Preparing For Surgery

Your doctor has decided that you need to have surgery. You may feel nervous about the idea of undergoing a procedure, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful situation. The staff at Phelps SurgiCenter is completely dedicated to your swift and smooth recovery, and our surgeons are highly skilled.

female doctor holding a clipboard

The doctors were all helpful and communicated well. The nursing staff and the techs are great. They are positive, helpful, caring and supportive. It is hard to stay in a hospital for a long time but they made it as pleasant as possible. It felt like being with family.

- Phelps Hospital patient

These simple instructions will make this whole process smooth and easy. Read this information carefully and follow all additional instructions provided by your doctor. You will be home and recovering before you know it.

  1. Find out what time you should arrive. The day before your surgery (or on Friday if your procedure is on Monday) call (914) 366-3535 between 1 pm and 6 pm and a hospital representative will tell you what time to get here.
  2. DO NOT eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery. That means ANYTHING, not even water, gum, or ice chips. When brushing your teeth, you may rinse your mouth but don’t swallow.
  3. DO NOT drink any alcoholic beverages for 24 hours before surgery. No beer, wine, liquor, or anything else with alcohol content.
  4. If you are taking medication and your doctor says it is OK to take them on the day of surgery, you may take them with a small sip of water. If you use an inhaler, bring it with you. If you are on blood thinners or take medication for diabetes, ask your doctor for instructions.
  5. If you are taking products that contain aspirin or NSAIDs such as MOTRIN, ALEVE, or IBUPROFEN, they should be DISCONTINUED 7 DAYS BEFORE SURGERY. Herbal drugs should also be discontinued. You may take Tylenol for pain.
  6. You should wear loose and comfortable clothes to the hospital. DO NOT wear makeup or jewelry, including body piercings. Please leave all money, credit cards, etc. at home. Please remove your nail polish if you are having surgery on your arm or leg.
  7. For an overnight stay, bring a robe, slippers, and toiletries. You will be asked to remove dentures, glasses, contact lenses, hearing aids, prosthetics, or anything of that nature before surgery.
  8. If you become sick before your surgery (cold, fever, rash, flu-like symptoms, etc.) call your doctor IMMEDIATELY. We may need to reschedule your surgery.
  9. CALL YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY before your surgery and ask about pre-authorizations, approval, co-payments, and anything that may be required for your surgery to be covered. If you have a co-payment, bring it on the day of your surgery. You may call the Phelps Business Office with any questions: (914) 366-3129, Mon – Fri, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm.
  10. You are limited to 2 visitors at a time. The SurgiCenter waiting room is located on the 3rd floor of the 755 building.
  11. YOU CANNOT DRIVE YOURSELF HOME. You must have an adult available to drive you home at the time of your discharge. This must be someone responsible for your care. If you do not have a ride home, we may have to cancel your surgery.
  • Call for arrival time
  • DO NOT eat or drink after 12 am (no alcohol for 24 hrs prior)
  • Ask about medications; discontinue aspirin & NSAIDs
  • No makeup or jewelry
  • Bring supplies to stay overnight
  • If you get sick, CALL YOUR DOCTOR
  • Call your insurance
  • Get a ride home

Our SurgiCenter is in the 755 Building; you may enter across from the garage or through the main lobby. Take the elevators to the 3rd floor.

  • Sometimes cancellations for other patients can affect the time of your surgery. We always make an effort to keep to the scheduled time, but if your surgery must be performed earlier or later, we will let you know right away.
  • Your anesthesiologist will meet you before your surgery. All of our anesthesiologists are from Westchester Anesthesiologists, PC and are board certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology. Your anesthesiologist will discuss your surgery and medical history with you, as well as your anesthesia options and pain management.
  • Before surgery, you will be taken to a private room in the Admission & Recovery area. A nurse from the operating room will verify all of the information in your chart, and your surgeon will tell you approximately how long your surgery will take to complete.
  • You will then be taken to the operating room, connected to all of the necessary monitors, and positioned properly for surgery. The operating team will always have your safety and comfort in mind.
  • After surgery, your surgeon will speak to your visitors and family in the waiting room, and you will be taken to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU, also called the Recovery Room. There, you will receive oxygen, IV fluids, and warm blankets, and nurses will monitor you until you wake up.

