Patient FAQs

  • How do I schedule my surgery?

    A great benefit of Tower Oaks is the ease and convenience of scheduling. We do everything possible to accommodate you—and sometimes we ask that you accommodate us too. Some things like obtaining insurance clearance for a procedure are not in our control.

    Following insurance clearance, our scheduler works directly with you surgeon’s office to make a convenient appointment for you. And unlike hospitals, at Tower Oaks you don’t need to worry about your surgery being “bumped” if you don’t schedule it first thing in the morning.

    Staying on time keeps stress low and efficiency high, but office and surgical emergencies can result in unpredictable delays. We appreciate your patience if and when we need to adjust our schedule for the unexpected.

    Weather can create uncertainty too. We don’t take a decision to close the office lightly, and we don’t close just because local schools do. If we must close for a day to protect the safety of our patients and staff, we’ll call you—and feel free to call us too.

    If we’re not closed but you’re concerned about making the trip, weigh the risk of traveling against the need to keep your appointment. Quite frankly, your well-being comes first; we will be happy to reschedule your appointment for a later date, but please be sure to let us know you need to postpone your visit.

  • How will I prepare for surgery?
    Before you even schedule your surgery, your surgeon should walk you through the risks and benefits of the procedure and weigh them against other options. Be sure to ask about outcomes your surgeon has experienced with similar patients who had the procedure. Your doctor also should provide you with instructions for the following:

    • Necessary lab testing or a medical evaluation
    • Taking or adjusting medications before the procedure
    • Avoiding aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and herbal supplements that can increase bleeding
    • Arranging for your post-operative care and follow up


    Before your surgery, Tower Oaks will schedule a pre-operative phone call with you. We also welcome you to schedule a tour at Tower Oaks Surgery Center. On the day of your surgery, you should bring a list of all medications that you take on a regular basis or have taken recently, and include the dose information from the medication label for each. This information is used with data from your laboratory tests to make decisions about your anesthesia.
    • Can I schedule a pre-operative visit to Tower Oaks?
    • Yes, we welcome you to schedule a tour if you would like to see our facilities and meet the staff. However, before your surgery our perioperative nurse and anesthesiologist will attempt to contact you to review the procedure and give you instructions for any medications that you may be taking. We encourage all of our patients to carry a list of their medications and dosages to facilitate this process. In some cases, the anesthesiologist may ask you to see you before the day of surgery.
    • Do I need to pick up any prescriptions prior to surgery?
    • Depending upon the procedure, your medicines for surgery may include something for pain, nausea, or an antibiotic. In some cases, we ask you to place a sticker behind your non-operative ear the night BEFORE surgery. This will be reviewed with you and we ask that you provide the correct information for your pharmacy.
    • Can I eat, drink, and smoke before surgery?
    • Do not eat, drink, or smoke after midnight the night before your procedure unless our perioperative nurse or anesthesiologist instructs otherwise. In general, NO solid food is allowed for up to 8 hours before surgery. You may have a CLEAR beverage for up to 2 hours before surgery. This includes water, Gatorade, soda, iced tea, juice, or black coffee. Do not consume any dairy products 6 hours before surgery. If you are advised to take medicine in the morning, please do so with only a small amount of water. These instructions may vary for children. This information will be reviewed during your pre-operative phone call.
    • Do I need a ride home?
    • Yes. You must have a responsible adult take you home if you receive anesthesia or sedation. You may take a taxi or bus home after your procedure only if you have a responsible adult with you. If you are having only a local anesthetic you may be allowed to drive yourself. Our pre-operative nurse will discuss your options with you during the pre-operative phone call.

    It is important to make arrangements for a ride home well in advance of your procedure. If you do not have a ride home your procedure will be cancelled. This policy is in place for your safety. Your ride should be readily available and should be in the facility when your procedure is complete.

