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Date: 1 December 2020
Before major surgery you will need to attend a pre-admission clinic to assess your health in preparation for surgery. At the session you will be asked questions regarding your condition and general health. You will also undertake a general examination to ensure you are healthy enough to have the operation. Other tests that may need to be carried out include blood, heart and lung tests.
Following the pre-admission clinic you will be admitted to Ward 728 usually the day before your operation or on the actual day of your operation. Your length of stay in hospital will depend on the operation and whether it can be performed laparoscopically (keyhole). For open (not keyhole) major bowel operations it is common to stay for 5-10 days. For laparoscopic operations it may be less.
You may be asked to take a laxative (sennakot) for 5 days prior to your operation, calorie drinks may also be offered for you to drink. This will be explained at your pre-admission check.
The day of the operation
You will be visited by surgeons, anaesthetists and junior doctors before your operation. If you have bowel cancer or require a stoma as part of your operation, you will also be seen by a colorectal nurse specialist. When you fully understand the operation and the processes involved a consent form will need to be signed, allowing the surgeons to perform the operation.
The nursing staff will inform you of the time of your operation, they will also tell you when to stop drinking in preparation for surgery. On the morning of your operation staff will ask you to wash and get ready for theatre. Once you are ready you will be taken to the operating suite accompanied by a nurse.
Similar to when on long haul flights, you may have an increased risk of thromboembolism (blood clots in the legs/chest) following major surgery. You will be assessed for this risk on admission and will be given support stockings to wear, and/or injections under the skin to reduce the risk. Please let staff know if you have any circulation or blood clotting problems that may make you unsuitable for this treatment.
While the above treatments will reduce your risk of thromboembolism, they do not completely remove it. Be aware for signs of a blood clot in the leg (DVT - swollen, painful, red leg) or chest (PE - chest pain, shortness of breath) while in hospital and when you return home. If you have any concerns regarding blood clots please let the nursing or medical staff know while you are in hospital, or inform your GP when you return home. It is also advisable to stop the oral contraceptive pill before surgery and avoid any long journeys in the 3-4 weeks prior to surgery.