Immediately after your operation | Cancer Research UK
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Immediately after your operation

Nurse and patients talking about cancer

Find out what to expect immediately after your operation.


Immediately after the operation

If you have had a local anaesthetic you might be able to go home soon after surgery. Your nurse gives you any particular instructions you need to follow. They tell you who to contact if you have any problems.

If you have had a regional anaesthetic or general anaesthetic you go from the operating room to the recovery room. You stay in the recovery room until you are well enough to go back to the ward. While you are in the recovery area the nurses keep a very close eye on you. They check

  • your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing rate
  • your wound for any bleeding
  • that you are comfortable and any pain is under control
  • that any wound drains are working properly and they record how much fluid is draining from them
  • that any drips are running at the right rate

Once you have recovered enough from the anaesthetic you go back to the ward. It is quite common for people not to remember being in the recovery area.

Some people who have had a big operation and need to have a very close eye kept on them go to a high dependency unit (HDU) or intensive care unit (ICU). If you need to go to one of these units your doctor tells you before your operation. You go back to a regular ward once you have recovered enough.


For more information

Find out about

Types of cancer

Coping with cancer emotionally

Coping with cancer physically

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Contact the Cancer Research UK nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040 (Open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday)

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Updated: 12 April 2016