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Having Surgery at Mount Sinai Beth Israel
Petrie Division and Phillips Ambulatory Care Center

Preparing for Surgery

Before Your Surgery

Day of Your Surgery

Returning Home

Payment for Services

Forms for Downloading

Links to Surgical Department Websites

Preparing For Surgery
Undergoing surgery can be a stressful experience. One way to ease any concerns you may have is to familiarize yourself with the process beforehand. In this section, you will find some details about what you can expect when you choose to undergo a scheduled surgical procedure at Mount Sinai Beth Israel.

Most people who undergo a surgical procedure will have some form of anesthesia. If you have questions or concerns related to anesthesia, you should discuss them with your physician. You may also find it helpful to review the material prepared by the Department of Anesthesiology.

Many patients are apprehensive about the pain they may feel following their procedure. There are many alternatives available to manage any postoperative pain you may experience, and the extensive resources of Beth Israel’s Department of Pain Medicine and Palliative Care are available to you, if needed. Be sure to discuss your concerns with your surgeon as well as with your anesthesiologist so they may address any questions you have.

If you are interested in finding additional resources to assist you in managing the stress related to undergoing surgery, please contact The Continuum Center for Health & Healing at (646) 935-2265 or by clicking on the link. We have developed a holistic Pre- and Post-Surgical Care Program designed to support patients through the surgical experience. Research shows that patients who participate in a stress-reduction program before surgery often report experiencing less anxiety, more rapid healing, and less pain and discomfort. Weekly classes are offered free of charge in the Meditation Room off the Linsky lobby at Beth Israel’s Petrie Division, and in the Friedman Conference Center on the 2nd floor at the Phillips Ambulatory Care Center. Please call (646) 935-2265 for more information, the current schedule, or to register for classes.

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Before Your Surgery
Presurgical Testing
Depending upon your surgical procedure, you may require preoperative testing, such as blood work, EKG, urine analysis and a chest X-ray. Your physician will advise you on the need for testing.

Your tests must be completed a minimum of three working days (72 hours) prior to the date of surgery so that your physician can study the results in advance. Should test results indicate the need for special attention, your physician will instruct you on any necessary steps.

Our Presurgical Testing office staff will call you to schedule an appointment if requested by your physician. If you prefer to make the appointment yourself, please call us Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4 pm, at (212) 844-8250. Testing will take place in the:

Presurgical Testing Suite
Phillips Ambulatory Care Center
10 Union Square East
Between 14th and 15th Streets
Third Floor, Suite 3B
(212) 844-8250

On the day of your presurgical appointment, our staff will direct you through the tests that have been ordered by your physician. Testing will take from two to four hours depending on the tests required. If you are unable to come in for the required preoperative testing, your physician may be able to arrange for the tests to be performed by an accredited laboratory near your home.

If your presurgical testing is done at Beth Israel, the results will be automatically forwarded to the appropriate place. If your presurgical testing is done elsewhere, written test reports must be received at least three working days prior to the day of your surgery. For example, if your surgery is scheduled for Monday, your reports must be in our office the Wednesday before your surgery.

Test results can be faxed to (212) 844-1165 to the attention of Presurgical Testing. Be sure your name, date of surgery and your surgeon's name are clearly indicated.

Interpreter Services
If you need an interpreter, both foreign language and sign language interpreters are available. Please call (212) 420-3839.

Preoperative Instructions
Please follow your physician's preoperative instructions carefully. They are for your safety. Not following these instructions could result in cancellation of your surgery.

• If you use prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications and/or herbal supplements for any reason, please discuss taking them with your surgeon. If you use several medications, please bring a list containing the names, doses and schedules for everything that you take. Normally, you will be asked to stop all aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (such as Advil, Motrin, Aleve, etc.) and herbal supplements at least one (1) week prior to your surgery, because many of these drugs and herbs can increase your risk of bleeding and affect how you heal. It is especially important that you discuss any herbs you use as they may interact with the drugs used for anesthesia. Your surgeon will determine what is appropriate for you.

