Preparing for Surgery
This information is designed to help you prepare for surgery, and can be used alongside other information given to you by the teams involved in your care.
You may be at the early stage of thinking about having an operation, or you may have been waiting a long time to undergo surgery. Whatever stage you are at, there are lots of things you can do to get ready, be prepared, and have a more successful outcome and better recovery.
If you are awaiting a knee or hip replacement, or surgery relating to cancer treatment click on the links below for more specialised information, otherwise read on.
The benefits of being well prepared for surgery include:
- reduced complications and side effects from surgery
- reduced time spent in hospital and a quicker return to home
- less time needed to recover to your former level of health and lifestyle
- better energy levels, less tired, and better mental health
- more involved in your care, and decisions around this.
The main aspects of preparing well for surgery are:
- Physical activity and fitness
- Diet and nutrition
- Wellbeing and emotional support
- Healthy lifestyle choices around smoking and alcohol
Patients who are fit recover from surgery quicker and with fewer complications. What you do in the time leading up to surgery can have a big impact on your recovery and long-term health.
- A good place to start, for ideas about how to exercise and introductory exercise videos to improve your strength and stamina, can be found here.
Other useful resources:
- Being active is important before and after having an operation – Leaflet by Moving Medicine
- Click here and then select ‘PERIOPERATIVE CARE’ for a suggested exercise programme based on your level of ability and fitness
There is lots of research to show how using your time before surgery to get physically fitter can benefit you. You can find out more about it here:
Diet and nutrition
Having a healthy and nutritious diet is important at all times but even more so when getting ready for surgery. Having an operation and recovering uses a lot of energy over a long period of time and having good energy reserves will help you recover.
What dietary advice should I follow?
Getting ready for any operation can be a stressful and anxious time, and this is normal. It may help you to read some information about this.
If you know your alcohol intake is higher than is healthy for you, or if you are a smoker, preparing for surgery can be a good time to work towards cutting down and stopping. This will help your chances of avoiding complications and having to stay in hospital longer, and returning to full health after the operation.
The teams looking after you will discuss this with you, and more information can be found here: