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Preparing for Surgery

An excellent nursing and medical staff is just one of many reasons why patients express great satisfaction with their ambulatory surgery experience at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital.

Preparing for Surgery

Ambulatory Surgery at St. John’s offers:

  • Highly qualified physicians and anesthesiologists who perform more than 4,500 arthroscopic, gynecologic, ENT, pediatric and other procedures a year;
  • Nursing and medical support staff with extensive experience in the operating room and the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU);
  • Modern surgical, ENT and urology suites; and
  • Support from a range of medical and surgical subspecialties and services available only in a hospital setting.

Pre-Surgical Testing

All patients must register in the hospital’s Admitting Center and complete pre-surgical testing prior to surgery.

Pre-surgical testing – generally performed 3 to 7 days prior to surgery – takes place in the Ambulatory Surgery Unit (AMSU), located on the hospital’s second floor. This service is available from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Please arrive 30 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment to allow time for registration.

Your appointment will be made after your doctor contacts the hospital to schedule your procedure. The pre-surgical testing staff will notify you when the appointment has been scheduled. At the time of your appointment, you will be asked to complete a questionnaire and medical history. Depending on the procedure you are having, your health history, and the availability of recent test results, you may receive a number of tests such as blood tests, an EKG, or chest X-ray.

If you are taking anticoagulants such as aspirin, Heparin, Plavix or Coumadin, please be sure to have a discussion with your doctor about stopping these medications prior to surgery.

Please do not drink or eat anything after midnight the night before your blood tests.


The registrar in the Admitting Center will take your personal and insurance information including insurance cards with account numbers. Please bring the following information in order to expedite your registration:

  • A government-issued Photo ID;
  • Documents from any recent physicals given by your private doctor;
  • Medical reports from recent outside testing you may have had;
  • Complete list of prescription and non-prescription medications including dosages;
  • Insurance cards with account numbers; and
  • Additional documents that may be helpful including signed consent forms and a health care proxy, if available.

To learn more about preparing for surgery, watch this helpful video from The Joint Commission.

Day Before Surgery

Please arrange for a responsible adult to accompany you home after surgery. Because of anesthesia, driving or going home alone is not permitted. Surgery will be cancelled if you do not have someone to accompany you home.

If you will not be home the day before surgery, or if any changes arise, please call:

  • Between 6:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. – 718-869-7704;
  • After 5 p.m. – call 718-869-7000 and ask to speak with the nursing supervisor.
  • If your health changes before your surgery in any way, or if you develop a cold, cough, fever or chills, please contact your surgeon and the Ambulatory Surgery Center at 718-869-7704.

Medication, Eating, and Drinking Before Surgery

Please carefully follow your doctor’s instructions regarding medications, skin care or bowel preparations, as well as the instructions outlined below. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight prior to surgery. Sips of water to take medications are permitted.

Day of Surgery

Before You Leave Home

  • Please leave all valuables, including money and jewelry, at home.
  • Please remove all piercings.
  • Glasses, contact lenses or dental appliances should be given to a family member to hold or to your nurse in the Ambulatory Surgery Unit.
  • A bath or shower is allowed on the morning of surgery.
  • When brushing your teeth, please do not swallow any water.
  • Long hair should be braided or tied back.
  • If you have a completed and notarized advance directive, power of attorney or living will, please bring it with you.

When You Arrive at the Hospital

  • Please report to the Admitting Office.
  • Your family member or guest may wait in the Ambulatory Surgery Center waiting room and will be updated on your progress throughout your procedure.

Important Telephone Numbers

Admitting Center, 1st Floor

  • Phone: 718-869-7771

Ambulatory Surgery, 2nd Floor

  • Phone: 718-869-7704 6:30 am to 5 pm
  • Phone: 718-869-7000 after 5 pm
  • Fax: 718-869-5389
After Surgery

When your surgery is completed, you will be transported by stretcher to the hospital’s Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU), where a team of specially trained nurses will continue to monitor your progress. When the anesthesiologist and PACU nursing staff determine you are ready, you will return to the Ambulatory Care Unit for a brief period of further observation. You will then return home with the designated person who accompanied you to the hospital.

On the day after surgery, you will receive a phone call from a staff member in the Ambulatory Care Unit who will ask how you are feeling and answer any questions you may have about your discharge instructions and follow-up care.

Thank you for choosing St. John’s Episcopal Hospital for your surgery.