Dr. Su Tips From His Patients

Tips from Lori Decemer 28, 2011

Medical Clearance/Pre-Admission Screening – Dr. Su

Hospital for Special Surgery

535 East 70th Street, New York, NY 10021


This is a summary of my Medical Clearance/Pre-Admission Screening at the Hospital for Special Surgery on the Upper East Side of Manhattan (535 East 70th Street, New York, NY 10021). My spouse accompanied me, which turned out to be the right thing to do. (It's important that your spouse or significant other sit through the education class with you so that they know what to expect when you return home/better able to help you. )  Also, I was asked to bring all medications and supplements (vitamins included), so I just took all the bottles - particularly the prescribed medications so they can see the original labels.

The subway stop nearest the Hospital for Special Surgery is the #6 (green) local train, located at East 68th Street and Lexington Avenue.   It’s a few blocks away, and involves an approximately 10-minute walk or so.  Consider taking your cane.  You may very likely have to stand on the subway and it’ll come in handy for the walk to and from the HSS.  Just remember to hang on to it J

Once I arrived at the HSS, here is how my day went:

Stop #1 - 9 AM: Pre-Admission Screening Dept, 3rd Floor.  We proceeded directly to the 3rd floor, to the Pre-Admission Screening Department front desk. 

The Pre-Admission Screening clerk at the front desk gave me several forms to complete, including a form where I recorded all of my medications and supplements, dosage and frequency. (I advise you ask for 1-2 copies of this form, since I was asked to provide this info again 2 x later in the day - it will save you from having to write out all this information again.)

Once the paperwork is completed, you will then meet with a clerk in that department who will review that paperwork with you.

Stop #2:  Pre-Surgical Testing  (same location on the 3rd Floor) with a nurse. Here, your medical history will be recorded on an intake form; all your vitals will be taken and you will be asked to provide a urine sample (make sure you do not void within at least 30 minutes prior to this part of the visit).

The nurse will also draw about 5 vials of blood (just a suggestion, but consider drinking a bottle of water about an hour and a half of your appointment – your veins will become more prominent).   I just had bloodwork done with my primary care doctor last week, took a copy of those lab results with me - but the HSS would not accept it. So, you can't get around the lab work.

The nurse will also take your vital signs, so wear a loose-fitting top that will enable a blood pressure cuff to fit easily onto your arm.

The nurse will also record your temperature and pulse, and apply leads to your upper torso to take an EKG. The nurse will give you the EKG recording on paper, which I needed to later hand-deliver to Dr. Holloman, the physician assigned to do my medical consultation.

At this point, it was about 10:45 AM and I was starting to get hungry. I didn't have to say a thing - the nurse asked if I wanted a sandwich and something to drink! (Just one sandwich, however, so consider packing something for your companion/spouse to eat - or share the sandwich!).  They have a refrigerator stocked with sandwiches and small cans of juice, soft-drinks and water.  Very impressive.

Conversation with the nurse was nice - she said a lot of celebrities go to the HSS for their surgery (another endorsement!).

Stop #3 - 10:30 AM/3rd Floor/Radiology:  X-Ray of Chest and Pelvis
.  This was pretty quick. Had to shed street clothing and don a hospital gown. Pretty straight forward. (Man, this hospital has it going on - they were waiting for me!)  They offer a comfortable seating area with television monitors, so my husband was able to stay occupied.

Stop #4 - 11:00 AM/8th Floor: Education Class.  Very well-done interactive PowerPoint presentation delivered by Regina Cannon, R.N. M.A., O.N.C. Here, we received an informative spiral-bound book entitled "Your Pathway to Recovery" – Guide to Total Hip Replacement. It also contains a CD (again, geared specifically to total hip replacement patients), with the complete presentation on it for later viewing.  We were encouraged to review that CD again just before surgery (in my case, just a few days away). Good thing we brought our computer with us so we can view it! Caution:  This presentation and video is primarily geared for patients undergoing a THR, but Regina made comments when appropriate for hip resurfacing patients like me.  (This was the only very slightly disappointing aspect of my visit, since I am having a hip resurfacing.)