• Do not smoke, drink alcohol (liquor, beer or wine) or use recreational drugs (such as marijuana) for at least 72 hours (three days) prior to surgery as they will affect your breathing and healing.

• If you use or have used street drugs (such as marijuana, cocaine or amphetamines), it is very important that you inform the anesthesiologist. These drugs could interact with the drugs used for anesthesia and could have a harmful effect.

• Unless given permission by your surgeon, do not eat or drink ANYTHING after midnight the evening prior to your surgery. This includes water and coffee. On the morning of your surgery, you will usually be permitted to take insulin as well as medications for your heart, blood pressure, seizures and/or birth control. Please take these with very small sips of water. Do not take diuretics (water pills) on the day of your surgery. If your doctor has given you other instructions, please follow those instructions and inform the nurse who will interview you at the hospital before your surgery.

• Please let your physician know if you could be pregnant.

Blood Donation
If there is a possibility that you will need blood during your operation, your surgeon may discuss donating your own blood prior to surgery. If so, you will be told where and when you can donate blood. If you have any objections to blood products being used during your surgery, please advise your surgeon and the anesthesiologist.

Insurance Information
Please remember to call your insurance company 7 to 10 business days prior to your surgery to confirm coverage. It is the patient’s responsibility to verify coverage for the procedure. You should check for and verify any co-pays and/or deductibles you will have to pay at the time of your admission. You will be expected to provide medical insurance policy numbers (individual or group) and all necessary referral forms and authorizations prior to your procedures as well as upon admission. Be sure to bring your insurance card(s) and/or forms with you on the day of your surgery. Please see additional information in the section Payment for Services.

If Illness Develops
If you develop a cold, virus, sore throat or other illness during the week before your scheduled surgery, please contact your surgeon immediately. Your surgeon will determine whether your procedure should be cancelled.

Canceling a Procedure
If you find yourself in a situation that makes it necessary for you to cancel your surgery, please call your surgeon as soon as possible so the time scheduled for your case can be offered to another patient. We will appreciate it if you would also call Beth Israel directly to notify us that your case is being cancelled. If your surgery is scheduled for the Petrie campus, please call (212) 420-2970 and press option “0”. If your surgery is scheduled for Phillips Ambulatory Care Center (PACC), please call (212) 844-8245.

A Call to Confirm
On the business day before your surgery date, a hospital staff member will call between the hours of 2 and 4 pm to reconfirm your admission, surgery and review pre-op instructions. IF YOU DO NOT RECEIVE A TELEPHONE CALL BY 4 PM, PLEASE CALL BETH ISRAEL to confirm your time of arrival using one of the following numbers:

Petrie Site: Please call (212) 420-4557.

PACC Site: Please call (212) 844-8242.

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Day of Your Surgery
Where to Go
Petrie Site: On the day of your procedure, you should go to the Patient Access Services Department located on the main floor, Suite L-08 of the Petrie Building at 16th Street and 1st Avenue. Telephone: (212) 420-4749.

PACC Site: On the day of your procedure, you should go to the Admitting Reception Desk located on the 4th floor of the Phillips Ambulatory Care Center, Suite 4M, 10 Union Square East. Telephone: (212) 844-8245.

What to Bring – Personal Items
Wear comfortable clothing. Please do not wear contact lenses, makeup, nail polish or body piercing items. You may wear eyeglasses, hearing aids or dentures; however, you will be asked to remove them before the procedure, so please bring appropriate containers for storage of these items. Do not bring any valuables such as jewelry, watches, rings, cash or cellular telephones. Mount Sinai Beth Israel can not be responsible for lost, misplaced, stolen or damaged property.

What to Bring – Insurance
Be sure to bring your insurance card(s) with you as well as any referral and/or authorization forms.

What to Bring – Medications and Allergies
Bring a list of any known allergies to medications, foods or substances. Also bring a list of all your medications, dosages and times taken.

