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On the day

On the day of your operation you won't be able to eat or drink.

If you have them, you must take off your:

  • jewellery, except for a wedding ring
  • make up, including nail varnish
  • contact lenses
  • false teeth (you can take these off in the anaesthetic room)

You change into a hospital gown. Your nurse will help you to put on elastic stockings, called TED stockings. They help to stop you getting blood clots in your legs after surgery.

You might also have injections of heparin, tinzaparin, or dalteparin before the surgery and for 2 weeks afterwards. These drugs help to stop your blood from clotting. You usually have them as a small injection under the skin. 

About an hour before your operation is due to start, your nurse will give you a tablet or injection to help you relax. This is called pre-medication. It 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.

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 into a vein in your arm (cannula). 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.