Once the video was over, we went over special devices, exercises, how to get out of bed, out of a chair, out of a car - and angles to avoid for THR (which involve a 90-degree restriction; Dr. Su does not have a 90-degree restriction for hip resurfacing - as many of us already know).

Regina also had one of the Physical Therapists come in to address the group (there must've been 12 or more people in this class) and then finally, a member of the Case Management team came in to talk about discharge planning and home care services.

Stop #4 - 1:30 PM/6th Floor: Medical Clearance with Dr. Holloman.  Didn't have to wait too long (no longer than 15 minutes). This visit is akin to having a physical with your primary care physician. This is where, again, you will be asked about your medication and supplements, so just hand him/her (depending on the doctor assigned to you) a copy of the list you filled out when you first arrived.

Dr. Holloman is a great doctor - young and very knowledgeable. He asked me questions about my family history, any heart, lung issues, etc.... Good idea to have this information available, so if you are unclear about your own history, it's a good idea to get up to speed on this beforehand.

It was about 3 o'clock by the time we wrapped up.  We were very hungry by then, so it’s a really good idea to pack some water and snacks to get you/your companion/spouse through the day.

Good luck!


Torn Left Hip Labrum
Dr. Su LBHR Scheduled 12.30.11 (FRIDAY!!!!!!!)


Tips from Vince - Bilateral Dr. Su patient

The cab from JFK or Newark was about $45 plus tip. The car service (Lincoln Continental) was about $52 plus tip. Credit cards are accepted. The waiting line for a cab at the airport was quite long. If you call for the car service it will conveniently pick up at the airport or Belaire (call 212-777-7777 for the car service). You need not be apprehensive about having a bilateral. The anesthesiologist will put in a couple blocks so you that thighs will be numb when you wake up. He also will take your blood pressure low so you will lose little blood. I was standing up with a walker the day after surgery, with good color, and with no joint pain. Sliding your rear end in and out of bed can be a tricky if you are sweaty. My nurse technician put baby powder on my sheet so my rear end would slide more easily across the sheet. I drank a lot of ginger ale, even in recovery if you ask for it.

Bilateral BRH Dr. Su 08-22-08

After my flight landed at JFK I took a cab to HSS. Went to "Pre-surgical Screening" on the 3rd floor to register, have blood drawn, and have fresh x-rays taken. At pre-surgical screening I was given at bag of goodies to take with me in prepearation for the surgery. They gave me two Povidone-Iodine Scrubs, a green box containing a Fleet's enema, and some other goodies. There were plenty of free snacks, juices, and espresso available too. Afterwards I went to the 8th floor for the HSS mandatory educational class. Again, plenty of free snacks an juices. The nurse at the front of the class was speaking and preparing us procedureally for what was to come and how best to handle it. Personally, after the long night flight on JetBlue and not nearly enough espresso at pre-surgical screening I began to nod off during the nurse's lecture. Felt badly about showing any disrespect so I forced my self to pay attention. The nurse then held up the green box containing the Fleet's enema and began explaining (and sort of demonstrating) how to use it. I immediatly perked up, seized the moment to be comical and wake myself up. I interrupted, "What," I said, "I thought that was mouthwash." The classroom errupted with laughter. I guess we all needed it. Afterwards the nurse thanked me and said a little humor around here goes a long way.

Last thing on the day's agenda was seeing the hospital's cardiologist for surical clearance. He was a great guy. Did and EKG and an ultrasound of my heart. I got my medical clearance. Oh, I forgot to mention, after my x-rays, Dr. Su wanted to meet me. The exhange was great, and he was everything I expected after all my research. As I was waiting for Dr. Su to enter the small examination room, I had another funny moment. Dr. Su had a paper towel dispenser with some kind of over-sensitive infrared motion detector. So almost everytime I moved a section of paper towels would dispense out. The paper kept coming. I did not want Dr. Su to think I was playing with his paper towels. But everytime I approached the dispenser to clean up the mess, even more paper towels would come out. It kind of reminded me
of an old episode Of "I LOVE LUCY."

