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Patients' Guide to Surgery: Adults

Thank you for choosing New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai (NYEE). We take pride in providing the highest quality care to all of our patients. The following information will help you plan and prepare for your surgery.

There are two types of surgery. Inpatient surgery means that you will be admitted to the hospital (usually on the same day of the procedure) and will remain in the hospital after your operation for one, two or more days until you are ready to go home. Outpatient, or ambulatory surgery, means that you will come to the hospital the day of your operation and will go home the same day. Many of the patient instructions will be the same for both types of procedures.

Our goal is to make your stay at NYEE as pleasant, safe, and effective as possible. Please take some time to review the following pages to learn more about what to expect during your stay. It is also necessary to complete all necessary paperwork and testing before arriving at the hospital. This will help to minimize delays on the day of your surgery. If you have any questions about your upcoming surgery or your hospital stay, do not hesitate to ask your physician.

If you have any questions regarding preoperative instructions, please call the Ambulatory Surgery Center at 212-979-4360 or 212-979-4165, Monday through Friday from 7am to 8pm.

If you have questions regarding your insurance coverage, please call the Admitting Department at 212-979-4306.

Patient Rights and Responsibilities

As a patient you have certain rights and protections guaranteed by state and federal laws.  These laws help promote the quality and safety of your hospital care.

You will be given a copy of the Patients' Bill of Rights, which explains your rights as a patient according to New York State law. If you have not received one, ask your physician's office, nurse or the registrar in Admitting for a copy. NYEE is compliant with all applicable rules, regulations and laws regarding patients' rights.

Advance Medical Directive

NYEE honors patients' advance directives to the full extent permitted by law. These include living wills, healthcare proxies and oral statements. If you have an advance medical directive, please bring it with you. An advance directive enables you to give written or oral instructions to doctors and other health care professionals regarding the type of medical care you would want or name the person you would wish to make health care decisions for you if you could no longer speak for yourself. You should discuss your intentions with the individual appointed to act on your behalf. At the time of admission, you will receive a copy of the New York State health care proxy form.

No Smoking Policy

The New York City Smoke-Free Air Act prohibits smoking on or around health care facility grounds. Smoking is prohibited by the staff, patients and visitors in all areas of the hospital.

Preparing for Your Surgery

Consent for Medical Procedures

Your surgeon will discuss the details of your operation with you prior to your surgery. Please feel free to ask any questions regarding your procedure. Before any major medical procedure can be initiated, you or an authorized member of your family will be asked to sign a consent form. You are entitled to a full explanation of your diagnosis, treatment plan and prognosis, as well as the risks, benefits and alternatives associated with your care. If you do not understand what is being recommended, or if you are uncertain about whether you want the procedure, ask your physician or nurse.

Complete Your Pre-Admission Forms

Your physician will give you instructions and pre-admission forms. It is very important that you complete these forms, and that your physician return them to the Admitting Office at least 7 days before your scheduled surgery. If additional information is needed, NYEE Admitting Office will contact you in advance.

Pre-surgical Testing

Your surgeon will provide a complete set of instructions about your pre-surgical testing requirements. NYEE requires your medical history and the results of a physical examination be completed within 30 days prior to the date of your surgery. In some cases, you may need an EKG (also done within 30 days) and/or a chest X-ray taken within the last six months. Your surgeon or primary care provider will arrange for your physical examination and any necessary diagnostic tests.

Your surgeon may request same-day surgery testing be done at NYEE. This will be completed after your admission and prior to surgery.

If you don’t have a primary care provider, you can arrange to have the pre-surgical testing done at NYEE. To make an appointment, call the Admitting Office at 212-979-4306.

Contact Your Insurance Provider

Remember to contact your insurance company seven to 10 days prior to the date of surgery to advise them of your scheduled surgery and to confirm coverage. You should check for and verify any co-pays and/or deductibles you will have to pay at the time of your admission. Please bring your insurance ID card with you on the day of your surgery. If you have any questions regarding your insurance coverage, please call the Admitting Office at 212-979-4306.

Interpreter Services:  American Sign Language and Spoken Language Interpretation

To facilitate communications between our patients, family members and healthcare providers, NYEE offers interpreter services using a combination of over-the-phone, video remote, and in-person interpretation. Services are free and available 24 hours a day.  

If you are coming to NYEE for surgery and have never been here before, your surgeon’s office can request interpreter services when making arrangements for your surgery. During your stay, patients can request interpreter services by speaking with hospital staff, or calling 212-979-4093.

