What do I need to bring to my initial office visit?

Dr. Cho’s practice is highly specialized as he only sees patients with spinal conditions. However, every visit is comprehensive and detailed to provide the highest quality of personalized spine care. In order to better serve you, please bring the following items to your initial office visit.

  • Completed New Patient Form
  • Completed Spine Questionnaire
  • Health Insurance Card/Information
  • Contact information of your referring physician including name, address and phone number
  • Contact information of your primary care physician including name, address and phone number
  • If needed, a friend or family member to help you travel and to take notes/help with questions
  • List of all medications you are currently taking (dosage and frequency)
  • List of your questions/concerns
  • Copies of any diagnostic imaging studies (i.e. x-ray, CT, MRI); please bring the actual films or CD, not just the reports
  • Copies of any relevant medical records

Where can I park my car?

New York (Manhattan) Office:
Metered parking on streets bordering the Mount Sinai campus is available.

The Mount Sinai Medical Center Parking Garage
East 99th Street between Park and Madison Avenues
The garage is open daily, 6AM to 1AM.
Please call (212) 241-5125 to inquire about hourly and daily rates.

The Mount Sinai West
1000 10th Ave, New York, NY 10019
58 or 59th street between 9th and 10th Avenues

Before Surgery

When should I stop eating and drinking?

Stop solid food after midnight or at least 8 hours before surgery. This is to prevent serious anesthesia-related complications such as aspiration pneumonia, or inhaling stomach contents into the lungs.

Should I take my usual medications the day of surgery?

If you are taking any medications, let the prescribing physician know that you are scheduled for surgery. Please ask the physician if you should continue taking your medications as prescribed.

  • No aspirin or any anti-inflammatory drugs approximately 10 days prior to surgery.
  • No anticoagulant or any antithrombotic drugs (blood thinners) approximately 10 days prior to surgery.
  • No vitamin E or herbal remedies approximately 10 days prior to surgery. These agents promote bleeding.

If you are having a spinal fusion, you may be asked to stop taking bisphosphonates such as Fosamax and Actonel.

If you are allergic to any medications, contact Dr. Cho immediately.

What else can I do to make the pre-surgical process smooth?

  • Contact Dr. Cho immediately if you become ill (cold, flu, fever, cough) within 1 week from the surgery date.
  • If there has been a recent change in your medical history, remember to update Dr. Cho and the anesthesiologist when you arrive at the hospital prior to your surgery.
  • Modify your home setting so that it will be safer and more practical when you return from the hospital.
  • Be sure to have someone (a friend or family member) available to help you after you return home.
  • Contact Dr. Cho with questions before the surgery date.

What do I need to bring on the day of surgery?

  • Any forms, x-rays, MRI, CT scans that Dr. Cho needs.
  • Insurance card/information and photo ID.
  • List of medications, including dosage and how often you take them.
  • Any prescription medications.
  • List of allergies.
  • Emergency contact number.
  • Toiletry items (toothbrush, comb/brush, etc.).
  • Glasses, hearing aids, dentures, etc.
  • Leave all valuables (money, credit cards, jewelry) at home.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
  • Do not wear makeup. No body lotion either.

On the Day of Surgery

Where do I go on the day of surgery?

The Mount Sinai Hospital: Report to 1468 Madison Avenue and 100th Street, Guggenheim Pavilion, 2nd Floor. Please note that you must arrive 2 HOURS prior to the start of your surgery.

Mount Sinai West: Report to 1000 10th Avenue, between West 58th and 59th Streets. Please note that you must arrive 2 HOURS prior to the start of your surgery.

After Surgery

What do I need to watch out for after surgery?

  • Fever, possibly accompanied by chills or night sweats.
  • Increasing redness, warmth, swelling, or pus (foul-smelling drainage) from the surgical site.
  • Open wound.
  • Increasing difficulty breathing.
  • Chest pain, shortness of breath, or pain going up the neck or down the arm.
  • Increasing numbness or weakness, especially in the groin area.
  • Changes in bowel or bladder habits.
  • Burning or itching with urination.

If you experience any of the above symptoms, you need to call Dr. Cho immediately and may need to go to the nearest hospital for emergent evaluation.

How do I take care of my wound?

  • It is okay to have mild drainage from the wound for a few days following surgery.
  • Your skin may get irritated and itch around the wound. You may take an antihistamine (for example, Benadryl), gently cleanse the affected area, or apply ice (but not heat) on the area.
  • If the dressing gets wet, it may need to be changed more than once a day. Do not use ointment, cream, or powder on or around the wound. You may use vitamin E lotion only after 2 weeks if allowed.

What do I do about constipation?

Constipation is a common occurrence with narcotic pain medication use. Generally, you will be started on a bowel regimen consisting of Colace 100 mg twice or three times a day and Senekot or Dulcolax suppository as needed. As you gradually decrease the narcotic use and move around more, constipation typically resolves on its own.

What am I allowed to do when I go home after surgery?

How much you are allowed to do will depend on the type of spine surgery that you had. Feeling tired may be normal for the first few weeks to months. Walking is an excellent exercise. Patients are advised to avoid excessive bending, twisting, or lifting heavy objects.