More later, Vince

I checked into the Belaire this afternoon. Very nice room with tall ceilings and all marble bathroom, and there is no tax charged on the room because of the hospital connection. I go to surgery prep at 10:00 AM tomorrow. Surgery is at 1:00 PM. At the moment I am at Café Luka two blocks away. The Matzah Ball soup is very good.


HSS just revised their dietary rules. Light dinner the evening before. In the morning of surgery day you may have some jello or broth. A booklet with details will be given to you during the mandatory educational class.

Best wishes, Vince

They just put in the IV. Beautiful view of the river. Doctors will see me one last time here before wheeling me to the OR. I guess I better say goodbye for now. Will chime tomorrow-will be spending the night in Recovery I am told.


The bilateral operation was a success. So far so good. I was taken from Recovery to my room (#829) at about 4:00AM. I awoke in Recovery at 6PM. Bilats are supposed to spend the whole night in Recovery, but by midnight I was already drinking gingerale and cranberry juice, one of each.. I could move my feet and
rotate my ankles with absolutley no pain. But not so fast. I was wondering what the pillows were doing under my blanket. Hark, those were not pillows. Those dead fluffy things were my thighs, etc. Two spinal blocks were put in (in addition to the epidural). Tricky anaestesiologist! Well, the blocks are fading now, so it is time for percocet, mobic, and nexium. I took three steps forward and three steps backward using a walker--and that was with numb quadracepts. When standing and walking the new hip joints felt very stable. I am so thankful. More later. I will have some more funny stories for you.

Best wishes,
Vince DePalma
Bilateral-Edwin Su-8-22-08

What can I say? I am very thankful. In a nutshell it is 7 days post op and I walked several blocks (on crutches) to a Mexican restaurant and had a margharita with my surgeon, Dr. Edwin Su. Can you believe it? I am walking, having a margharita and dinner with my doc in New York City just seven days after my bilateral? After dinner as Dr. Su and I were walking back to the Belaire, he remarked, "You are walking very well." I responded, "Yea, I had a good doc, want his name?"

PS. Dr Su asekd me to stay in NYC for a week following my bilateral surgery. He does not want me flying for a week (to avoid blood clots).


My bilat was on Aug 22. I few back to Seattle on Saturday, Aug 30. I stayed at the Belaire after my discharge. Dr. Su had my staples removed on Friday, Aug 29th. So I did not have to sit on my staples during my flight home. Wear you TEDS when traveling and flex your calf muscles often to avoid clots. I would call the car service ahead of time and get their advice. Probably best to make the reservation.

You'll have free wifi at the HSS and at the Belaire, so bring your laptop or blackberry and stay in touch.

If you decide to have a bilateral, you will need to schedule medical clearance appointment with the HSS assigned cardiologist. Mine was Dr. Warshaurer and his office is a mile away from the hospital. You can take the HSS Courtesy Van or a hail a cab for that office visit. If your wife will be with you during prescreening you both will be attending the mandatory informational class. There she and you will be briefed as to everything you will need to know. At the airport you can avoid the long waiting line for a taxicab by calling ahead for a car (www.dial7.com or 212-777-7777). The car costs only a few dollars more than a cab.

Best wishes,
Vince DePalma
Bilateral BRH Dr. Su 08-22-08


Tips from David Levy - Dr. Su patient 4/1/10

I had my left hip done by Dr. Su in October and my right will be done in a few eeks. I will tell you what I recollect, but I strongly suggest, since you sound ike you have some particular concerns about it, that you call his office 212
606 1128. He has the friendliest, most efficient and user-friendly office of any octor I know. In my experience, anyone who answers the phone can answer basic uestions, and they will quickly suggest someone else if it is out of their eague. If you ask for Blaire Biase, his PA, she can answer almost any question nd is wonderfully helpful.

I remember that the day before surgery, I had to switch to a no-fiber, diet basically, eating food that will not move through your system on its own for a ew days). I forget what time I had to stop eating, but I think it was after dinner.  fter that, just clear liquids until a few hours from surgery. Yes, they do equire an enema the night before, which is really no big deal, and you wash your hip nd surrounding areas with a special antibacterial sponge. I do not think there as a stool softener, unless later, after returning from the hospital after urgery.

