Before your surgery
The time before your surgery is an important opportunity to
ensure that you are as healthy as possible prior to surgery so that
your recovery will be much improved, as well as ensuring that
everything at home is organised prior to your surgery. You would
not expect to embark upon an event such as a fun run or marathon
without getting as fit as possible and the same principles apply to
For patients with chronic health issues such as anaemia, high
blood pressure or Diabetes, it is a good idea to see your GP to
ensure that your condition is optimised and that you have adequate
medication prior to surgery.
At this time, there are 'Six Basic Steps to Success' that we
need to address. These are:
- Blood count/ Anaemia . Make sure that your blood count is
normal. If it is low, you will be asked to take iron tablets to
boost it up.
- Diabetes. If you are diabetic it is important that this is well
controlled. You can help this by sticking to a diabetic diet and
sometimes it may be necessary to see your GP to adjust your
medication to achieve the best possible control.
- Blood Pressure. If you have high blood pressure, this needs to
be well controlled and again it may be necessary for your GP to
adjust your tablets to help this.
- Smoking. If you are a smoker, this would be a good time to give
up the habit. It will not be easy but your GP will have ways of
helping you. You could also try the Stop Smoking NHS Helpline or
internet site. Stopping smoking is important as it would help your
lungs work better during and after your operation.
Nutrition: At pre op assessment your nutritional status will be
assessed. Measurements include; weight, height, body mass
index and if you have had any unintentional weight loss.
Based on this assessment you will be advised if you are underweight
or overweight and the appropriate advice will be given. In
general most patients do not need to change their diet dramatically
before surgery. You are advised to follow a healthy balanced
Exercise. Being active and taking regular exercise in the weeks
leading up to your operation will greatly benefit your heart and
lungs and help your body cope with the effects of surgery much
better. It also means that your muscles are in a better condition
and will help you resume these activity levels easier and quicker
after your operation. Ideally you should aim to walk 30 minutes
every day, but if you have not been used to exercising regularly,
you can gradually build up to this sort of level of activity and
some people may have to settle for less.
Also we would suggest that arrangements are made for your
surgery and recovery with regard to your post-operative care, This
may include making arrangements with your husband/ partner for
work, child care (school run) , pet care (including walking) ,
housework and looking after dependent relatives both during the few
days of your admission and the weeks after discharge.
You will need to check with your insurance company with regard
to when you can return to driving post operatively.
Following the decision to embark upon surgery an appointment
will be made for you to attend thePre-opSchool. This is a group
meeting and you will be expected to attend this appointment ideally
with your partner or planned principal carer.
At this appointment we will advise you on the
general anaesthetic and surgery that is planned as well as what to
expect on your admission, the day of surgery and post operatively
both on the ward and following your discharge to allow you to plan
your recovery. You will also receive important information about
post-operative physiotherapy and exercise and nutrition and what
you can reasonably expect to be able to do following surgery
Following your attendance at the "pre-op school" you will have
an appointment with the pre op nurse. This is an individual/
private appointment where your individual needs, medical history,
operation type and personal circumstance will be documented and
discussed as well as an assessment made for your anaesthetic
requirement's and risks.
Your pre-op nurse will discuss the procedures for your admission
as well as your planned discharge date, She will organise essential
investigations as required that may include a Blood count, Chest X
rays and Heart tracings, you will be screened for infections such
as MRSA. If it is required she will organise for you to see an
anaesthetist before your surgery.
The Nurse will also advise you on your risk of thrombosis (a
blood clot in your leg or chest) and advise you on the need for
prophylactic stockings and blood thinning injections.
You will also be issued with nutritional energy drinks to be
consumed before surgery to give your body the energy to recover
more quickly and to reduce dehydration.
Depending on the surgery some patients may require an enema
before surgery and this will be prescribed for you at this
appointment with advice.