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Instructions for Interventional Radiology Procedures

This information will prepare you for your interventional radiology procedure at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK). Your doctor has referred you for a procedure called a(n) _______________________________.

Before Your Procedure

Ask about your medications

You may need to stop taking some of your medications before your procedure. Talk with your doctor about which medications are safe for you to stop. We have included some common examples below.

If you take medication that affects the way your blood clots, ask the doctor performing your procedure what to do. The doctor's contact information is listed at the end of this resource. Some examples of these medications are:

tinzaparin (Innohep®)
prasugrel (Effient®)
warfarin (Coumadin®)
enoxaparin (Lovenox®)
dabigatran (Pradaxa®)
dalteparin (Fragmin®)
clopidogrel (Plavix®)
ticagrelor (Brilinta®)
cilostazol (Pletal®)
ticlopidine (Ticlid®)


Whether he or she recommends you stop taking it will depend on the reason you are taking it. Do not stop taking any of these medications without talking with your doctor.

Arrange for someone to take you home.

You must have someone 18 years or older take you home after your procedure. If you don't have anyone, call one of the agencies below. They will provide someone to accompany you home, however there is usually a charge for this service and you will also need to provide transportation.

In New York:

Partners in Care 888-735-8913

Prime Care 212-944-0244

In New York or New Jersey:

Caring People 877-227-4649

Tell us if you're sick

If you develop any illness (fever, cold, sore throat, or flu) before your procedure, please call a nurse in Interventional Radiology at (212) 639-2236. A nurse is available Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. After 5:00 pm, during the weekend, and on holidays, call (212) 639-2000 and ask for the Interventional Radiology fellow on call.

Note the time of your appointment

A staff member from Interventional Radiology will call you 2 business days before your procedure. He or she will tell you what time you should arrive at the hospital for your procedure. If your procedure is scheduled on a Monday, you will be called on the Thursday before. If you don't receive a call by 12:00 pm the business day before your procedure, please call (212) 639-5051.

If you need to cancel your procedure for any reason, please call the doctor who scheduled it for you.

The Day of Your Procedure

  • Do not eat anything after midnight the night before your procedure.
  • Between midnight and up until 2 hours before your scheduled arrival time, you may drink a total of 8 ounces of clear liquids. This includes the liquids you will need to swallow any medications you were instructed to take the morning of your procedure. Examples of clear liquids include:
    • Clear broth, bouillon, or consommé (no particles of dried food or seasonings)
    • Gelatin, such as Jello®
    • Clear fruit juices with no pulp, such as cranberry, grape, or apple
    • Soda, such as 7-Up®, Sprite®, ginger ale, seltzer, or Gatorade®
    • Coffee or tea, without milk or cream
  • Starting 2 hours before your scheduled arrival time, do not
    drink anything, including water. Do not chew gum or suck on
    any hard candies.

Things to remember

  • Take your medications the morning of your procedure as instructed by your doctor. Take them with a few sips of water.
  • Do not apply cream or petroleum jelly (Vaseline®). You can use deodorant and light moisturizers.
  • Remove any jewelry, including body piercings.
  • Leave all valuables, such as credit cards and jewelry, at home.
  • If you wear contact lenses, wear your glasses instead, if possible. If you don't have glasses, please bring a case for your contacts.

What to bring with you

  • A list of the medications you take at home
  • Medications for breathing problems (such as inhalers), medications for chest pain, or both
  • A case for your glasses or contacts
  • Your Health Care Proxy form, if you have completed one
  • If you use a C-Pap or Bi-pap machine to sleep at night, please bring your machine with you, if possible. If you can't bring your machine with you, we will give you one to use while you are in the hospital.

Where to park

Parking at MSK is available in the garage on East 66th Street between First and York Avenues. To reach the garage, enter East 66th Street from York Avenue. The garage is located about a quarter of a block toward First Avenue, on the right (north) side of the street. A pedestrian tunnel connects the garage to the hospital. For questions about pricing, call (212) 639-2338. There are also nearby commercial garages on East 69th Street between First and Second Avenues and on East 65th Street between First and Second Avenues.

Where to go

Please arrive at the main building of MSK at 1275 York Avenue between East 67th and East 68th Streets. Take the M elevator to the 2nd floor. Enter through the glass doors and check in at the desk.

What to expect

Once you arrive at the hospital, doctors, nurses, and other staff members will ask you to state and spell your name and date of birth many times. This is for your safety. Patients with the same or similar names may be having procedures on the same day.

Contact Information

If you have any questions or concerns, please call Interventional Radiology at (212) 639-2236. You can reach a staff member Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. After 5:00 pm, during the weekend, and on holidays, please call (212) 639-2000 and ask for the fellow on call for Interventional Radiology.