How to prepare for surgery

Preparing for surgery can include; taking care of your health, learning as much as you can about the procedure and getting to know the people who will be taking care of you. Planning ahead can help ensure you have a successful procedure, lower stress levels and on top of that, help you heal faster with a smooth recovery.

Pre Assessment Clinic

It is important you understand everything about your operation, together with possible complications and side effects. This will be done through an outpatient appointment or a pre-assessment with your surgeon and specialist nurse. You will have a chance to ask any questions or let them know about any worries you may have. Furthermore they may give you written information about the surgery, and about any preparation you may need to do.

Tests to check you are fit for surgery 

Before any operation you need to have some tests to make sure you are well enough to have the anaesthetic, operation and if you will make a good recovery after surgery. You may have only a few of the tests below or all of them depending on your situation. 

Blood Tests  This will show if you have any medical problems that may need to be treated before surgery begins, whether you might need special care during or after and if there is any risk of anything going wrong. 

ECG
Electrocardiogram

This checks the health of your heart.  
The test is done by using small sticky pads that are placed on your chest with wires attached. Your heart beat is shown as an electrical trace on a screen.

Urine Tests

This is to check that your kidneys are working normally and if there are any infections. You may also have a pregnancy test. 

Chest X- Ray 

To check the health of your lungs and to check for infections. 

Scans/X-Ray

You may need scans or x-rays to check the position and size of your cancer, and whether it has spread. 

Cardio Pulmonary Exercise Test

 A test to check your lung and heart function when resting and exercising. 

Breathing Tests

Lung function tests to check your lung health. 

Take Swabs 

This normally taken from your nose but can include other parts of your body. This is to check for a bacteria called MRSA.

 

Prehabilitation 

Looking after yourself can lead to a successful surgery and a shorter recovery time. This can be done through physical fitness, healthy eating and managing your weight. The risk of complications such as blood clots and slow healing wounds will be reduced. 

The waiting time for surgery can become overwhelming by thoughts of being scared, worried or anxious. No matter how you feel, and whether or not you have a date for your surgery, there are things that you can do now that could make a big difference. There’s lots of research to show that doing these things could help you get home from hospital sooner and make a better recovery after your surgery.

Physical Health  Your heart and lungs will have to work harder after an operation to help your body to heal. Regular exercise makes your heart and lungs stronger, so they’ll be in the best possible shape to help you heal. 
Healthy Eating
Improving your diet before your surgery improves immune health, reduces your risk of infection and provides your body with the nutrients it needs for tissue healing. 
Managing your Weight 

Overweight - Increases the risk of breathing problems, blood clots, infections, slower recovery and longer hospital stays. Even losing a little weight before the operation will help reduce these risks.

Underweight - Can also increase risks from surgery and slow down the rate at which you recover. If you’ve been poorly then you may have lost your appetite causing your body to lose calories and nutrients it needs to be able to recover probably. 

 

Consent Form 

Before you have any operation you need to sign a consent form. This is a written agreement between you and the surgeon, saying that you give permission for them to do the operation. 

For the consent to be valid it must include:

  • The decision to either consent or not to consent to treatment must be made you, and must not be influenced by pressure from medical staff, friends or family.
  • You must be given all of the information about what the surgery involves, including the benefits and risks. 
  • You must be capable of giving consent, which means you understand the information given to you and can use it to make an informed decision. 

 Before you sign the form your surgeon may explain the examples below.

  • why you need the operation
  • whether you have any other treatment options
  • what the aim of the surgery is
  • how they will do the surgery
  • any risks or complications
  • possible side effects of the surgery and whether they are short or long term

You may also see a specialist nurse who can help you go over the details again, and help answer any questions. Followed by signing the consent form, but only when you fully understand. 

For more tips read - 'How to Make your Stay in Hospital Comfortable'