Preparing For Safe Surgery
Before General or Spinal anaesthesia, I routinely check patients for heart and lung disorders if they are over 40 years of age. This includes a blood test, chest X-ray & ECG.
If the patient is at risk of having a cardiac problem, I may also send them for a preoperative assessment by a heart specialist. These precautions are to ensure surgery is as safe as it can possibly be.
If there are known issues, I will discuss them with the patient before surgery so that he/she fully understands the potential risks of the procedure as well as the options if any.
Prior to any operation, patients have to fast for a minimum of 6 hours before (this does not apply to emergency operations).
Depending on the type of operation, patients may also need to have their bowel cleaned out with a laxative prior to surgery (bowel prep).
The anaesthetist will probably also insert an intravenous drip (like an injection) in the wrist so he can give anaesthetic drugs easily.
What to Expect After Surgery
Most of my operations are carried out under General Anaesthesia. That’s like going to sleep at night.
When you wake up you will probably feel groggy for the first 24 hours. You may have a dry mouth, nausea and sometimes a heavy feeling in the head or even a headache.
These are the effects of the anaesthetic & painkillers. I prescribe all my patients painkillers as well as antibiotics after surgery.
Depending on the type of operation, you may have some tubes coming out of various places. These tubes are drainage tubes and are temporary. They are to ensure that the operation area heals well.
Please do not pull them out yourself – you could be doing yourself harm! When the time is right, I will arrange for the tubes to be removed.
Tips For Surgery Patients
If you are coming into the hospital for surgery, here are some tips I usually give my patients.
- Find out as much as you can about your operation before coming in. Read up about the operation and ask relevant questions so you know what to expect.
- Leave your jewellery & valuables at home.
- Bring comfortable sleepwear, your own toileteries and sensible shoes/slippers.
- Consider bringing a travel blanket or rug in case you get cold at night.
- If you have to stay for a few days, bring enough reading material/iPad etc. WiFi is available at the wards.
- Inform the ward staff of who to contact in case of emergency including telephone numbers.
- If you are planning to make an insurance claim, check that a Guarantee Letter has been issued by your insurance company.
- Bring your latest X-Rays & blood tests with you especially if they have been done elsewhere.
- Bring all the medication you regularly take when you come to the hospital. Check that the medicines are clearly labelled with the name and dose of the drug. If the medicines are not labelled, phone the doctor/clinic you got them from and ask that they write the name of the medicine for you. Explain that you are being admitted for an operation.
- Inform the ward staff of any allergies you may have (especially to medication – find out the name of that drug!) as well as any special food requirements you may have.