The Hospital for Special Surgery runs like clockwork, including the food ervice. A food service representative will come to your room after surgery and o through your menu choices in detail. I did not have any special needs, but
I'm sure they can accommodate special diets of all kinds. If you have any oncerns, again, talk to Dr. Su's office and put to rest any anxieties you may ave.

The first day after surgery it was liquid diet, including juice, broth, jello, tc. But soon it moved to more normal foods. I have a big appetite, but I never elt deprived in the hospital--I just wasn't that hungry.

I want to tell you that it was the best hospital experience I have ever had. The urgery, while tricky for many surgeons, is done by one of the world's great asters, and you can be confident it will go extremely well. I felt great in the ecovery room, and for the next few days I was always pretty comfortable--they anage the pain so well that it was nothing, just sore when I stood up or moved, ut I was pretty comfortable in bed most of the time. the staff was responsive hen I needed something. When I went home, I had a prescription for pain
medicine, and never needed any of it.



Tips for significant other from Karen – Bilateral Dr. Su patient


Just asked my husband, since it's all fresh in his mind.

He recommends a good book or reading materials for all the waiting times. (Or her laptop, there's wifi in family waiting area).

Vince was out of recovery in record time (4 am, I believe), but I wasn't moved to my room until after lunch the day after surgery. I saw my husband for just a few minutes when I woke from surgery at 6 pm, but not again till the afternoon the day following. Be sure she brings you your cell or PDA when she sees you in recovery, so you have access to the outside world and to communicate with her if your move to a room is delayed like mine was.

On the HSS website there's lists of nearby restaurants, good ones. She should print that out. Though the hospital's food is great, she'll enjoy trying some of the terrific restaurants nearby while you're still on the jello and liquid diet on the day after post op. Besides, it's great to walk around the upper east side!!

One of the best tips was in Peggy Gabriel's book....be sure to take in a plastic garbage bag with you to help to slide into bed. Place it on the bed and sit/lie on it when you get back into bed at the hospital. It helps you to slide in easier and keeps the hospital sheets from scraping against your sutures. Just slip it out from under you when you're back in bed and tie it on the bed rail for the next time you climb back in.

The nurses at HSS are some of the finest I've met, but they are also very busy. Don't be shy about reminding them a second time if they forgot to bring your requested pain medicine, or if they didn't show up after you buzzed them for help to the bathroom. Once that catheter is out, getting to the bathroom on time becomes an important concern that first day! :-).

Forget about modesty. I spent two days trying to cover my backside every time I got up. By the time I left, I just didn't give a hoot. The nurses have seen thousands of behinds. (You've got enough to think about to worry about an accidental flashing or two)

Also, be sure you hang onto those ear plugs in the HSS kit they give you after surgery (to quiet noise). You may end up with a snoring roommate. They saved my sleep!!! You may even want to take your own in case you can't sleep in recovery.

You're almost there!! I'm so excited for you.

Karen G
Dr. Su - BHR Bilateral - 08/29/08

Tips from Manoo on pre-surgery appointment - Bilateral Dr. Su patient

RE: [surfacehippy] Re: Dr.Su

Dear Donna,

I would be happy to answer your questions. This was my itinerary:

1:00--labwork (this is when you also do pre-surgery registration); xrays (radiology)
2:30--visit Dr. Su
4:00--catch Amtrak to return to DC

The cardiologist appointment ran over a bit. The labwork went okay, but the radiology visit never materialized. I got to radiology at 2:00 and still had not been called by 2:45. I called Laura, and she promptly got and came me and had xrays taken at Dr. Su's officer. I left Dr. Su's officer at 3:10, caught a ca at 3:15, and, after the cab ride of my life, got to Penn Station at 3:55, five minutes before my train was to depart.

Looking back at things, I probably would liked to have gotten the labwork/xrays out of the way earlier in the day--but you may not have much control over such things. I probably also should have given myself more time and made train reservation for 5:00 instead of 4.

As for my conversations with Dr. Su, I did not have any questions for him. We mostly discussed the mechanical particulars of my hip and whether to do the one painful hip or both hips. We know he uses the posterior approach and the Birmingham prosthetic. I also did not bother engaging him in a theoretical discussion on cemented versus uncemented; I just did not see the utility of that. And, more importantly, I did not have time.