What to Bring – Advance Directives
Please bring any documents regarding advance medical directives, such as health care proxy forms and living wills. You can download copies of the forms by downloading the New York State Health Care Proxy form, or by visiting the New York State Department of Health Website.

What to Bring – Escort Requirement for Ambulatory Surgery
If you are scheduled for Ambulatory Surgery (in other words, your physician has told you that you will return home following your procedure), you MUST have a responsible escort over 18 years of age take you home. If you are unable to arrange for an escort, you should discuss this with your physician before the date of surgery. Should an escort not be available on the day of surgery, your surgery will be cancelled.

What to Bring – Pediatric Requirements
If the patient is a minor (a child under the age of 18), please bring the following:
• Guardianship papers and/or court documents (modification petition), if applicable
• The child’s complete Immunization Record
• An item important to the child: one toy or book, pacifier, or blanket (something appropriate to the patient’s age)

Your physician will consult with an anesthesiologist about the anesthesia that is appropriate for you. Prior to surgery, an anesthesiologist will meet with you to discuss your anesthesia. Please let the physician know if you think that you could be pregnant.

Following the procedure, you will go to the recovery room or PACU (post-anesthesia care unit). You will be closely monitored until the anesthesia wears off. Your blood pressure, pulse, temperature and breathing, as well as the area of your body where you had surgery, will be periodically checked. You may feel drowsy and cold and you may feel some pain, which is normal after surgery. The PACU nurses will take care of your needs and make you comfortable. Once the anesthesiologist feels that you have sufficiently recovered, you will be discharged to return home or brought to a patient care unit if you will be staying in the hospital.

Please understand that visitation in the PACU is extremely limited. Patients may be visited for up to 10 minutes every two hours at the following times: 10:30 am, 12:30 pm, 2:30 pm, 4:30 pm, 6:30 pm, and 8:30 pm.

Pain Management
Mount Sinai Beth Israel is committed to recognizing and treating your pain using medication and other treatments that will provide the best level of relief. This is not only for your comfort, but pain relief has also been shown to reduce postoperative complications. As the patient, you have valuable information to give the staff regarding your pain. Remember that you know your pain best.

Always tell your doctor, nurse or other staff member when you are having pain. Don’t be afraid to ask for pain medicine. Many people are so worried about “getting hooked” or addicted that they don’t talk about their pain or take the medicines that are prescribed. In most cases, addiction is not a concern and medicines can, and should, be taken to relieve pain as well as to reduce complications. If you have concerns about addiction, you should speak openly about them to your doctors and nurses. Managing pain is an important aspect of getting well.

The nurses and doctors will ask questions about the intensity (how strong), location, and the type (throbbing, burning, aching) of pain you may be experiencing. We often ask you to rate the intensity of pain using a pain scale. The pain scale is used in evaluating the pain and also in evaluating the effectiveness of pain medications or treatments. The pain scale uses numbers from 0 (no pain) to 10 (the worst pain possible) or pictures of faces that show various levels of pain intensity such as the example appearing below:

The Wong-Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale

Wong DL, Baker CM Pain in children: comparison of assessment scales, Pediatr. Nurs. 1988 14(1):9017

It is important for you to understand that pain control can provide you with the comfort and strength to heal and get well. We know that patients who have their pain well controlled generally recover better and faster.

In addition to standard therapies for pain (injection, infusion, pills, etc.), there are other methods that can assist in the relief of pain that don’t involve medicines at all, such as relaxation techniques, hot or cold packs, rest, deep breathing exercises, proper positioning in the bed or chair, and the positive effects of using distraction techniques such as music, television and visitors.

No matter which pain management therapy you use, remember some important facts:
• Discuss pain management therapy with your health care providers. Let them know your allergies, previous experience with pain medicines, other medications that you are taking and your health history.

• Tell the staff how strong or severe your pain is. Let them know what makes it better and what makes it worse.

• Ask for pain medication when you need it or before doing an activity that may cause pain. Don’t wait until the pain is too strong or out of control.

