before surgery

Important instructions to make sure you are fit for your surgery

Please note that not following these instructions could result in last-minute cancellation of your surgery. Please contact us if you have any queries in relation to this admission.

What to do if you are not able to attend or if you are unwell?

Please call the contact number above if you are unable to attend or if you are unwell (e.g. a cold, flu, diarrhoea, high temperature, urine infection, or chest infection). Please also contact us beforehand if you have sustained a recent injury, wound, burn or insect bite on the limb being operated on. Leave a message with your name, your hospital number, and your contact phone number if we are unable to answer your call.

Looking after your hands

Please continue your normal regime for personal care of your hands (e.g. washing and moisturisation). Try to avoid any heavy manual work immediately prior to your surgery or any activities where you might hurt your hands or damage your skin. We advise you to take a shower or bath on the morning of or the night before admission. Your hands should be clean on the day of surgery including beneath the tips of your nails. Loose artificial nails and nail polish should be removed ideally. However, if you choose to keep them on, be aware that they may be damaged during the course of surgery and the subsequent rehabilitation period. All rings and bracelets must be removed from the hand being operated on. Soap or grease may help with this, but if they are too tight and cannot be removed, please make arrangements with a local jeweller to have them cut-off professionally and resized.

Taking your regular medication

If you are having a general or regional anaesthetic…

please contact us if you are unclear on whether to stop taking oral contraceptives or medication that thins your blood. If you are taking medication for diabetes, you must discuss this with the pre-operative assessment team who are overseeing your admission, as they will need to make specific arrangements. You should continue any other medication not listed above.

If you are having a local anaesthetic…

you may continue taking all your regular medications including oral contraceptives, medicines for diabetes and blood thinning agents, unless you have been instructed otherwise by your surgical team. Please be aware that if you are on blood thinning agents and normally have your INR checked at regular intervals, this should be under 3 on the day of surgery. While this can be checked on the day of surgery, we advise you discuss with the anticoagulation team who usually supervise your treatment whether your INR can be tested the day before surgery. In instances where your target INR is above 3, you will need to contact your surgeon's secretary to discuss this further.

Starving Instructions

For patients scheduled to have an operation under local anaestheticat any time of day:

  • you may eat and drink normally
  • we advise you refrain from eating too heavily or drinking carbonated beverages, in case you feel uncomfortable lying down for surgery.

For patients scheduled to have an operation in the morning under general or regional anaesthetic:

  • do not consume anything except water after 02:00am on the day of surgery
  • clear water may be drunk until an hour before surgery.

For patients scheduled to have an operation in the afternoon under general or regional anaesthetic:

  • you may have a normal breakfast before 07:30am on the morning of surgery
  • do not consume anything except water after 07:30am on the day of surgery
  • clear water may be drunk until an hour before surgery.

What to bring with you

Please bring all your medication/inhalers, a dressing gown, slippers, small change and a book or other suitable pastime. If you are staying awake for your surgery (e.g. local or regional anaesthesia), you may wish to bring some music and headphones to listen to. There may be a tablet device available on the day of surgery for you to choose from a small selection of movies or TV shows; you will need to bring your own headphones. Please do not bring alcohol or smoking paraphernalia into hospital; in fact you should try to stop smoking before surgery, as it can double your chances of a complication. We recommend you do not smoke or consume alcohol on the day of surgery. Do not bring valuables (including jewellery) or large amounts of money. The hospital cannot be held responsible for any losses or damage to valuables. Do not wear make-up, and remove any body piercings if possible.