You might have 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. You can have fluids through it. This makes sure you are not dehydrated before your operation.
Your 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)
- take off any make up, including nail varnish
- remove contact lenses if you have them
- put on 2 hospital identification bands, usually one 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 may need to remove some of your hair around the operation area. The nurse might do this for you 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.
Your nurse and a porter take you to theatre on a trolley if you’ve had this medicine. 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.
The anaesthetist puts a small tube (cannula) into a vein in your arm. You have any fluids and medicines you need through the cannula including the general anaesthetic. This sends you into a deep sleep. When you wake up, the operation will be over.
Before you go to sleep your anaesthetist might put a small tube through the skin of your back. It goes into the fluid around your spinal cord. They can attach a pump to this tube to give you pain medicines during and after the operation.