Your Surgery

4 Your Surgery

Preparing for Surgery

Once one has decided to proceed with surgery, the next step is to agree a date for the operation with the practice manager. A procedure code can be obtained at this time for insured patients, who would then seek appropriate approval from the insurance team. Self paying patients may wish to obtain quotes from the hospital and the practice manager can facilitate this. NHS patients would usually be contacted by the waiting list officer.

Preoperative assessment is usually carried out by nurses to assess one’s fitness for the anaesthetic. This involves questions about one’s health and usually includes swabs. Such assessment may also include blood tests, ECG, X-rays and specialist medical / anaesthesiologist consultations.

Rings and bangles should be removed before surgery. If they don't come off easily, try using soapy water. Occasionally one may have to visit the jewellers, who would be able to cut them before surgery. On the day of surgery it is advised to not have anything to eat for 6 hours before the surgery. Chewing gum, milk and all cloudy / fizzy drinks count as solid food!  Small amount of still water is allowed up to 2 hours before the operation.

One of the key changes seen in modern medical practice is shared decision making. Surgeons would be happy to discuss all aspects of surgical care including alternatives to surgery, benefits, risks and recovery times. In fact, for non-emergency operations, it is imperative for patients to take time to consider all aspects of surgical care and be convinced about the appropriateness of surgery before proceeding. Such information exchange and decision making starts at the time of the initial consultation and is an ongoing process through the patient’s journey. It is normal for patients to feel anxious about surgery. However, it is never too late to ask something, nor a question too trivial to ask even on the day of surgery.

After day surgery, it is mandatory that an adult accompanies the patient back and stays with the patient for the first night. Driving is not allowed after an anaesthetic and hence suitable arrangements are to be made in advance for this. Do think about which clothes to bring as you would have a sling around the arm and dressings over the shoulder after surgery. If you have had a nerve block for pain management, you would not be able to move your arm till it wears off. Hence, be prepared to not be able to use this arm during this period.

Successful outcomes from shoulder operations frequently need the involvement of a physiotherapist after surgery. It is good to book an appointment with a physiotherapist between a week to 10 days after surgery, although this duration may vary amongst different setups and medical practices.

For information on post-operative physiotherapy please click here

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