About Your Visit


Before Surgery:


Will someone from the center contact me before my surgery?

  • The day before surgery someone from our healthcare team will contact you to conduct a brief, routine health assessment and provide basic instructions for surgery. This is the time to ask any lingering questions you might have about your procedure.
  • A few days before surgery someone from the BSC business office will contact you to address financial matters regarding your procedure—insurance coverage, co-payments and deductibles.


Are there any tests required before surgery?

  • Pre-operative tests are determined and ordered by your physician and/or an anesthesiologist. 


What should I do if I notice a change in my physical condition leading up to my surgery?

It is very important that you note any and all changes to your well-being prior to your procedure. Colds, fevers, additional pain, etc.—they are all worth mentioning to your physician and nurse. Please notify your physician or the surgery center of any skin rashes or infections.


What, if anything, am I allowed to eat or drink before my surgery?

  • Please avoid all food, beverages, chewing gum, hard candy, mints—even water—from midnight on for morning surgeries and 6-8 hours prior for afternoon surgeries. Otherwise, your procedure may need to be postponed. 
  • More specific directions may be given during a pre-operative phone call.


Should I take my normal medications the day of my surgery?

  • Your doctor or a nurse will give you specific directions regarding your medications during a pre-operative phone call.
  • Do not forget to mention any use of blood thinners (i.e. Plavix, Asprin, etc.) and diabetic medications during pre-operative consultations.
  • Please let us know if you have an artifical heart valve, pacemaker, or defibrillator.


Do I need a ride to and from my surgery?

Yes, you will. Due to anesthesia, you will not be permitted to drive for 24 hours after your surgery.


What items should I bring with me to the surgery facility?

  • Photo ID and insurance cards; upon checking in the day of surgery, facility staff will need to verify these and then make multiple copies for our files.
  • Information card showing manufacture and serial numbers for any implanted device i.e. spinal stimulators, pacemakers, defibrillators, InterStims, etc. If you have a remote control to turn off the device, please bring it.
  • A list of all drugs and supplements you are currently taking.
  • Any and all medications needed during your stay.
  • Payment for your procedure (e.g. deductible or co-payment).
  • Eyeglass and contact lens cases; you won’t be able to wear them during surgery.
  • Bring a copy of your Advanced Directive if you have one. 
  • Please print off patient registration forms from our website, fill them out, and bring them with you the day of surgery.
  • DO NOT bring along valuables like rings, watches, etc.


How do I get to Birmingham Surgery Center?

It’s very important that you obtain directions to our facility prior to your surgery date; those are details you don’t want to worry about last minute. Our address is:

Birmingham Surgery Center

2621 19th Street South

Birmingham, AL 35209

If you are using a GPS system, please be sure to use Homewood, not Birmingham, as the city and 35209 for the zip code. 


How should I prepare for my child’s surgery?

  • Ask questions. Surgery can be very intimidating for both parent and child. Therefore, be sure to ask any questions either of you may have during the pre-operative phone calls received from our facility. 
  • Discuss the surgery with your child prior to the scheduled date. It is important for a child to understand why he or she needs the procedure and what to expect. 
  • Bring along a comforting item. Whether it is a favorite stuffed animal or a blanket, be sure to bring something that soothes your child and reminds him or her of home. 
  • It may be wise to have another adult with you to help take care of your child on the way home from the facility.
  • If your child uses a bottle, pacifer, or sippee cup, please bring it with you. 


Is it safe to have surgery if I believe I may be pregnant?

Surgical procedures, anesthesia, and other medications can be very harmful to a developing baby. If you believe there is a chance you are pregnant, please notify your doctor, nurse, and the facility prior to your surgery date. If you are of childbearing age please be prepared to provide a urine sample. 


Do I need to shower before surgery?

Yes, showering will help prevent surgical site infections. 

When showering be sure to shower both the night before and the morning of your procedure.

  • Wash your hair with shampoo first.
  • Using a clean washcloth for both showers, wash your body with a liquid antibacterial soap.
  • Avoid shaving near the surgical site unless instructed to do so by your physician or a nurse.
  • Once you have rinsed thoroughly, use a clean towel after each shower. 
  • Do not use lotions, powders, or perfumes after showering.

Washing Hands: the day of the surgery, do not hesitate to ask friends, loved ones—even those caring for you at the facility—if they have washed their hands prior to entering your room. You should all take care to wash your hands throughout this process. 

