Decision to operate – weeks or months before the operation
- The decision is made to carry out an operation with your consent when you are seen in a clinic which is run by the operating surgeon or another surgeon.
- You may be given an information leaflet about your operation.
Pre-operative assessment – days or weeks before the operation
- You will receive a letter with an appointment for the operation and for an assessment prior to the operation with a specialist nurse
- The nurse will carry out a detailed assessment, including your fitness, medical conditions, medication and allergies. Depending on your medical history, you or your notes may also be assessed by a consultant anaesthetist before the operation if required.
- At this stage, blood may be taken and investigations carried out (e.g. an ECG, X-ray, Echocardiogram as needed), and you will be given fasting instructions, medication and smoking cessation advice as applicable and information about your anaesthetic.
Admission to hospital – on the day of the operation
- You will come to the hospital on the day of your operation (usually at 7:00-am if the operation is in the morning, and at 12:00-midday if the operation is in the afternoon).
- In few selected cases patients may be admitted to the hospital on the day before the operation.
- Parking is available in the visitor’s car park.
Before the operation
- On the day of the operation, you will formally be consented by the surgeon if not done yet within the last 4 weeks.
- You will also be assessed by your anaesthetist who will look at your medical conditions, previous anaesthetics and operations, medication and allergies, teeth and airway problems, exercise tolerance, vital signs, blood results, other investigations etc. The anaesthetist will then discuss and explain the most appropriate type of anaesthetic (e.g. General, Spinal or Regional Anaesthesia) and possible side effects and consent you verbally.
- You will then wait in the admissions lounge or on the ward to be called for your operation. If necessary anaesthetic cream can be applied to your hands or arms for the insertion of a drip in the anaesthetic room. Please keep your hands and arms warm or warm them up (with gloves or warm water).
The operation & anaesthetic
- You will be taken to the operating department and a checklist completed prior to the operation. You may have to wait in a holding bay / area for a short while before you are taken to the anaesthetic room. You will be asked to remove jewellery, piercings, glasses, bands and artificial teeth.
- In the anaesthetic room routine monitoring will be attached to you (e.g. blood pressure, heart trace and oxygen saturation in the blood). Then an intravenous cannula will be inserted and a drip with fluids attached to it. The drip will also be used to give anaesthetic drugs for a general anaesthesia or regional anaesthesia.
- When the anaesthetic is complete you will be taken into the operating theatre where the operation is carried out. Your anaesthetist will look after you at all times. Your body will be protected from pressure sores, body warmers, stockings and compression devices will be applied to prevent problems.
- You will also be given further medication as needed (e.g. anaesthetic gas, intravenous narcotics, pain killers, anti-sickness drugs).
- After the operation you will either wake up in the operating theatre or in the recovery room. However, you might not remember it.
Recovery room – after the operation
- A nurse will facilitate your recovery from the anaesthetic and operation and look after you at all times. You will be monitored (e.g. blood pressure, oxygen saturation in the blood, blood loss, urine output etc.) and warmed if needed.
- Additional pain killers and anti-sickness or anti-shivering medication will be prescribed, and you should request them if needed.
Aftercare and discharge home – after the operation
- You may go home after the operation or stay in hospital for one night or a few days depending on your medical condition, fitness, social situation and the extent of your operation.
- After daycase surgery you need to stay for up to 2-3 hours and will be offered refreshments. You need to be taken home and looked after overnight (for 24 hours after the operation) by a partner, relative, carer or friend in case of any unexpected problems.
- You will be given information about the recovery process (e.g. eating, drinking, mobilisation) , follow-up arrangements, a sickness certificate if needed and contact details of the hospital. You may also be given pain killers to take home and other medication as appropriate for your operation.
- Do not operate any machinery, drive a car or sign any legal documents for 24 hours after the operation and anaesthetic because judgement and concentration may be affected.