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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 Beth Israel Medical Center.
Beth Israel has also prepared A PATIENT’S GUIDE TO SURGERY which you may download.
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.
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
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.
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.
• 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.
If Illness Develops
Canceling a Procedure
A Call to Confirm
Petrie Site: Please call (212) 420-4557.
PACC Site: Please call (212) 844-8242.
Day of Your Surgery
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
What to Bring – Insurance
What to Bring – Medications and Allergies
What to Bring – Advance Directives
What to Bring – Escort Requirement for Ambulatory Surgery
What to Bring – Pediatric Requirements
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.
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
The Wong-Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale
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
• 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.
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.
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.
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
Links to Surgical
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