• Give the pain medication time to work. Ask the staff when you can expect to feel some relief from the pain.

• Use rest, deep breathing and other non-drug treatments to help your pain.

• Tell the staff how you are feeling. Let them know how effective the pain management therapy is. Tell them if you are experiencing any unexpected or unacceptable effects from your pain management therapy.

Your health care provider knows how to assess and treat your pain. At Beth Israel, the members of the Department of Pain Medicine and Palliative Care are also available to address your needs and concerns regarding your pain management. If you have any questions or need further information, please speak with your nurse or doctor.

During your surgery, individuals who play a significant role in the patient's life or who have been designated by a patient as their representative may relax in the surgical waiting room. At the Petrie Building this is located on the first floor, Room #L08, down the main hallway on the right. At PACC, the surgical waiting room is located on the fourth floor across the hallway from the Ambulatory Surgery Suite. We strongly recommend that you do not bring children along as we do not have personnel to adequately supervise them. If you will be staying in the hospital following your procedure, please note that general visiting hours are between 11 am and 8 pm.

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Returning Home
If you will be returning home on your day of surgery, you must have a responsible escort over 18 years of age to take you home. If you will be discharged from the hospital at a later date, you may need an escort to accompany you home. We recommend that you arrange this prior to admission. Please note that INPATIENT DISCHARGE TIME IS 10 AM.

After your discharge, be sure to follow your physician's instructions regarding diet, rest, medication, hygiene and follow-up appointments. Take things slowly until your physician says you may resume your usual routine. Contact your surgeon if you have any questions about your discharge instructions. Should any difficulties arise following your discharge, call your physician immediately. If your physician is not available, go directly to the Beth Israel Emergency Department on 16th Street, between First Avenue and Nathan D. Perlman Place.

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Payment for Services
The specific payment requirements for your surgery will depend on the type of insurance coverage you have. Patients undergoing surgical procedures normally receive three separate bills. One is for the use of Beth Israel’s operating room and other hospital facilities. In addition, your surgeon and your anesthesiologist each charge a fee for their professional services. If you have any questions about insurance coverage for anesthesia services or to confirm that Beth Israel’s anesthesiologists participate in your insurance plan, you may call the Department of Anesthesiology Billing Office at (631) 264-2030.

It is also possible that you will be undergoing a procedure or receiving an implantable device that is not covered by your insurance. You and your surgeon should discuss this device prior to your surgery and determine what the expected payment would be for any “uncovered charges.” Patients are responsible for any uncovered charges.

Patients are responsible for deductibles, co-payments and any unpaid portion of the bill. It is Beth Israel’s policy to receive payment at the time of service. If you receive a bill for unpaid charges, you may pay by credit card (American Express, MasterCard or Visa), check or cash.

If you have any questions about payment or insurance coverage, please call (212) 256-3400.

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Forms for Downloading
The following forms can be downloaded for your convenience. Your physician or a member of the hospital staff will let you know which of these are applicable for your procedure. Please complete those forms. You will be asked to fax them back or bring them with you on the dates of your pre-surgical testing or surgical procedure. Please call your surgeon’s office if you have any questions.

Patient Pre-Anesthesia Questionnaire

Insurance Authorization and Financial Agreement

Release From Liability for Patient Valuables

New York State Patients’ Bill of Rights

Mount Sinai Health System Notice of Privacy Practices

New York State Health Care Proxy

Mount Sinai Health System Summary of Policy on Advance Directives

Mount Sinai Health System Patient Information on Pain Management

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Links to Surgical Department Website
The following links to some of Mount Sinai Beth Israel’s surgical departments are provided for your convenience.


Breast Service, Appel-Venet Comprehensive

Cancer Center

Colorectal Surgery

Craniofacial and Cleft Palate Center

Heart Institute

Hyperhidrosis Program

Institute of Head and Neck Cancer


Obstetrics & Gynecology

Orthopedic Surgery


Plastic Surgery

Spine Institute

Sports Medicine




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