including wedding rings and body piercings.

Contact Lenses
Hearing Aids

Please remove your contact lenses, glasses and hearing aids before surgery and give these items to the person accompanying you. Please remember to bring storage cases for glasses or contact lenses.
Fingernail Polish
Remove all makeup and fingernail polish.

Hair Extensions

Wigs may not be worn into surgery.

If Your Child Is Having Surgery
If your child is under 18, a parent or legal guardian must accompany the child to Riverside to sign surgery consent forms. Please be prepared to stay in the medical center until your child is discharged.

If your child has a favorite toy, blanket, cup or sippy cup let him/her bring it.

If your child drinks from a bottle, please bring one bottle of formula and an empty bottle for juice to drink after he/she comes back from the Post Anesthesia Care Unit. Nursing mothers may nurse as usual.

Please remember to bring extra diapers.

If You Are Going Home After Surgery
After returning from surgery, you will remain in the Pavilion for about 1 hour or until seen by your doctor and discharged. We will offer you beverages and crackers when you return from the Post Anesthesia Care Unit.

We will not permit you to drive yourself home after receiving anesthesia. Be sure to make arrangements with an adult 18 years or older to transport you home.

You should also make arrangements for someone to be home with you for the first 24 hours after surgery.

You cannot drive or drink alcoholic beverages for 24 hours after discharge.

At the time of discharge, you might feel drowsy.

If You Are Being Admitted After Surgery
A member of our care team will notify your family or significant other when you arrive in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit and when you receive your room assignment. If family members are unable to be at the hospital, they may call (757) 534-6190 for a status report.

To protect your privacy, please provide those family members or friends with a “secret password” of your choosing. We will ask callers for the password before we release any information about your status.

Before You Leave
Please be certain you understand your physician’s instructions. Your nurse will review physician discharge instructions to include medications, diet and rest requirements. We will also give you a written copy of these instructions.

At Home
If you experience difficulties or complications once you return home, please contact your surgeon. If you cannot reach your surgeon at his/her office or have any questions, call the Riverside Operator at (757) 594-2000 and ask them to page your surgeon. Riverside Nurse is also available to answer your questions at (757) 595-6363 or (800) 675-6368.

After a few days, you may receive a questionnaire from our customer service partner, Press Ganey. Please take a few minutes to complete it. This is an important part of your after care which helps us continue to provide service that meets your needs.

Quick Reference Telephone Directory


Riverside Service




Closest Entrance

Central Scheduling

(757) 989-8830
Option 2

Monday – Friday:
8:00 AM - 5:30 PM


Pre-Assessment Surgical Services (Pre-Operative Lab Testing Center)

(757) 534-6050

Monday – Friday:
7:00 AM – 5:30 PM

Pavilion Entrance

Pavilion Pre-op/Post-Op Surgical Services

(757) 534-6036

Monday – Friday:
5:00 AM – 7:30 PM

Pavilion Entrance



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