Please read the useful information and guidance provided below about the day of your operation.
These fasting instructions for adults undergoing elective procedures under sedation or regional/general anaesthesia.
Please ensure you follow these fasting instructions or your procedure might not go ahead. Fasting is important before having sedation/regional or general anaesthetic to reduce the risk of food coming up and entering your lungs.
If you smoke, please do not smoke on the day you come into hospital. Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen in your lungs and may lead to breathing difficulties during or after your anaesthetic.
Do not drink alcohol or use recreational drugs 24 hours before your procedure as those can interfere with your anaesthetic.
Please do not chew gum or suck sweets for 2 hours before admission time.
Morning list - 7am, and all day list - 11am (where the order is decided on the day)
Afternoon list - 12.30pm
On arrival at hospital you will be admitted to a ward/unit. Please be aware that you may have to wait sometime before you go to theatre for your procedure.
At the appropriate time you will be taken into a anaesthetic room to prepare for your operation in the following way:
There are two ways of starting a general anaesthetic:
Once you are unconscious, an anaesthetist stays with you at all times and continues to give you drugs to keep you anaesthetised. As soon as the operation is finished, the drugs will be stopped or reversed so that you regain consciousness.
A regional anaesthetic or ‘block’ is an injection of local anaesthetic to make part of your body numb. They are a type anaesthesia and pain relief that can be used with, or sometimes instead of, a general anaesthetic. They are used to enhance your recovery by reducing pain and some side effects that can occur with general anaesthesia and other types of pain relief.
The local anaesthetic is injected very carefully and may be guided by an ultrasound machine or sometimes a nerve stimulator, which you may feel as gentle twitching. Blocks are usually performed with you awake or sedated if you prefer. If you are having a general anaesthetic they may sometimes be performed after you are asleep. The ‘blocked’ area of your body will become warm, heavy and numb and may last several hours – so after surgery you’ll be advised how to protect yourself until normal sensation returns. You’ll also be reminded to take regular painkillers around this time to ensure you remain comfortable when the numbness wears off.
Regional and local anaesthetic techniques are generally safe and effective although risks may occasionally include an incomplete block, bruising around the injection site or damage to veins, arteries or nerves. Other serious complications such as seizures or heart problems are rare and your anaesthetic team are trained to deal with these.
Your anaesthetist will explain everything that is involved in having a regional anaesthetic, including how any benefits and risks relate to you and your operation.
More information can be found in the video below: Nerve Blocks: An Information Video for Patients.
Blood is essential for carrying oxygen around the body and a lack of red blood cells is called anaemia. In some cases anaemia can be treated with medicines; in others, a blood transfusion may be the best treatment. You can reduce the need for a blood transfusion by eating foods containing iron before your operation.
You may have a blood sample taken in pre-op assessment before your operation to see if you are anaemic. A second sample of blood is required within five days of the operation and is often taken on admission.
If you have previously been given a card which states that you need to have blood of a specific type, please show it as soon as possible to your doctor, nurse or midwife and ask them to tell the hospital transfusion laboratory.
Blood transfusion is only needed for a small number of patients during or after surgery. Sometimes it is possible to recycle your own blood during the operation.
A blood transfusion is usually given through a tiny tube directly into a vein, and you will be observed before, during and after.
You do have the right to refuse a blood transfusion but you need to fully understand the consequences of this. If you have any concerns you should discuss these with your doctor, nurse or midwife.