Let me know whether I can answer more questions.

Thanks, Manoo

December 23, 2008

RE: [surfacehippy] Total cost to have surgery with Dr. Su out of state?


Dear David,

I am another one of Dr. Su's bilateral (and very satisfied) patients. I flew in from St. Louis, Missouri. My pre-op was on a Tuesday, surgery on a Friday. If you can avoid this time lag, do.
Instead of staying at the Belaire before surgery and paying for three nights (Monday--Wednesday), I went back and forth on the train from DC to NY, and checked in only on Thursday. My brother lives in DC, so it was very convenient. I was very happy with Belaire. It is clean and very conveniently located, to the hospital as well as all the eateries. I paid $339/night. I had a relative with me for the entire week. My brother and dad tag-teamed for the entire nine nights that I was in NY. My dad, being the generous person that he is, paid for half of our stay, I paid for the other half.
I left NY city on the following Saturday. If you're a bilateral, plan on staying there at least a week. That time will give your body a chance to heal before flying, and will allow Dr. Su to remove your staples. Vince, another bilateral, was able to go home in less than a week. He can share his experience with you as well. Flying after a week was quite manageable. Coming from Boston, your flight time will be minimal.

Karen mentioned the Burke Rehab facility in White Plains, NY. It is a great facility from what I understand, but note that you may not need it. I didn't need it. And you will not know whether you need it until after surgery. Rehab starts the day of or the day after surgery. It consists mainly of walking with the walker and then the elbow crutches twice a day, everyday. I left the hospital the following Wednesday and continued my rehab with the rehab facility that's part of the HSS. It is connected to Belaire by a tunnel, another reason to stay at the Belaire. I was very happy with my rehab.
You cannot go wrong with Dr. Su. I knew my hips were fixed when I came to after surgery. I just had this very strong intuition. My recovery to date confirms that intuition. I had no discharge from either of my incisions; stapes were removed on day 4; and I also had no pain. I discontinued all pain medication on day 4, and I have not taken anything since then. I dispenses with both crutches after 4 weeks; I did not need to transition to one crutch and then to a cane. I am now swimming and walking in water 6 times a week, at pre-surgery intensity. My physical therapist is still in disbelief as to my strength and range of motion. I never miss the opportunity to tell her, "this is why I went to NY."
Call or email me if you have any other questions.

Please say hi to Dr. Su.



Tips from Ben - Bilateral Dr. Su patient

Valuables are catalogued and signed for at check in on the day of surgery. Then the security guard puts them in a safe. Non-valuables follow you around.

No cash is needed, but they do recommend keeping one credit card handy for TV after postop. I didn't really use it though, and you can always call for valuables when you are in recovery. The hospital is very good about security. Also, you can make free phone calls out from recovery, but you can't recieve any in. Once you are transferred out of recovery and into you regular room, then people can call you on your bedside phone.

Everything is going to be alright!

Dr. Su LBHR 9-11-08
RBHR Nov or Dec


December 23,  2008

Re: Total cost to have surgery with Dr. Su out of state?

I had both of my hips done by Dr. Su, three months apart. I fly in from
Minneapolis, MN at a cost of around $350. I flew into JFK. The cost of a taxi from JFK to anywhere in Manhattan is $45 plus bridge tolls.
Roughly $50 all told. I don't know the taxi price from Laguardia. Preop I stayed on the west side of Manhattan at the Broadway Hostel. The cost was a little less than $50 dollars a night. The beds may be a little hard, but the place is very clean and freindly. They are located at 101 and Broadway. Taxi from Broadway to HSS--about ten bucks if it's busy. After surgery I stayed at the Bellaire, Which was around $350 per night. I wish I had stayed at the Helmsley tower my second trip so that I could write a comparison between the two. I do know that the Bellaire does not have an ice machine, so it was rather difficult to get ice for my legs after I had been discharged from the hospital. The sports rehab facility downstairs gave me some, but one guy was rather reluctant about it.
I hope that helps some, and good luck with your surgery. Dr. Su and HSS is the best!

Dr. Su LBHR 9-11-08
RBHR 12-5-08