Skip to main content

What to expect on the day of surgery

Once you arrive

When you arrive at the hospital, the receptionist will ask for a form of identification and insurance card. You will also be given a paper bracelet stating your name, medical record number, date of birth, and other identifying information. Should you need to leave the hospital between the time this band is put on and the time of your procedure, you should ask a Northwell Health team member to remove it for you. The band will be secured back onto your wrist upon your reentry to the hospital, at which point, you will again be asked to identify your name and date of birth, and your bracelet will be checked.

Throughout the process, you will be asked to verify your name and date of birth several times. It is for your safety!

Please note: There may be a copayment, the amount of which will depend on your procedure and insurance plan. This payment can be made upfront either by cash or credit card (we accept all major credit cards), or the hospital can send you a bill to be paid at a later date.

Your comfort and privacy are our main priority. You may be provided with a heated blanket for your comfort and your belongings will be placed in a locker. Our goal is to make sure that your surgery or procedure is on time, but we will keep you informed if any delays occur.

You will be escorted to a waiting area near the operating room where you will meet your nursing team, anesthesiologist, and primary surgeon. Your surgical team will review your medical history, physical examination, medications, allergies, laboratory results and your plan of care. They are also available to discuss any concerns you may have about your procedure. You will be asked to sign an anesthesia and surgical consent form and your surgeon will use a marker to mark where you will be having surgery. Your surgeon leads the operating room team including nurses, an anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist, and a surgical assistant. As a team, they provide a sterile and safe surgical environment.

Safety tips during your hospital stay

Here are 10 ways you can help us provide the safest care possible:

  • Make sure every healthcare team member who cares for you checks your name band. Please help us by keeping your identification bracelet in place until discharge.
  • Ask us any questions you may have and discuss your concerns. Ask a family member or friend to speak for you if you are not able to speak for yourself.
  • Let us help you out of bed until we know you are steady on your feet, as we do not want you to fall.
  • Give us complete and correct information about your health history, personal habits (such as alcohol use or smoking) and diet.
  • Make sure we know what medicine(s) you take. This includes what is ordered by a doctor and what you take on your own (such as aspirin, cold remedies, vitamins, herbs and diet supplements).
  • Don’t be afraid to ask about your medications and what types of side effects you may feel.
  • Find out why a test or treatment is needed and how it may help you.
  • Ask your doctor about the results of your tests. Do not assume that "no news is good news."
  • Feel free to ask healthcare team members if they have washed their hands before they provide care to you. Good hand washing is still the best and most simple way to prevent the spread of germs.
  • Be sure you know what to expect when you go home and know what to report to your doctor.

International Health Program

Our Signature Services International Health program provides highly personalized concierge services to patients and their families from all over the world throughout their stay with us. For more information, call (212) 434-6000 or email [email protected].

Presurgery or preprocedure information

Before surgery

Your surgeon will talk with you about the type of surgery you are having and how long you are expected to stay in the facility. If you have any questions about your upcoming surgery, do not hesitate to ask your physician. Our goal is to make your stay at our hospital as pleasant and safe as possible. Therefore, we ask that you take the time to read these instructions and complete all necessary paperwork and testing before arriving at the hospital. This will help to minimize delays on the day of your surgery. Please download our Patient Checklist to prepare yourself for surgery.

Pre-surgical requirements

A complete set of instructions about your pre-surgical testing requirements will be given to you by your doctor. A physical examination is required within 30 days of surgery by a New York State licensed physician, which can be performed by your primary care physician. Your primary care physician must provide us with documentation of your health history and perform a physical exam. Preoperative testing such as blood tests, an electrocardiogram and chest X-ray may be necessary based on your age and overall health. 

Preparing for your surgery


  • No solid food or liquids after midnight the day of surgery. This includes candy, chewing gum and lozenges. Brushing teeth is allowed, but please do not swallow any water.
  • If you are taking medications of any kind, consult with your physician about specific instructions regarding your medication schedule prior to surgery. If you have any questions regarding medications that you are allowed to take the morning of the surgery, please call Anesthesia at (212) 702-7373 before 4pm.
  • All females of childbearing age will be given a urine pregnancy test prior to their surgery.

