Surgical Services

Patient-focused and Progressive

According to the American Board of Surgery, “General Surgery is a discipline that requires knowledge of and familiarity with a broad spectrum of diseases that may require surgical treatment.”

Our surgical specialists from Surgical Associates of Ithaca, Dr. David Schwed, and Dr. Wade Bollinger have a breadth of surgical experience that is unmatched in this region, and are committed to the well-being of those who entrust their care to them. Their goal is to provide patients with prompt, state-of-the-art care in a comfortable, supportive environment.

Surgical Associates has provided comprehensive, safe surgical care for more than half a century. They take as much pride in rendering thoughtful consultations as they do in their superb surgical technique.

Surgical Associates’ doctors are qualified in all aspects of general surgery, including:

  • Thoracic (chest)
  • Gastrointestinal (digestive)
  • Colon
  • Biliary tract (liver, gallbladder, pancreas)
  • Bariatric (surgery for obesity)
  • Breast
  • Thyroid and parathyroid
  • Skin
  • Soft tissue

Surgical Associates physicians have special expertise in advanced laparoscopic (minimally invasive) procedures, including hernia surgery; surgical endocrinology (glands), intensive care, and nutrition.

*Note: Some major surgeries may need to be performed at Cayuga Medical Center, rather than Schuyler Hospital.

Surgical Specialists

Surgical Specialties

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Whether you are having same-day surgery or are staying overnight at the medical center, you need to go through pre-admission. We do this to ensure that you are ready for surgery before the day of your operation.

Making your appointment

  • Your doctor’s office will call the medical center for you to set up your pre-admission appointment. We schedule pre-admission appointments Monday-Friday, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Your pre-admission appointment and testing should be completed within seven days of your surgery.

Pre-admission testing

  • Your doctor will perform a health history and physical examination during an office visit prior to your pre-admission appointment. Then, depending on the procedure you’re having, your doctor will order one or all of the following tests to be performed during your pre-admission appointment at the medical center: -blood tests (which require a needle stick)
    • EKG
    • chest x-ray.

During the pre-admission interview

During your pre-admission appointment, the nurse will discuss with you

  • instructions for the day and evening prior to your surgery
  • how and when you will be discharged
  • planning for home-care services if you need them following surgery

Your pre-admission nurse will also review a pre-surgery checklist with you and make sure that you have arranged for transportation to and from your surgery.

What you should bring to your pre-admission appointment

  • a list of your current medications and the dosage
  • the anesthesia questionnaire from your physician’s office
  • your health insurance cards
  • a list of your prior surgeries
  • a copy of your living will, health care proxy, or power of attorney for your medical record

At Cayuga Medical Center and Surgicare, only board-certified anesthesiologists administer anesthesia. By way of contrast, many hospitals have systems whereby a single anesthesiologist may supervise a number of nurse anesthetists in different rooms who are administering patient anesthesia.

  • To ensure maximum control and patient safety, we only recruit anesthesiologists who perform their own anesthesia. We have ten anesthesiologists on staff.
  • One anesthesiologist will take care of you from beginning to end, which increases safety and provides continuity for each patient.
  • There are many choices regarding the specific anesthesia to be used. This decision is made jointly by you and your anesthesiologist with input from your surgeon, so that the anesthesia choice is appropriate for you and the anesthetic plan addresses your individual concerns.

More about Anesthesia

Patients typically have lots of questions for their anesthesiologists. Here, anesthesiologist Dr. Mattison Burt answers some of the most frequently asked questions.

What is anesthesia?

Anesthesia is the loss of sensation using medication and is a crucial part of the surgical experience. The anesthetized patient is not physically aware of the surgical procedure. Anesthesia can be administered in a number of ways. Under general anesthesia, the patient is completely unconscious. Regional and local anesthesias target specific areas of the body affected by the surgery; the patient is awake but typically sedated.

How do you determine the appropriate type of anesthesia?

The type of anesthesia depends largely on the surgical procedure being performed. General anesthesia is typically used for surgery of the chest, abdomen, brain, and spine, as well as for major breast surgery and laparoscopic removal of the gallbladder or appendix. Regional anesthesia, which allows us to anesthetize or “block” specific nerves, is used for a wide variety of surgeries ranging from joint repair and replacement to hernia repair and cesarean section.

Will the anesthesia make me sick?

Studies show that the primary fear people have about receiving anesthesia is that it will make them nauseous and want to vomit. (The fear of pain is secondary, interestingly.) However, there have been significant advances in anti-nausea medications we use to prevent and treat nausea following surgery and anesthesia. We are also better at identifying risk factors that may indicate a higher incidence of nausea and vomiting. Among these are patients undergoing abdominal laparoscopic surgery and people having procedures that require a high amount of narcotic for pain control.

What are some of the important advances in anesthesia?

By far the most important are those that have increased the safety of administering anesthesia. The risk of death or significant injury from anesthesia is extremely low with technology such as pulse oxymetry, which continually measures the level of oxygen in the patient’s blood, and capnography, which measures the patient’s exhaled carbon dioxide. This helps confirm the proper placement of breathing devices that secure the patient’s airway. Automation in the operating room, such as automated blood pressure, electrocardiograms, and other technologies, provide continuous updated information about the patient.

Another important advance is the expanded use of regional anesthesia (nerve blocks), which minimizes the undesirable effects of general anesthesia. Nerve blocks can last for several hours after surgery, giving the patient significant pain relief after the procedure. The result is that patients need less pain medication and their regimen of pain medication is shorter. A considerable amount of surgery performed at Cayuga Medical Center and Surgicare is done with regional anesthesia.

What is the role of sedation in regional anesthesia?

The medications used to sedate patients who receive regional anesthesia are easily tolerated, short acting, and they clear from the body quickly, usually with minor after-affects. Most patients are sedated with nerve blocks. Sedation makes the patient comfortable and relaxed while the surgeon is working. These medicines have a calming effect and they also allow the patient to lie in what might otherwise be an uncomfortable position without feeling discomfort. Some of these sedatives also have amnesic properties; the patient can be awake during the procedure but may not remember it. A small number of patients choose to observe their surgery, typically shoulder or knee arthroscopy, and they ask not to be sedated. This allows them to watch the procedure on the video monitor.

In summary, the new anesthesia and sedation medications are more focused and their properties are intended to work in very specific ways with fewer side affects. I believe regional anesthesia is under utilized in many medical centers. We use regional anesthesia whenever possible at Cayuga Medical Center and Surgicare, which I think has a genuine benefit for our patients.