Your Surgery at MSK's Memorial Hospital

This information explains what you can expect during your surgery at Memorial Hospital, Memorial Sloan Kettering’s (MSK’s) main hospital. Read this before your surgery so that you know what to do and what to expect. Remember to review the educational resources your nurse gave you.

Before Your Surgery

Watch a virtual tour

This video will give you an idea of what to expect when you come to MSK’s main hospital on the day of your surgery.

Note the time and place of your surgery

A clerk from the Admitting Office will call you after 2:00 pm the day before your surgery. If you’re scheduled for surgery on a Monday, you will be called on the Friday before.
 
The clerk will tell you what time you should arrive at the hospital for your surgery. They will also tell you where to go on the day of your surgery. This will be one of the following locations:
 
  • Presurgical Center (PSC) on the 2nd floor
    1275 York Avenue
    (between East 67th and East 68th Streets)
    M Elevator to 2nd floor
  • Presurgical Center (PSC) on the 6th floor
    1275 York Avenue
    (between East 67th and East 68th Streets)
    B elevator to 6th floor

If you don’t receive a call by 7:00 pm, please call 212-639-5014.

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The Day of Your Surgery

Where to park

Map of parking

MSK’s parking garage is located on East 66th Street between York and First Avenues. If you have questions about prices, call 212-639-2338.

To reach the garage, turn onto East 66th Street from York Avenue. The garage is located about a quarter of a block in from York Avenue, on the right-hand (north) side of the street. There is a pedestrian tunnel that you can walk through that connects the garage to the hospital.

There are also other garages located on East 69th Street between First and Second Avenues, East 67th Street between York and First Avenues, and East 65th Street between First and Second Avenues.

 

What to expect

Once you’re in the hospital

You will be asked to state and spell your name and date of birth many times. This is for your safety. People with the same or similar names may be having surgery on the same day.

Get dressed for surgery

When it’s time to change for surgery, you will get a hospital gown, robe, and nonskid socks to wear.

Meet with your nurse

You will meet with your nurse before surgery. Your nurse will review all your medications (including patches and creams) with you.

Your nurse may place an intravenous (IV) line into one of your veins, usually in your arm or hand. If your nurse doesn’t place the IV, your anesthesiologist will do it later once you’re in the operating room.

Meet with your anesthesiologist

Your anesthesiologist will:

Review your medical history with you.

  • Ask you if you’ve had any problems with anesthesia in the past, including nausea or pain.
  • Talk with you about your comfort and safety during your surgery.

Talk with you about the kind of anesthesia (medication to make you sleep during surgery) you will receive.

Answer questions you have about your anesthesia.

Prepare for your surgery

Once your nurse has seen you, 1 or 2 visitors can keep you company as you wait for your surgery to begin. When it’s time for your surgery, your visitor(s) will be shown to the waiting area. Your visitors should read our resource Information for Family and Friends for the Day of Surgery.

 

Information for Family and Friends

Caregivers

When the patient arrives at the hospital, we will ask for the phone number for 1 person. This person will get updates from the nurse liaison during the surgery, and speak with the surgeon after the surgery. If the patient will go home on the same day, we will ask for the phone number for the person who will be taking the patient home.

Before surgery, 1 person can go with the patient to the Presurgical Center (PSC). Other visitors should wait in the waiting area. If the patient wishes, other visitors may go to the PSC when the nurse has finished examining the patient.

When the patient is taken into the operating room, visitors will wait in the main lobby on the first floor.

When visiting:

  • Don’t bring food or drinks into the PSC.
  • Don’t visit if you have any cold or flu symptoms (fever, sneezing, sniffles, or a cough).
  • If the patient brought any valuables, (such as a cell phone or iPad) please keep them safe during surgery.
  • If the surgery is delayed, we will make every effort to keep you updated.

For more information about what to expect on the day your friend or family member is having surgery, read our resource Information for Family and Friends for the Day of Surgery.

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After Your Surgery

When you wake up after your surgery, you will be in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). Your visitors can see you briefly in the PACU, usually within 90 minutes after you arrive there. A member of the nursing staff will explain the guidelines to them.

Depending on the type of surgery you had, you may spend the night in the PACU, be transferred to your hospital room, or go home.

Before you leave the hospital, your nurse will review your discharge instructions with you and your caregiver.

The day after you go home, a member of your healthcare team will call you to see how you’re feeling and answer any questions.

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