On the day of your operation, you need to do some things including stopping eating for a few hours. Your nurse will do some checks and your anaesthetist will give you an anaesthetic.
If you have any questions about your operation, the nurses can arrange for a member of the surgical team to come and talk to you. You sign a consent form for the operation if you didn't do it at the pre assessment clinic.
You might have a drip (intravenous infusion) put into your arm before your surgery so that you can have fluids through it. This makes sure you are not dehydrated before your operation.
A few hours before
Your nurse will check your blood pressure, pulse and breathing rate.
The nurse will go through a series of questions on a checklist to make sure you are ready for surgery. They ask you to:
- tell them when you last had something to eat and drink
- change into a hospital gown
- put on a pair of surgical stockings
- take off any jewellery (except for a wedding ring)
- remove contact lenses if you have them
- put on 2 hospital identification bands usually on each wrist
If you have false teeth you can usually keep them in until you get to the anaesthetic room.
For some types of surgery, you’ll need to shave the skin over the operation area. Or your nurse can shave it for you. They might do this when you’re under anaesthetic in the operating room.
Medicine to relax
Your nurse might give you a tablet or an injection to help you relax. This will be an hour or so before you go to the operating theatre. This makes your mouth feel dry but you can rinse your mouth with water to keep it moist.
If you've had medicine to help you relax your nurse and a porter take you to theatre on a trolley. You can walk down to the theatre if you haven't had any.
Having an anaesthetic
You have an anaesthetic so that you can’t feel anything during the operation. You have this in the anaesthetic room, next to the operating theatre.
All the doctors and nurses wear theatre gowns, hats and masks. This reduces your chance of getting an infection.
You usually have the operation under general anaesthetic or spinal anaesthetic.
A general anaesthetic means that you will be in a deep sleep. When you wake up, the operation will be over.
A spinal anaesthetic makes you numb from the waist down. This means that you will be awake but won't feel the operation being done.
When you wake up from surgery
After the operation, you usually wake up in the recovery room. Once it’s safe to do so, you usually go back to the ward.