Outpatient Surgery

Before Your Surgery

Outpatient Post-op patient photoPlease take time to watch Valley's patient education videos "Recovering after Outpatient Surgery" to help prepare yourself for a successful surgery and recovery. The videos cover recovery from anesthesia; identifying problems and follow-up care; tips to aid in recovery; incision, dressing and drain care; and general post-operative guidelines. Remember that after your surgery, these videos remain available here to review in whole or in part to help answer questions that may come up for you. Watch "Recovering after Outpatient Surgery" video series.

The Day Before Your Surgery

A nurse will contact you the day before your surgery to discuss your health history and answer any questions you may have.

The Day of Your Surgery

To make your Day Surgery visit as easy as possible, there are several things you should do ahead of time:

  • Arrange for someone to drive you to your surgery and to drive you home after surgery.
  • Bathe or shower in the morning and wear clean, comfortable clothing that will fit easily over bandages.
  • Remove all makeup prior to arrival.
  • Leave watches, jewelry, and credit cards at home.
  • Bring a list of all your current prescription medications.
  • Bring all reports, X-rays, or papers given to you by your doctor.
  • If the patient is a child, do not forget to bring a favorite toy or blanket.
  • Patients under the age of 18 should have a parent or legal guardian accompany them. The parent or legal guardian must sign the necessary forms and talk with the anesthesiologist.
  • Bring your insurance card, prescription card, and/or medical coupon with you.

If you are having foot, ankle, or knee surgery it is a good idea to bring crutches with you. You may purchase or rent them from VMC's Prescription Pad Pharmacy North (located in Valley Professional Center on the north end of campus), Prescription Pad Pharmacy South (located adjacent to the Surgical entrance at the main hospital, or most other local pharmacies.

Most prescriptions you receive may be filled at the Prescription Pad Pharmacy.

Your Arrival

Surgery, Hospital Main Campus  You may pull up in front of the Surgery entrance. The Surgery entrance is just south of the main hospital entrance. Drop-off is available. Please refer to this campus map for STAR Clinic and Surgery Admitting locations and available parking. For the Day Surgery Center, parking is available around the Day Surgery building located directly across the street from Valley Medical Center on Talbot Road South. Click here for directions to Valley Medical Center's campus. For recorded directions to Valley Medical Center, call 425.656.5372.

Parking  Patients may be dropped off at the Surgery entrance, the door south of the main hospital entry. Drivers may park in the South Tower Garage (free with validated ticket) by turning right at the end of the surgery entry drop off roundabout into the underground garage. Ample, free parking is also available in the lots surrounding the hospital and the North Garage. If you park in the South Tower Garage, to receive free parking, please have your ticket validated at the Security Desk inside the Emergency Department before leaving. Valet parking is available at the main hospital entry for a nominal fee.

For most procedures, we ask that you arrive 1 to 1 1/2 hours before your scheduled surgery time. This time will be spent preparing you for surgery. Your doctor's office will give you an arrival time. Please do not be late.

We recommend one friend or relative bring you and drive you home. You will need support and attention after surgery. Please make arrangements to leave young children at home.

To ensure your safety, we require that you arrange for a ride home before your surgery (a taxi is not adequate). If you have not planned for transportation home, your surgery will be postponed or canceled until you have arranged for a responsible adult to drive you home.


Your anesthesiologist will review your chart and determine with you the type of anesthesia best for you. Four types of anesthesia are commonly used for outpatient surgery: general, regional, local, and topical.

  • General anesthesia is usually administered by adding medications to your IV and having you breathe a mixture of anesthetic gases.
  • Regional anesthesia is administered by injecting medication around the main nerves to the affected area. This will produce numbness lasting from 1 to 4 hours. You may also be sedated during your surgery.
  • Local anesthesia is administered by injecting medication just under the skin to numb a small area.
  • Topical anesthesia is administered by applying medication to the mucous membrane for surgeries involving the nose, throat, or bladder.

Your heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen concentration, and breathing will be monitored with special equipment throughout your operation, regardless of the type of anesthesia administered.

After Your Surgery

From the PACU (Post-Anesthesia Care Unit), or recovery room, you will be taken to the Phase II recovery area. Due to space limitations, only one visitor at a time is allowed in the Phase II recovery area. Both parents may accompany a child who has had surgery.

You will be discharged from Valley Medical Center when you are stable, and it is appropriate to go home. It usually takes about 2 to 6 hours from the time you arrive for check-in until you are ready to leave.

Your Care at Home

When you are discharged, you will be given written instructions for your care at home. Be sure to follow your doctor's orders. Take only prescribed medications the first 24 hours after your surgery. Follow a liquid diet for the first 6 hours following surgery, then progress to your regular diet. Once home, you will need plenty of rest. Arrange to have a responsible adult stay with you through the night. If you have any problems, call your doctor.

It will feel good to recover in your own home, but remember not take on too much too soon! For the first 24 hours following your surgery, regardless of how you feel, DO NOT

  • Drive a car or take public transportation by yourself
  • Drink alcohol
  • Sign legal documents or make important decisions
  • Operate potentially dangerous equipment

If you received local or topical anesthesia, you may return to normal activities, except those restricted by your doctor.

You should receive a follow-up call from a Valley Surgical Services nurse 1 to 2 days after your surgery. The Surgical Services nurse will be happy to answer any questions you may have about your postoperative care. In the meantime, call your doctor with any concerns or questions.