    • May my relative or friend stay with me?
    • Yes, up to two people may wait with you during your pre-op interviews and data gathering. We will be obtaining your consent, reviewing your health history, obtaining vital signs, having you change into a gown, and starting an IV. If you and/or the individuals with you are not bothered by these tasks, they are welcome to stay with you until you move to the operating room.
    • I take medicines on a daily basis. Which ones should I take before my procedure?
    • Based upon anesthesia guidelines, our pre-operative nurse will tell you which medications to take before surgery and which ones must be stopped. It is important to inform your physician and the pre-operative nurse which medicines you take, including herbal medications. Please bring inhalers you need with you the day of your procedure. If you have sleep apnea and use a CPAP machine, please bring it with you on the day of surgery in case you need it during recovery.
    • How early should I arrive before my procedure start time?
    • Usually, we ask that you arrive one hour before the time of your procedure. Occasionally this time frame varies. Your arrival time will be confirmed during your pre-operative phone call.
    • Can I shower the day of my procedure?
    • Yes, you may shower or bathe the day of your procedure. You may also brush your teeth, but please remember not to swallow any water.
    • What should I wear the day of my procedure?
    • You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that can be worn over any bandages you may have after your procedure. Also, please wear easy slip on, flat-bottom shoes. Following some procedures, it may be difficult for you to raise your arms, so you may find it easier to put on a shirt/blouse that buttons down the front. You will change into a gown when you are admitted and your belongings will be put into a garment bag and stored in the recovery room. Please remove any jewelry, including body jewelry. Please leave all valuables at home.
    • What should I do if I develop signs of an illness (e.g., cough or cold) before my procedure?
    • If there are any changes in your health, please contact the surgery center and your physician as soon as possible. It is important that you are healthy before your procedure to aid in your recovery.
    • Do I need to get a history and physical or blood work before my procedure?
    • The surgery center requires a history and physical to be completed for every patient. This may be conducted by your surgeon or primary care physician. Please discuss this with your doctor before the date of your surgery.

    Blood work is required for some patients, depending on your medical history and the procedure you are having. Your physician and our pre-operative nurse will inform you of this.

  • What type of insurance information should I bring?

    Before any surgical procedure, make sure you educate yourself about your health insurance. The staff at Tower Oaks are happy to help you answer important insurance questions, but we cannot accept responsibility for knowing all the details of your coverage.

    The terms of your insurance contract are between you and your insurance provider —NOT your physician. It’s your job to understand the terms of your coverage, the need for any referrals, and the services that your insurance will or will not cover. Also, your insurance carrier may limit your choice of labs or imaging centers. It is important to verify which providers participate in your plan.

    To begin, please contact your insurance carrier’s customer relations department—typically at the number printed on your card. They are the most qualified to answer questions about your coverage.

    • Will I have to pay a co-payment upon admission?
    • If applicable, payment will be expected on the day of your surgery. The surgery center accepts the following forms of payment: cash, cahier’s check, Visa, and MasterCard. Personal checks will be accepted only for amounts of $25 or less.

  • What happens once I arrive?
    On the day of your surgery, you should plan to arrive at Tower Oaks for registration one hour before your appointed time. Our staff will do everything possible to handle your registration smoothly and prepare you for your surgery.

    Before your surgical procedure, we’ll ask you to provide current information on your health and insurance. In fact, if you can’t present this information on the day of your visit, we may have to reschedule your surgery. Here’s what you’ll need:

    • Insurance card
    • Identification or driver’s license
    • Referral from your primary care physician (if needed)

  • How does anesthesia work?
    During surgery, your anesthesiologist will choose from a variety of drugs to stop pain, relax your muscles, and/or render you unconscious—based on your specific medical and surgical needs. For same-day surgery, the goal is to provide safe and satisfactory pain relief during your surgery and then return you to an alert, awake, and comfortable state so that you may be discharged within a few hours. To achieve this, your anesthesiologist takes into consideration your current and past medical condition, as well as the type, location, and estimated length of the surgical procedure.

    To understand your needs, your anesthesiologist will obtain information on your medical condition before your surgery. This meeting gives you an opportunity to discuss your medical history, various anesthetic options and their risks, and any concerns you have about anesthesia.

    • Will I be given a sedative before my procedure?
    • Not usually. Giving pre-operative sedation impairs your ability to be alert to talk to your doctor and anesthesiologist before your procedure.
    • Will anesthesia make me nauseous? How will the nausea be treated?
    • Each person reacts differently to anesthesia. Eye and ear surgery raise the risk of having post-operative nausea or dizziness. A history of nausea or motion sickness are contributing factors. We are pro-active about treating this and in addition to IV medication you will receive during surgery, you may receive a prescription to place a patch behind your ear the night before surgery.

  • What happens during my surgery?

    Tower Oaks welcomes your family to stay with you throughout your pre-operational time. After our reception staff check you in, you will be greeted by a registered nurse who will help prepare you for your surgery and respond to any lingering questions or concerns you may have. You also will meet surgical team and healthcare providers, who will provide reassurance before you enter surgery. Once you are settled into the operating room, your assigned licensed anesthesiologist will administer relaxing medications that allow you to drift off into a calm sleep. When you wake up after surgery, you will be resting comfortably in the post-recovery area.

