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Updated 2 August 2023

On your appointment letter you will be given a specific time to arrive on the day of your surgery. This can be anytime from 7.30am.

Eating and drinking before your surgery

You must follow the instructions for fasting and when to take any preoperative drinks before your surgery otherwise your surgery could be cancelled.

Please do not eat anything within six hours of your surgery. You can drink sips of plain, still water up to the time of your operation. 

For your wellbeing, to help give you energy, keep you hydrated and prevent dizziness the hospital may give you some pre-operative drinks to be taken the day before and/or the morning of your surgery. These are often more easily consumed chilled and through a straw.

What to pack for your stay in hospital

  • all medications in their original packets in a clear plastic bag
  • loose, comfortable clothing that is easy to put on and take off 
  • slippers
  • footwear with loose fitting back and no laces (no flip flops or slip-on shoes). Footwear should be easy to put on and take off
  • phone, charger, headset and music device to listen too
  • glasses and hearing aids
  • walking aids – please ensure they are labelled
  • something to read to occupy you such as a book or magazines
  • please avoid bring large items and minimise high valuables such jewellery, credit cards and cash

Please also bring the contact details of the person picking you up and any appointment letters from the hospital. 

Arriving at the hospital

Your appointment letter will inform you of where to go when you arrive at the hospital, usually the Surgical Admissions Lounge. A member of staff will book you and confirm some details before a member of the nursing team will run through some additional questions. 

It is important that you remain warm as this can also lower risks of post operative complications. Please let the nursing staff know if you feel cold.

Before your operation, a member of the surgical team will confirm the surgery they are planning on performing and check you consent. They will also mark the limb that is being operated on with a pen. You will also meet your anaesthesiologist who will explain the type of aesthetic that is going to be used.

Time for your surgery

When it is time for your surgery, you will be asked to change into a theatre gown and be taken to the operating theatre. Here you will be met by your anaesthetist and the operating department practitioner.

Some routine checks will be carried out to confirm your identity and to check if you have any allergies. We will also again confirm your surgery with you, and where you are having it.

One of the team will attach some standard equipment to monitor your heart, blood pressure and oxygen levels while you are having your anaesthetic and surgery.

Your anaesthesiologist will also give you various medicines through a drip in the back of your hand. These include antibiotics, anti-sickness, and fluids.

In most cases, your anaesthesiologist will give you a spinal anaesthetic, rather than a general anaesthetic. Spinal anaesthetic helps you to recover more quickly and receive post operative pain relief. Local anaesthetic is placed around some nerves in your lower back.  

If you are having knee surgery, you will also receive some special nerve injections performed which help control your pain after the operation. These injections are done around the knee after your spinal anaesthetic so they will not be uncomfortable to have performed. These nerve blocks will work for several hours alongside the other pain relief we will give you. 

Click here for more information about anaesthesia.

Once in the operating theatre, your limb will be painted with some cleaning fluid and then covered with drapes. You will not be able to see the surgery and the spinal block will prevent you from feeling any of the operation.

Some people find listening to music through their headphones to be a good distraction and helps them to relax. Others prefer to have a small amount of sedation, so they have a light sleep through the surgery. 

The operation will take approximately one a half hours. During this time, we will keep you warm and your observations will be continually monitoring by your anaesthesiologist.

Collecting blood

We usually collect any blood you lose during the operation via a machine called 'cell salvage'.  Should you lose enough blood this allows us to clean, process and return your blood to you. This will help improve your wellbeing and recovery after the operation and also reduces the chances of needing a blood transfusion with donated blood.

After your joint surgery

After your surgery, you will be transferred to recovery area where nurses will monitor you. You will also be given a post-operative drink to help support your immunity and healing abilities. It will also give you some energy and balanced nutrients which will help you get up and mobilising once your spinal anaesthetic has sufficiently worn off.

Once your anaesthetic has worn off you will be assessed by the therapy team who will help you stand and practice walking with suitable aids. They will also help you practice getting on and off the bed, chair, toilet, going up and down the stairs and offer advice on how to dress. 

You will be provided with an equipment you may need prior to your discharge.