Day of your joint surgery
You will be given a specific time to arrive. This can be from 7:30am in the morning or later depending on your operation time.
Eating and Drinking Before Your Operation
You must follow the instructions for fasting and when to take any preoperative drinks times correctly as it is important. Your operation may be at risk of being cancelled on the day if not followed.
- No food or very milky drinks within 6 hours
- Drinking sips of plain still water is encouraged up to the time of your operation.
For your wellbeing, to help give you energy, keep you hydrated and prevent dizziness on the day of surgery, the hospital may give you some special pre-operative drinks. They are suitable for most patients. If issued with these drinks, there will some for you to take on the day before surgery and some different ones to take on the day of your surgery. These are often easier taken chilled and through a straw provided.
Checklist of items needed:
- ALL current medications in original packaging
- Glasses, hearing aids, walking aids (labelled)
- Phone, charger, headphones
- Contact details of person who will be picking you up
- Any letters you receive from the hospital giving you arrival instructions for the day of surgery
Arriving at the hospital
When you arrive, you will be meet by a member of staff usually on the Surgical Admission Lounge. They will book you in, confirm some details with you. One of the nursing team will run through some additional questions. It is important that you remain warm. Staying warm is good for your comfort and can also lower risks of post operative complications. Please let the nursing staff know if you feel cold.
Confirming your consent
A member of the surgical team will confirm with you the operation that they are planning to perform and check your consent with you. They will mark an arrow with a pen on the leg that is going to be operated upon.
Meeting your anaesthetist
Before your operation you will meet you anaesthetist. They will explain the type of anaesthetic that is going to be used and answer any questions you may have about the anaesthetic.
Your anaesthetist will also give you some pain relief tablets to help manage your pain after the operation.
Getting ready for your joint surgery
When it is time for your operation, you will be asked to change into a theatre gown. You will then be taken to the operating theatre. Here you will be meet by your anaesthetist and the operating department practitioner, who works with the anaesthetist, helping to look after you.
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 operation with you, and the side on which you are having the operation.
Attaching monitoring equipment and a drip
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 operation.
Your anaesthetist 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 anaesthetist will give you a spinal anaesthetic. This is very safe, and avoids the need for having a general anaesthetic, which may have unpleasant side effects.
Spinal anaesthetic also helps you to recover quickly and receive post operative pain relief. Local anaesthetic is placed around some nerves in your lower back. This numbs your pain nerves so that you do not feel pain during the operation. Once it is confirmed that the anaesthetic is working well, you will be taken into the operating theatre.
If you are having knee surgery, you will also have 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.
Once in the operating theatre, your leg 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. It helps them to relax, and this will be offered to you. Some people prefer to have a small amount of sedation, so they have a light sleep through the surgery. Your anaesthetist will discuss and agree with you a plan depending on your medical history and your wishes.
The operation takes about 1½ hours. During this time, we will keep you warm and your observations will be continually monitoring by your anaesthetist.
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. It also reduces the chances of needing a blood transfusion with donated blood.
After your joint surgery
At the end of your operation, you will be transferred to recovery area where the nurses will monitor your observations. You will also be given a post-operative drink. This energy drink helps 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.
Mobilising after surgery
Once your spinal anaesthetic has sufficiently worn off you will be assessed by the therapy team. Our nursing and therapy teams will help you get off the trolley / bed, stand and practice walking with suitable aids. The team will practice with you getting on and off the bed, chair, toilet and give advice on how to dress. If you require any equipment to assist you this will be provided prior to your discharge. You will be also taught how to safely complete stairs.