What to Tell Your Physician Prior to Your Surgery

It is important for you to provide the following information to your physician prior to surgery:

  • Allergies: Do you have any allergies to foods or medications or dyes used in diagnostic tests?
  • Latex allergy: Have you ever reacted to latex products, such as gloves, rubber balloons or other items?
  • Do you take medications regularly? This includes over-the-counter medications (e.g., anticoagulants, aspirin and ibuprofen), herbal remedies (e.g., St. John's Wort), nutritional supplements, pain medication and/or prescription medication. Please know the name(s) and dosage(s) of these medication(s). Bring them with you on the day of surgery.
  • Do you have a pacemaker, implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD or AICD) or cardiac stents?
  • Do you smoke? Drink alcohol? Use recreational or "street" drugs?
  • Do you have other health problems, such as diabetes, heart problems or high blood pressure?
  • Have you had surgery before? When?
  • Have you had anesthesia before? How did you react?
  • Is it possible that you are pregnant?
  • Have you been treated with antibiotics within the last two months?

Preoperative Instructions

Your surgeon's office may call you prior to the scheduled date of the surgery to review your medical history and preoperative instructions. Please follow all physician’s instructions carefully as they are for your safety. If these instructions are not followed, it could result in the cancellation of your surgery.

  • Do not eat or drink after 12 midnight preceding surgery, unless instructed otherwise by your physician. Do not suck on hard candy or lozenges.
  • Tell us if you have any allergies.
  • If you take daily medications, consult with both your internist and surgeon regarding whether you should take them on the day of surgery, and if so, at what time.
  • Bring any medication you may be taking with you in its prescription bottle.
  • If you take anti-depressants, anti-inflammatory medications (such as aspirin or ibuprofen), or anti-coagulants, ask your physician if you should stop them for a period prior to surgery.
  • If you develop a cough, cold or fever, please call your surgeon.
  • Do not smoke or drink alcohol 12 hours before or after your surgery.
  • Remove nail polish and nail wrapping from all fingers prior to coming to the hospital.
  • Do not apply any makeup, cream or aftershave lotion the day of surgery.
  • Please shower and wash your hair the night before or the morning of surgery.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call our Ambulatory Surgery Unit nursing staff at 212-979-4360 or 4165, Monday through Friday, 7am to 8pm, or dial the main switchboard at 212-979-4000 and ask them to page the Nursing Supervisor.

If You Feel Sick Prior to Your Surgery or Need to Cancel Your Surgery

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

If you find it necessary to cancel your surgery due to unforeseen circumstances, please call your physician as soon as possible.

Arrange for an Escort to/from NYEE on the Day of Your Surgery

All patients having surgery at NYEE must have an escort with them when they arrive at the hospital. Additionally, an escort must be present during the discharge process to escort you home. Your surgery will be cancelled if you don’t have an escort with you. Escorts must be 18 years or older. Patients cannot leave the hospital unescorted. Please make all necessary arrangements well in advance. If you need assistance, NYEE social services can refer you to a private service. Please call Social Work Services at 212-979-4390.

Confirmation of Your Arrival Time

On the day prior to your surgery, you will receive a call from our admitting department between the hours of 2pm-7pm to confirm your arrival time. If you have not received a confirmation call by 6pm the night before your surgery, please contact the Admitting Office at 212-979-4306 before 9pm to receive your arrival time. Please make your travel arrangements in advance so that you can arrive on time.

What to Expect the Day of Your Surgery

Pre-surgical Forms and Insurance Information

Please complete and bring all the forms that you received from your physician's office, as well as your insurance cards, referral and/or authorization form.

List of Your Medications and Allergies

Bring a list of all of your medications, times taken and dosages, as well as any vitamins and over-the-counter medications. Also, prepare a list of any known of allergies to medications, foods or other substances. All medications must be in the original pharmacy containers. Please use the My Medication List form to record the information regarding medications and allergies and bring it with you.

Advance Medical Directive

Please bring any documents regarding advance medical directives, such as healthcare proxy form and a living will.

Proof of Guardianship

All legal guardians of a mentally compromised adult undergoing surgery must bring all legal/court documentation verifying his or her legal guardianship of the patient. Without legal proof of guardianship, the surgery will have to be rescheduled. All court/legal documents must be originals; copies will not be accepted. The originals will be immediately returned to you.

Dress Comfortably

If you are coming for inpatient surgery or will be staying overnight in the hospital, you may bring a change of clothes and toiletry items if you wish. 

If you are coming for ambulatory surgery, we recommend that you wear casual, comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that buttons or zips down the front and is easy to take off and put back on after surgery. Shoes should be flat, slip-ons without laces.

Leave Valuables and Personal Belongings at Home

Please leave all valuables including jewelry, watches, wedding rings, and earrings at home. Remove all body jewelry. NYEE cannot assume responsibility or liability for personal property that is lost or misplaced. Limited locker space will be made available for your belongings.