  • What should I expect after my procedure?
    After your procedure you will be taken to the post-anesthesia care unit, also known as the recovery room. Here you will be monitored and assessed by a registered nurse. When you are ready, you will be given something to drink. If you do not feel well or experience pain, do not hesitate to tell the nurse. Your family member or friend will be brought in to sit with you, and the nurse will give them instructions for your care at home. If you would prefer not to have anyone with you during your recovery, please inform the pre-operative nurse before your procedure.

    • How long should I expect to be in the recovery room?
    • Depending on your procedure and your response to anesthesia and medications, your recovery room stay may vary. However, most of our patients can expect to stay up to 60 minutes.

  • What happens during my recovery from surgery?
    When you meet the discharge criteria that have been determined specifically for you—based on your personal medical condition, the type of surgery, and the Tower Oaks discharge criteria—you will be released to go home with a reliable friend or family member. After that, you will need to comply with your doctor’s instructions for medication and rest.

    • What if I loose my prescriptions?
    • State and federal regulations allow us to call-in or electronically transmit only non-narcotic medication prescriptions to a pharmacy. If your surgeon gives you a paper prescription for pain medicine and it is lost, you will have to return to the surgeon’s office for a new one.
    • When can I go back to work?
    • Your physician will give you an estimate of the amount of time you should be out of work. Every case is different depending on the nature of the procedure and the type of work you do.
    • Depending on your procedure and your response to anesthesia and medications, your recovery room stay may vary. However, most of our patients can expect to stay up to 60 minutes.

  • What are my patient rights?
    After your procedure you will be taken to the post-anesthesia care unit, also known as the recovery room. Here you will be monitored and assessed by a registered nurse. When you are ready, you will be given something to drink. If you do not feel well or experience pain, do not hesitate to tell the nurse. Your family member or friend will be brought in to sit with you, and the nurse will give them instructions for your care at home. If you would prefer not to have anyone with you during your recovery, please inform the pre-operative nurse before your procedure.

    Tower Oaks is committed to protecting your rights as a patient. These rights include:

    • Information Disclosure: You have the right to accurate and easily understood information about your health plan, healthcare professionals, and healthcare facilities.
    • Access to Emergency Services: If you have severe pain, an injury, or sudden illness that makes you believe that your health is in serious danger, you have the right to be screened and stabilized using emergency services.
    • Participation in Treatment Decisions: You have the right to know your treatment options and to take part in decisions about your care. Parents, guardians, family members, or others that you select can represent you if you cannot make your own decisions.
    • Respect and Nondiscrimination: You have a right to considerate, respectful care from your doctors, health plan representatives, and other healthcare providers that does not discriminate against you.
    • Confidentiality of Health Information: You have the right to talk privately with healthcare providers and to have your healthcare information protected. You also have the right to read and copy your own medical record. You have the right to ask that your doctor change your record if it is not accurate, relevant, or complete.
    • Complaints and Appeals:You have the right to a fair, fast, and objective review of any complaint you have against your health plan, doctors, hospitals or other healthcare personnel.

  • What are my patient responsibilities?
    As a patient, you or your parent, guardian, or surrogate must meet your responsibilities to ensure the best possible healthcare. These responsibilities include:

    • Providing complete medical information.
    • Discussing your treatment plan with medical staff before signing a consent form to take part in it.
    • Complying with your treatment protocol, cooperating with medical staff, asking questions when directions are not clear, and participating in your healthcare decisions.
    • Refraining from taking any medications, drugs, or alcoholic beverages during your treatment other than those approved by your physician.
    • Informing the medical staff about your wishes regarding treatment in the event that you become unable to communicate.
    • Reporting on time for scheduled procedures and keeping all clinic appointments.
    • Promptly reporting to the medical staff any unexpected problems or changes in your medical condition.
    • Informing the appropriate staff of any concerns or problems with the care and treatment that you feel are not being adequately addressed.
    • Respecting the property and rights of Tower Oaks, fellow patients, and others.
    • Providing your own transportation to and from the surgical center.
    • Paying all medical or laboratory expenses incurred.
    • Providing complete contact information, including your current address and phone number; the names, addresses, and phone numbers of next of kin or persons to be notified in the event of an emergency; and the names, addresses, and phone numbers of physicians responsible for your ongoing care.