Frequently Asked Questions


Q: What is an ASC?
A: Ambulatory Surgery Centers—known as ASCs—are modern health care facilities focused on providing same-day surgical care, including diagnostic and preventive procedures.

ASCs have transformed the outpatient experience for millions of Americans by providing them with a more convenient alternative to hospital-based outpatient procedures—and done so with a strong track record of quality care and positive patient outcomes.


Q: Will I become addicted to pain medicine?
A: When pain medication is used on a short term basis to control pain you will not get addicted to it. When your pain is controlled you will feel better, move better, and your risk of complications such as pneumonia or blood clots is greatly reduced.


Q: Should I only take pain medicine when I have bad pain?
A: Pain is easier to control when it is mild. This may mean taking your pain medicine on a regular or "scheduled" basis. You should take your pain medicine when you start to notice pain. Waiting too long can make it much harder to control your pain.


Q: What if my pain medicine makes me sick to my stomach?
A: Sometimes pain medicine can upset your stomach. There are medicines we can use to relieve this. Sometimes your pain medicine will be changed to make this better. Make sure you take your pain pills with food as this may help reduce nausea.


Q: Will my pain medicine make me confused or hallucinate?
A: Confusion can mean the amount of medicine you are getting needs to be changed. Let your nurse or doctor know if you have problems with confusion or hallucinations.


Q: Will my pain medicine make me constipated?
A: Constipation is a common side effect of pain medicine. You can still take your medicine for pain. Check with your doctor or nurse about using a laxative or stool softener to prevent constipation.


Q: What if my pain medicine makes me too sleepy?
A: Pain medicine can make you drowsy at first. Often this will go away after the first few doses. Check with your doctor if your drowsiness lasts longer than a couple of days.


Q: What if I cannot make my appointment?
A: Please notify the surgeon and the Surgery Center as early as possible if you cannot make your scheduled appointment. Early notification can help us better accommodate you and other patients.


Q: What should I wear?
A: Please wear comfortable clothing. Button-down shirts or blouses are best. Wear comfortable shoes. Leave all jewelry at home, including body-piercing jewelry. If you wear contact lenses, you will have to remove them for the surgery, so consider bringing your glasses. If you have to wear your contacts, please bring contact solution and contacts case. Please do not wear any make-up as this can hid certain clinical signs. Please remove all body piercings.


Q: Why must I refrain from eating and/or drinking prior to surgery?
A: You refrain from eating and/or drinking prior to surgery in order to prevent the risks of aspirating gastric contents during your surgery. This complication is very serious and you need to strictly abide by our recommendations. This has nothing to do with nausea and vomiting after your surgery, as some think.

We have very clear policies as to specific times before surgery when you must refrain from eating and/or drinking. These are all based on safety standards. Please contact our staff for guidance on when to stop eating or drinking.


Q: Should I take my usual daily medication?
A: We generally request that you take any of your routine morning heart, blood pressure medications, thyroid medications and reflux medications at home with a sip of water before coming to the center. Diabetic medications will be individualized. We will usually hold diabetic medicines and manage your sugar at the Center. You should be contacted before your surgery leaving no doubts in your mind as to which medications you should take.

People using inhalers must bring them to the Center on the day of surgery.

Some medications will be stopped for the surgery, particularly diabetes medication and blood thinners. You should bring these medications with you the day of surgery. Please call us with any questions you may have.


Q: May I continue my herbal medications?
A: Herbal medications may have harmful effects on the surgery. Many of these remedies may affect your clotting mechanism and interfere with the anesthetic agents. We generally request that you stop these medications two weeks before surgery. Please remember to include all of these when being asked about your medication.


Q: Who may accompany me?
A: You are welcome to bring two people with you to the Center. That person will be allowed to be with you before surgery and may sit with you after the surgery if you so choose.

Please refrain from bringing young children to the Center as guests.


Q: Will I receive sedation before going into the operating room?
A: We will individualize each patient’s care. Most patients walk into the operating room themselves. Therefore, preoperative medication is minimized.


Q: Will I be contacted before my surgery?
A: Yes. Attempts will be made to contact each patient before the surgery to gather information and hopefully answer any of your questions. Preoperative instructions will be given by the nurse who calls you. You can also call the Center directly with any questions. Please remember to call the surgery center by 2 p.m. the day before surgery if you have not already talked to a member of the Mercy River Hills Surgery Center staff. Please call by 2 p.m. on Friday if your surgery is scheduled for Monday.


Q: Should I bathe and wash my hair before leaving home?
A: Yes. You can comfortably take a shower, bathe, brush your teeth, etc. Please do not use make up, hair spray, nail polish or toiletries. These may interfere with the anesthesia monitoring and possibly hide clinical signs from the anesthesiologist. We like to suggest that you shower with a special soap called Hibiclens® or other CHG based soap (ask for it at your pharmacy). This soap decreases normal bacterial counts on your skin and may help prevent infections. Shower with this the night before and the morning of your surgery. This is recommended – not required.


Q: What should I do if I am not feeling well?
A: If you are not feeling well, conditions such as a cold, persistent cough, fever or rash please contact your surgeon immediately. There are some surgeries which are safer if delayed when you are sick. We need to know specific details to make the decision. Please do not delay in contacting your surgeon or the Center at 515.323.6400.


Q: What should I do if I believe that I am pregnant?
A: It is very important for us to be aware of this possibility. Only essential surgery is done on pregnant patients. If there is any doubt, please contact us immediately at 515.323.6400.


Q: May I drive home?
A: No. A responsible family member or friend over the age of 18 MUST accompany you home. This adult also should be available to assist you in your recovery at home. Under no circumstances will a patient who has had a general anesthetic or sedation be allowed to drive home.


Q: May I speak to my anesthesiologist before the surgery?
A: Patients that will be receiving anesthesia services will be seen by the anesthesiologist on the day of surgery prior to entering the operating room. Sufficient time should be spent to answer any questions you may have. If you need to speak to the anesthesiologist before the day of surgery, you are welcome to call the Center and we will arrange for you to speak with an anesthesiologist.


Q: What if I have special needs?
A: We will make every effort to accommodate any special needs you may have. We strongly encourage you to call the Surgery Center in advance so that we can properly prepare to make you comfortable.


Q: Should I bring my special needs equipment?
A: Yes. Please bring any walkers, post-op crutches, CPAP, hearing aids, etc.


Q: What must I bring with me on the day of surgery?

  •         Bring case for eyeglasses or contacts
  •         Bring insurance identification cards, driver’s license, copayments
  •         Bring all medications
  •         Make sure you have a ride home and someone to care for you at home
  •         Bring a favorite bottle or “sippy cup” for your child
  •         Wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing
  •         Leave all jewelry and valuables at home
  •         CPAP machine (if applicable)
  •         Bring any walkers or post op crutches.

Q: Will there be somewhere for me to store by belongings?
A: Altough we provide locked storage for you, we are not responsible for lost or misplaced items. Please leave valuable items at home.