Planning For Your Surgery

Contact Your Insurance Company

Before surgery, you will need to contact your insurance company. You will need to find out if pre-authorization, pre-certification, second opinion or a referral form is required. It is very important to make this call as failure to clarify these questions may result in a reduction of benefits or delay of surgery. Download and complete the Insurance Company Checklist.

  • If you do not have insurance, please notify the registration staff that you will need help in making payment arrangements.

After your surgery has been scheduled, the Admitting Department will call you to gather your pre-registration information by phone. You will need to have the following information ready when you are contacted:

  • Your full legal name and address, including county.
  • Home phone number.
  • Marital status.
  • Social Security number.
  • Name of primary insurance subscriber (self, spouse, parent), his or her address and phone number.
  • Name of insurance company, mailing address, policy and group number.
  • Name of your employer, address, phone number and occupation.
  • Nearest relative (name, address and phone number); and
  • Name, address and phone number of someone to notify in case of emergency (this can be the same as the nearest relative).
Obtain Medical and Anesthesia Clearance

When you are scheduled for surgery, your surgeon will tell you whether you need to see your primary care physician and/or a specialist.

Obtain Laboratory Tests

When you are scheduled for surgery, you will receive a laboratory testing order sheet from your surgeon. Have your testing performed at a lab approved by your insurance company, preferably 7-10 days prior to your surgery or within 30 days before your surgery. Ask that the results be faxed to your surgeon’s office. If you can have your testing performed at Christiana Care, there is a Pre-Admission Testing area at both Christiana Hospital and Wilmington Hospital. No appointment is necessary.

Christiana Hospital Pre-Admission Testing 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday 302-733-1558

Wilmington Hospital Pre-Admission Testing 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday 302-428-6801

Decide Whether to Donate Your Blood

You may wish to donate your own blood. Please review “For Your Information,” Blood Transfusions. Inform your surgeon of your wishes.

Review “What is an Advance Directive”

The law requires that everyone being admitted to a medical facility has the opportunity to make advance directives concerning future decisions regarding their medical care. Please refer to “For Your Information,” Advance Directives for more information. Although you are not required to do so, you may make the directives you desire. If you have advance directives, e.g. living will, please bring copies to the hospital on the day of your surgery.

Register for a Surgical Spine Center Class

A special class is held weekly on Tuesday’s for patients scheduled for spine surgery. You will only need to attend one class. Members of the “team” will be there to answer your questions. If it is not possible for you to attend, please inform your Surgical Spine Center case manager. The outline of the class is as follows:

  • What to do before surgery.
  • The day of your surgery – you and your family.
  • Highlights of your hospital stay.
  • Occupational therapy plan.
  • Physical therapy plan.
  • Discharge planning.
  • Questions and answers.
  • Tour of the Surgical Spine Center.
Start Iron – Vitamins

Before your surgery you may be instructed by your surgeon to take multivitamins as well as iron. Iron helps build your blood which is especially important if you plan to donate your own blood. Tell your surgeon about any herbal medicines or vitamins that you are already taking.

Read “For Your Information,” Anesthesia.

Spine surgery does require the use of anesthesia. Please review the information provided by our Anesthesia Department. If you have questions or want to request a particular anesthesiologist, please contact the Surgical Spine Center case manager or your surgeon’s office.

Stop Medications that Increase Bleeding

Seven days before surgery stop taking aspirin-containing products. Five days before surgery stop all anti-inflammatory medications such as Motrin®, Naproxen®, etc. These medications may cause increased bleeding. Talk to your surgeon about other medications you can take for pain before surgery that do not cause bleeding. If you are on Coumadin, be sure to get special instructions for stopping the medication. Your surgeon will instruct you on what to do with your other medications.

Find Out Your Arrival Time at Christiana Hospital

Your surgeon will ask that you come to the hospital two to three hours before your scheduled surgery to give the staff sufficient time to prepare you for surgery and answer any questions you may have. It is important that you arrive promptly because sometimes the surgical time is moved up at the last minute and your surgery could start earlier. If you are late, it may create a significant problem with starting your surgery on time. In some cases, lateness could result in moving your surgery to a much later time. If you are unsure when to arrive at the hospital, contact the hospital directly or call your case manager.

Prepare Your Home

Have your home ready for your arrival after surgery. Clean. Do the laundry and put it away. Put clean linens on the bed. Prepare meals and freeze them in single serving containers. Cut the grass, tend to the garden and other yard work. Pick up throw rugs and tack down loose carpeting. Remove electrical cords and other obstructions from walkways. Install nightlights in bathrooms, bedrooms, and hallways. Stop the newspaper. Arrange to have someone collect your mail and take care of loved ones or pets, if necessary. Review “For Your Information,” Fall Prevention at Home.

Do Not Eat or Drink After Midnight

Do not eat or drink anything after midnight unless otherwise instructed to do so. If you are instructed to take any medications by mouth the day of surgery, you may take these with a sip of water.

What to Bring to the Hospital:
  • Personal hygiene items (toothbrush, powder, deodorant, razor, etc.).
  • Well-fitted slippers, flat shoes or sneakers.
  • For safety reasons, do NOT bring electrical items; you may bring battery-operated items.
  • You should leave all valuables at home (watch, wallet, pocketbook, money, jewelry).
Visiting Hours

Visiting hours are 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. with a quiet time between 2 and 4 p.m. Children under age 12 are not permitted to visit. Please limit visitors to two persons at a time.

Are you a candidate?

Contact us today at 302-733-2888; ext. 6178 to discuss your condition and schedule an evaluation.