Personal hygiene

  • Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes. Do not wear pullover shirts or sweaters if you are having surgery of your head, neck, shoulder, or arms.
  • Do not wear makeup, cream, perfume, aftershave, hairspray, or nail polish the day of surgery.
  • Do not wear jewelry, including body piercing, wedding rings, etc. Limited locker space will be made available for your belongings.
  • If you wear dentures, contact lenses, eyeglasses, or other prosthesis, you will be asked to remove them prior to surgery. Since these personal items can be misplaced, please keep them in appropriate cases or containers when not in use. We advise that you give them to the person escorting you.
  • Please shower and wash your hair the night before or the morning of surgery.


  • No solid food after midnight the day of surgery. For infants under 6 months of age, milk is allowed up to four hours prior to surgery and within six hours for infants over 6 months of age. Clear fluids are allowed up to three hours prior to surgery for all age groups. Clear liquids include water, soda, any clear juices with no pulp (apple juice or cranberry juice).
  • A parent or legal guardian must be available to discuss home care instructions.
  • Your child should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes or pajamas. They will be provided with appropriate clothing for their surgery.
  • If your child is taking medications of any kind, consult with your pediatrician about specific instructions regarding taking medication prior to surgery.
  • It is often recommended that you bring a favorite toy, book or blanket to help ease your child’s mind if they are nervous about surgery.
  • All legal guardians of a minor child under the age of 18, a mentally compromised adult, or a foster child 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.
  • Parents/guardians must stay on the premises at all times until minors are discharged.

Call your surgeon immediately if:

  • There are any changes in your child’s condition, such as fever, rash, cough or cold.
  • Your child recently had an infection.

Your medications

Ask your surgeon/primary doctor if and when you should stop taking any of your regular medicines before your surgery or procedure, including vitamins, over-the-counter medications and herbal preparations.

  • If you are taking blood-thinning medicines or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, call your surgeon/primary care doctor and ask if and/or when you should stop taking them before your surgery or procedure.
  • If you are taking medicines for diabetes, call your surgeon/primary doctor and ask when you should stop taking these medicines before your surgery or procedure.
  • If you are taking insulin, ask your surgeon/primary care doctor about the dosage (amount) and type of insulin you should take, or whether you should temporarily discontinue taking your insulin, before your surgery or procedure.
  • If you are taking medicines for blood pressure or heart medicines, call your surgeon/primary care doctor and ask when you should stop taking them before your surgery, test or procedure.

Fill new prescriptions

Please give your surgeon’s office your preferred pharmacy name and phone number so that you can pick up any medication prescribed prior to your surgery.


Anesthesia not only provides patients with relief from pain during their procedure, but it also provides a safer operating experience.

The Department of Anesthesiology at MEETH is composed of only board-certified anesthesiologists and certified nurse anesthetists trained in all aspects of anesthesia care. Many of our anesthesiologists have had further training and have received fellowships for specific types of surgery, including pediatric surgery, regional orthopedic surgery and pain management. Our physicians utilize the latest technology and most advanced techniques with proven track records of patient safety.

You will have the opportunity to speak with your anesthesiologist in order to determine the best and safest type of anesthesia for your surgical procedure.

Patient Bill of Rights

Every patient has the right to receive treatment without discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, gender identity, gender expression or disability, in addition to other important rights. Learn more about your rights as a patient here.

After your surgery

A recovery room stay may be required depending on the type of anesthesia you have received. Your anesthesiologist will direct the monitoring and medications needed for your safe recovery. During this period, you may be given extra oxygen, and your breathing and heart function will be observed closely. You may feel drowsy and cold or you may have some pain, which is normal after surgery. Recovery room nurses will take care of your needs and make you comfortable. 

Once recovered, you’ll be discharged from the ambulatory surgery unit according to your surgeon’s orders and with your care partner accompanying you. A responsible adult must be available to discuss your homecare instructions and to accompany you home. Please note that you may not go home alone in a taxi or on public transportation. It is strongly suggested that you have someone stay with you during the first 24 hours. Please be advised that your surgery may be cancelled if you do not have a care partner to safely accompany you home. If you are in need of transportation services, personal care or overnight assistance, we can connect you to our professional caregivers through Northwell Health At Home.

Once you leave the hospital

You will receive a call from a nurse within 48 to 72 hours following your procedure. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to your surgeon. A list of frequently asked questions can be found here. 

While recovery is specific to each individual patient and procedure type, all patients should rest as much as possible. Call your primary surgeon if you experience any pain or anomalies, such as uncontrolled bleeding, signs of infection, colored drainage, odor, temperature above 101 degrees Fahrenheit, swelling, unrelieved or severe pain, or other concerns.