Dentures, contact lenses, glasses and hearing aids may have to be removed prior to surgery, and must be stored in proper containers, or can be held by a family member or friend who escorted you to the hospital. Do not wrap items in tissues and leave on the bed, meal-tray or on a table unattended. If requested, your nurse can provide special denture cups.

Discharge Planning

Discharge planning is an important part of your care. Some patients may require assistance from a home healthcare services agency. Our social services team can provide you with a list of home health agencies for you to review with your insurance company. While NYEE staff can offer insight, you or a family member must select and engage the home care provider. For information, please contact Social Work Services at 212-979-4106.

Checking In the Day of Your Surgery

Please think about your transportation needs the night before your surgery so that you can arrive on time for your procedure. When you arrive at NYEE, proceed to the Admitting Office Reception Desk on the first floor of the main entrance at 310 East 14th Street. You will be checked in and receive a hospital identification (ID) bracelet.

Our staff will tell you where to go to prepare for your surgery.

A Family Member Can Stay With the Patient Prior to Surgery

A family member or escort can stay with you throughout the pre-surgical check. While you are preparing for surgery, your family member, friend or escort may wait in the TV room/waiting area or cafeteria located in the basement level.

We strongly recommend that you not bring children with you on the day of your surgery, as we do not have facilities or personnel to adequately supervise them. Please make arrangements for child care on the day of your surgery.


Prior to surgery, the anesthesiologist or certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) will meet with you to discuss your anesthesia and answer any questions you may have.

If you have had any negative experiences in the past with anesthesia, please inform the anesthesiologist. Within the operating room, the anesthesiologist/CRNA will manage your anesthesia and monitor vital signs. In the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU), the anesthesiology staff ensures that all patients remain stable following surgery.

Recovering From Surgery

After your surgery, you will be taken to the PACU (post-anesthesia care unit), or to the Ambulatory Surgery Unit, where you will be closely monitored until the anesthesia wears off and you wake up.

The care team will assess your recovery and advise when you are well enough to be discharged. Some patients may require an overnight stay in the hospital.

Post-operative Pain Management

Pain management is an important part of your recovery. We encourage you be honest with your care team about any pain you are experiencing so that we can best manage your needs and keep you as comfortable as possible. Remember, you know your pain level best and should always speak up.

If you experience increasing pain or progressive loss of vision, please call your physician immediately.

Going Home

Post-Op Discharge Instructions

New York State requires that every patient who has had anesthesia and/or sedation must be escorted home after ambulatory surgery. An escort must be present at discharge. It is also advisable for you to have someone help take care of you at home after surgery. The Hospital can help you arrange for a medical transport service home at your expense. If you require home care services when you leave the hospital, please speak with a social worker for help facilitating the required services.

Please follow the specific discharge instructions provided regarding the medication, rest, activity and any other after-care advice to help you recover.

If you have any questions, call 212-979-4360 or 212-979-4165 Monday to Friday, 6am to 9pm. You may also call 212-979-4000 and ask to have the nursing supervisor paged.

Prescription Medications

After surgery, your physician may prescribe medications that may be filled at your pharmacy or at the NYEE Pharmacy, located in the outpatient area, first floor North Building. Please bring your prescription card.

Paying for Your Care

Patients are responsible for deductibles, co-payments and any unpaid portion of the bill. It is the policy of New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai to receive payment at the time of service. Patients scheduled for surgery will be required to pay for services in advance unless they are fully covered by a commercial insurance carrier, Blue Cross, Medicaid or Medicare.

Patients must pay in advance for any portion of the fee not covered by insurance. Medicare pays 80% of the fee, and there is a deductible. The hospital will accept cash, certified checks, MasterCard, VISA, American Express or Discover Card as payment for hospital services.

Please be aware, services you receive during surgery will result in multiple bills. Other providers (i.e., surgeon, anesthesiologist, radiologist, and pathologist) will be submitting claims to your insurance carrier for services provided. You will be responsible for any outstanding balance not covered by your insurance provider. If you have any questions, please speak with Billing Services at 212-256-3777.

For more information please refer to the Billing and Information section of our website.

Thank you for choosing New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai. It is our privilege to be your health care provider.

Contact Us

Admitting OfficeTel: 212-979-4306

Ambulatory Surgery Unit Nursing StaffTel: 212-979-4360 or 4165

AnesthesiaTel: 212-979-4464

Billing ServicesTel: 212-256-3777

Financial Counseling OfficeTel: 212-979-4306

Interpreter ServicesTel: 212-979-4093

Social Work ServicesTel: 212-979-4390

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