What you can do to help

Helping yourself

  • Get a little fitter. Even a regular walk will work wonders.
  • Don’t smoke – ideally, give it up six weeks before surgery.
  • Drink less alcohol.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Try to lose a little weight if you are overweight. Vitamin supplements may be appropriate.
  • Consider trying relaxation exercises or tapes – they may be helpful.
  • Continue to take any drugs that have been prescribed, but remember to tell your anaesthetist and surgeon.
  • If you are taking aspirin, consult your surgeon or anaesthetist about whether or not you should stop taking it two weeks before surgery.
  • If you are taking oral contraceptives, keep taking them, but tell your surgeon and anaesthetist.
  • If you have any serious health problem(s), contact your anaesthetist or surgeon to see whether or not you need additional or different medicine or whether you need to see another specialist for a check-up before your procedure.
  • If you have a cold or flu in the week before surgery, then contact your anaesthetist or surgeon to find out if your anaesthetic and procedure or operation should be postponed.
  • If you are anxious and have any questions, contact your anaesthetist to discuss them, or make an appointment to see him or her before admission.
  • Learn about what is to be done. Talk to a friend or someone who has been through the procedure. Go to the library or check the Internet. Some recommended links are provided on this website.

 Helping your child

  • Tell your child what is to happen. Above all, tell the truth.
  • Remember that the length of preparation depends on a child’s age. Children under four years require a few hours’ preparation. Those aged four to six need a day or two, while children over six may require several days to a week.
  • Your child will sense your anxiety, so you and your partner will need to have your questions answered by the anaesthetist and surgeon.
  • Attend the preadmission clinic with your child, if this is offered.
  • Consider using books, videos, and activities such as play-acting to help with preparation.
  • Remember that open and truthful discussion is the key to successful preparation of your child for surgery and anaesthesia.

Telling your anaesthetist

    • How healthy you are, and if you have had any recent illnesses.
    • Information about previous operations and anaesthetics.
    • Any allergies and any abnormal reactions to drugs.
    • Any history of asthma, bronchitis, heart problems, or other medical conditions.
    • Whether or not you are taking any drugs at present – including tobacco or alcohol. If any are prescribed, bring them with you.
    • If you are taking the contraceptive pill.
    • If you have been taking aspirin.
    • If you have any loose teeth, wear dentures, or have caps, veneers or plates.
    • If you are concerned about anything in particular.

Whatever the problem or concern, many patients say “I don’t want to bother the doctor”. Your anaesthetist needs to know any information that might influence the safety of your anaesthetic. You must let him or her know, even if it seems unimportant or embarrassing.

 Day surgery admission

  • Follow fasting instructions. They are for your safety while undergoing anaesthesia.
  • Do not drink any alcohol for the 24 hours before surgery.
  • Do not smoke on the morning of surgery.
  • If you normally take medications in the morning, do so with a small sip of water, unless instructed otherwise.
  • Take your regular medications with you to hospital.
  • Remove nail polish because this may interfere with the pulse oximeter (the monitor which senses how much oxygen is in your blood).
  • Remove contact lenses and false eyelashes. If you normally wear a wig, then ask the nurses about either leaving the wig on or wearing a scarf.

Day surgery discharge

  • Arrange for someone to escort you home from hospital.
  • Arrange for someone to stay with you overnight.
  • DO NOT, for a period of 24 hours:
    • drive a car or ride a motorcycle, bicycle or horse.
    • use power appliances or tools.
    • cook or pour hot liquids.
    • drink alcohol.
    • sign legal or financial documents.