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Getting Ready For Surgery


The consenting process aims to be enable you to understand your problem; the treatment options available (including non-operative) and the risks and benefits of the planned surgery.  This understanding allows you to decide whether or not you wish to go ahead.  While surgery is generally very safe, there are of course risks that need to be considered for any procedure and sadly no operation can ensure a 100% success rate.  We go through your initial consent in the clinic and this will be confirmed on your day of surgery.  We recognise that it is hard to retain all the information given to you in clinic.  In the time between your clinic and your operation, you may want to reflect on your decision and find out more about what's involved in the surgery and what to expect after it.  This  website aims to allow you to do this, but do please ask if there remains anything you don't understand! 


A pre-assessment appointment will be arranged for you. During your pre-assessment appointment, a specialist nurse will go through a health questionnaire with you and you may require other tests such as: blood tests, heart tracing (ECG) and a chest x-ray.  Some patients need further test or treatment of medical health problems before we can safely undertake surgery.  Your safety is paramount so, where necessary, these extra investigations or specialist consultations must take place before we can carry out your operation.

Microbiology swabs will be taken (normally from your mouth and nose) to identify any high-risk bacteria carriage, such as MRSA.  In the UK fewer than 10% of healthy people carry this bacteria in their skin.  If you do carry MRSA, treatment to clear this may need to happen before your operation.  Occasionally, MRSA carriage will change where your operation can be performed.

Smoking can increase your risk of complications around the anaesthetic and fro the operation itself.  If you do smoke, it is normally a great idea to quit or reduce your smoking.  E-cigarrettes are less harmful than normal cigarrettes, but quitting is the best option. 

If you take certain medications (e.g. blood thinners such as: Warfarin or Rivaroxiban, Apixiban or Clopidogrel) you may be asked to stop these several days before your surgery. If you are in any doubt, please ask and we will advise which medications should be continued.  Most other routine medications continue as normal.

Preparing Your Home

Food and shopping - you may want to stock up the larder and freezer so you don't have to worry about shopping or cooking for the first week or so after your operation. Many supermarkets now offer home delivery of groceries that can be managed online.  If you are not currently registered with them, this may be a simple way of making your life easier after your operation.   Remember that you may not be able to drive for a few weeks after your operation, so you can't have your groceries delivered the make sure a friend or a relative is able to help you. 

Clothing - if you operation requires you to wear a sling for some time after your surgery, try to make sure you have some comfortable clothes that are simple to put on and take off.

Washing and personal hygiene after your surgery - you will need to keep clean, but you also need to protect your surgical wounds.  In general, it's a good idea to stock up on wet-wipes or flannels. 

Keyhole surgery - you can normally shower carefully (keep your waterproof dressings on and avoid soaking the surgical area) after four days from your operation.

Open Surgery - you will need to keep your wound clean, dry and covered with a dressing for two weeks.