Post-Op Shower Instructions: Once home, take care to follow the specific instructions for post-operative cleaning of your surgical site, e.g. changing bandages, taking your medications, etc.


Day of Surgery:


What should I wear to the surgery center?

On the day of your surgery, be sure to wear loose-fitting clothing, making it easy to dress and undress yourself.


Is it okay to wear makeup, lotion, or nail polish?

No. Please do not apply makeup or lotion the day of your surgery, and remove nail polish prior to your arrival. 


May I smoke the day of my surgery?

No. We strongly recommend you avoid smoking the day of surgery. Not only could it create complications with your anesthesia, but you could also experience a greater risk of nausea while recovering.


When should I arrive?

You will be given specific instructions with regard to your arrival during a pre-operative phone call. It is imperative that you arrive at the designated time. 


What should I do when I get to Birmingham Surgery Center?

When you enter the facility, you will be greeted at check-in. Admission and verification will go rather quickly, because most of your information will have been sent to us before your surgery date. However, please remember to bring:

  • All important insurance cards.
  • Photo IDs. 
  • Payment for your deductible or co-pay.
  • A list of your current medications and supplements.


What will happen after check-in?

After checking in, a nurse will take you through a pre-operative assessment that includes:

  • Meeting with an anesthesiologist
  • Taking your vital signs
  • Starting an IV (if necessary)

One family member will be allowed to sit with you after you are admitted. 


What will I do with my personal belongings?

After changing, all of your belongings will be safely stored under your bed in a patient belonging bag. Remember to leave anything of value at home. 


How do I ensure I receive the correct procedure on the correct surgical site?

  • There are no greater goals for us than to keep you safe and get you the care you need. We follow rigorous national guidelines and protocols (National Patient Safety Goals) with regard to both. 
  • Prior to surgery, you will most likely meet with your doctor who will confirm your procedure and its correct surgical site.
  • You may be asked to confirm many times what procedure you will be receiving and where the surgical site is located. Do not hesitate to voice any concerns, and ask questions during this pre-operative consult.
  • To further confirm and secure the correct procedure and location, your doctor may even mark the site on your body before surgery.


After Surgery:


When can I see my family and friends? 

A nurse will be closely monitoring your vital signs after your procedure. Your physician will speak with your family/friend after your surgery to let them know how you are doing. Once you are awake enough, your nurse may bring a family member back to help you get dressed and to go over discharge instructions. 


How soon can I leave?

Either your doctor or the anesthesiologist will come see you in the recovery area to determine when you are ready to go home.


What should I do when I get home?

  • Your physician will give you written directions for your recovery at home. Be sure to have your friend or loved ones read and listen to these directions and take any notes if necessary.
  • As you will be recovering from anesthesia, do not plan to sign any legal documents during the first 24 hours after your procedure.
  • Remember to avoid driving for at least the first 24 hours after surgery.
  • Plan to have someone stay with you for the first 24 hours after your procedure. 


What if I’m not well enough to go home the same day?

On rare occasions, your physician or anesthesiologist may decide you need additional post operative care. In that case, you will be admitted to a nearby hospital. 


What should I do if I’m not feeling well at home?

Your physician will discuss warning signs with you prior to discharge. If you exhibit any of these symptoms or serious pain, you should:

  • Contact your doctor immediately
  • Head straight to the nearest emergency room, or 
  • Call 911. 


How soon will I be permitted to eat something?

You doctor will have specific guidelines for you to follow with regard to your immediate diet. Plan to drink lots of fluids (with the exception of alcohol), and initially maintain a very light post-operative diet.


How will I avoid infection at the surgical site?

Remember to follow our protocol for bathing and cleaning your surgical site (see instructions for showering under “Before Surgery”).


When should I begin taking my normal medications?

In most cases, you will be instructed to continue with your usual medications after surgery. Should temporary changes to your medication routine be needed, our staff will notify you before leaving. 


How will I manage my pain?

From the time you are admitted, to our post-operative call at home after you are discharged, we will be asking you to describe your pain level. 

Adults will be asked to rate their pain on a scale from 1-10. 

Children will be asked to rate their pain level using the “Faces of Pain Scale,” seen below:

Please follow directions for pain medication closely, and remember that most of them will take at least 20-30 minutes to begin working effectively. Therefore, consider taking the next dose before the pain becomes unbearable.