Skip to main content

A guide to surgery and patient admissions

Depending on the diagnosis, patients may be seen in surgical clinics across the Trust.

While colorectal operations take place at hospitals across the Trust, the majority of planned colorectal surgery takes place at Solihull Hospital.

If you require an ITU (Intensive Care Unit) bed, your operation will be at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.

You may be admitted straight to the ward, or to the admissions lounge on the morning of your surgery.

Colorectal operations can be performed by way of laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery, or open surgery. keyhole colorectal surgery involves performing operations using instruments introduced through small incisions in the abdomen.

This usually reduces post-operative pain and the length of stay in hospital. However, it may not always be possible to offer keyhole surgery.

Your surgeon will discuss the type of operation that is most appropriate for you.

Before Admission

It is proven that the fitter you are before an operation, the better your outcome will be. This means you are less likely to develop a complication following surgery and may have a reduced length of stay in hospital.

If you smoke or drink alcohol, it is strongly advised that you stop. If you need support with this please contact your GP.

It is also advised that you increase your exercise tolerance in the run up to surgery. This includes increasing the time you spend walking, gardening, or dancing, as well as more rigorous forms of exercise such as running or playing sport.

In the run up to bowel surgery it is recommended that you follow a low fibre diet to rest the bowel. Unless advised otherwise, you should follow this diet for five days before the operation.

Pre-screening appointments

Prior to surgery, a letter will be sent asking you to attend a pre-screening appointment. This pre-screening appointment will be in the same hospital where your operation is scheduled.

A pre-screening appointment is necessary to check that you are fit enough to have an operation.

During the appointment, a number of additional checks are also undertaken. This includes:

  • height measurement
  • weight measurement
  • blood pressure
  • ECG (trace of heart activity)
  • blood tests

It is advisable that you bring in a list of your current medications to this appointment.

You will be given instructions on how to prepare for your surgery and may be given pre-operative drinks and/or bowel preparation medication. It is important you follow the instructions of how to take the preparation medications.

You may be asked to take a coronavirus swab prior to admission.

List of things to bring into Hospital

During your hospital stay, it’s important that you remember the essentials:

  • medications
  • pyjamas
  • comfortable day clothes
  • toiletries
  • slippers with a sturdy sole

Inpatient experience

Whilst in hospital you will be reviewed regularly by the colorectal team who will support your recovery and prepare you for discharge.

If you have had a section of your bowel removed as part of your operation, we advise that you follow a low fibre diet for the first week or until you are instructed otherwise.

Foods that are high in fibre include Weetabix, bran, most fruit and vegetables and wholemeal carbohydrates. If you are unsure, please ask the team looking after you on the ward.

Following your operation, it is important that you spend time sitting out of bed and if possible, mobilising as this will aid your recovery.

Visiting times may vary depending on which ward you are on. Please contact the ward directly to check.

If a stoma has been formed as part of your surgery, you will be supported to care for it whilst on the ward.

 Specialist nurses will support and teach you how to look after your stoma, and you will be given equipment to take home. A review will take place in the stoma clinic following your discharge.


Shortly before you are discharged, a discussion will be had with you regarding any new medications you are required to take. If you are unsure post-discharge on what the guidance is, please consult your discharge letter, or contact the ward you were discharged from.

Further information related to sick notes, driving, travel and diet can be discussed with you prior to discharge. Please raise any concerns that you may have with the team in charge of your care.

Patients are generally reviewed by their surgical team in an outpatient clinic four to eight weeks after discharge.

Further information

Last reviewed: 26 April 2024