Remember: You may experience a sore throat, dry mouth, or blurry vision upon waking. This is completely normal and will eventually lessen.

  • You will be asked to rate your pain on a scale of 0 to 10. Zero means no pain at all, and 10 is the most severe pain. Nurses will show you a pain chart to assist you. This rating will help your team analyze how well the treatment is working and make changes if necessary.
  • Time spent in the PACU varies from person to person and could be between 30 minutes and several hours. Everyone’s recovery is different; your doctor may order tests while you are there, such as x-rays, blood tests, or EKG to test your heart rhythm. You will be discharged when your vital signs are fully stabilized and your pain is well managed.

You should know: While you are in the PACU, visiting will be limited. It is important for the healing process that you rest as much as possible, and recover from the anesthesia. After leaving the PACU, you will be taken to the Acute Surgical Unit or one of the other patient care units, where you will be allowed more visitors.

Exceptions will be made for pediatric patients. Parents will be allowed into the PACU as soon as possible.

Use the pain scale

The 0 to 10 pain scale can help you as well as your doctors and nurses. Set a pain control goal, for example, have no pain worse than a 2.

Controlling your pain after surgery is important for your swift recovery. You will be more comfortable, more able to do post-surgical exercises, and avoid common post-surgical complications that some people experience when their pain is not managed.

Pain after surgery is not something you should have to suffer through. There are a variety of options for managing pain, and you will work with your doctor to find the right treatment plan for you.

First step: Ask your doctor questions about what you can expect after surgery, such as how much pain there will be, where, and for how long. Be prepared.

Discuss options: Talk about what pain control options have worked for you in the past and any drug allergies or side effects you may have experienced. Also ask about side effects caused by any pain control options suggested for this procedure.

Non-Drug Pain Relief – may be used to mild to moderate pain and may boost the effects of pain control drugs

  • Patient Teaching: reduce anxiety by learning about your operation
  • Relaxation: increase comfort
  • Music: can provide relaxation and distract you from the pain
  • Physical Agents: heat or cold therapy, massage, rest, good body alignment

Pain Relief Medicine

  • Analgesics/Anti-Inflammatory Drugs: Help to reduce swelling and soreness, may be combined with other options for best possible pain control. Examples include aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen.
  • Opioids: Usually used short-term for severe pain after surgery. They may cause nausea, constipation, and drowsiness. Examples include morphine and codeine.
  • Local Anesthetics: Administered near the incision site or through a small tube in your back, to block pain signals. There are fewer side effects with local anesthetic and it may reduce the need for opioids. Examples include bupivacaine and lidocaine.


  • Tablets or liquid: less discomfort than injections, inexpensive, easy to use at home. These medicines cannot be used if you are nauseous or vomiting.
  • Skin/muscle injections: will be effective even if you are nauseous or vomiting. May cause discomfort at the injection site.
  • Vein injections: injected through an IV, acts quickly. Ask your doctor or nurse about Patient Controlled Analgesia.
  • Spine injections: administered through a small tube or injection in your back, and works well for pain from chest or lower body surgery. You will be monitored closely for the first 24 hours for any complications.

Talk about your pain medicine schedule: It has been shown that taking pain medicine at a set time instead of waiting for the pain to be severe can bring better results. If you are only getting pain medicine upon request, don’t wait too long to ask. Take pain medicine before doing anything that you know will make the pain worse, like walking or exercise. Pain is easier to control before it starts.

Say something

If you have pain that will not go away, even with pain medicine, tell your doctor or nurse. This could be a sign of complications from your procedure.

For more information, call Pre-Surgical Assessment at Phelps Mon – Fri, 8 am – 4 pm, or call your doctor directly

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