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Care before, during and after surgery

For most people, having an operation is a major event in their lives. There can be an overwhelming amount of information to take in, and it can be difficult to know what to expect. We hope that the information on our website helps you understand more about your condition, and what is involved in your treatment, including surgery. On these pages, we have put together information about having surgery under our care that we hope you will find useful.

What to expect

The preoperative assessment team have put together a series of video guides explaining what you can expect when you come in for an operation. These can be found here.


A really important part of having an operation is being well prepared. This means making sure you are as healthy and fit as you can be. This will help you to increase your chances of having a good recovery, reducing your risk of having complications of surgery. This can include losing weight, stopping smoking, controlling other health conditions such as diabetes, and an exercise program. Physical preparation to improve your fitness for surgery is often called 'prehabilitation'.

It is also very important to make sure you know what to expect during your stay in hospital, and what you should be able to do during the different phases of your recovery. For example, after major cancer surgery, such as an oesophagectomy, how many times will you be getting out of bed and walking on the first day after your operation? Knowing what to expect will help you achieve the goals for your care, helping you have a good recovery, getting you through your operation and out of hospital as smoothly as possible.

Enhanced Recovery Programme

An Enhanced Recovery Programme (ERP) or Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) is a package of care that covers the whole journey, from pre-operative preparation, care during your operation, and treatment and plans for care after surgery that is designed to accelerate recovery and allow you to return to normal function as soon as possible. More information is available on the Enhanced Recovery Programme page, here.

After surgery

Our team will explain to you about your expected recovery after surgery, and goals during your stay in hospital. They will also explain to you about your continued recovery after you have been discharged from hospital.

After major surgery, including cancer surgery, we will routinely see patients in clinic after they have been discharged to ensure that they are continuing to recover well, and to discuss any results from the operation. If you have had surgery for cancer, you will have a Cancer Nurse Specialist who is a good point of contact for any questions or concerns before or after clinic appointments.

After other surgery, such as a hernia repair or key-hole removal of the gallbladder, most patients will not routinely be seen in clinic by the surgical team again. This is because very few people have residual symptoms or problems after these operations. Therefore, coming back to clinic is an unnecessary inconvenience for most patients. If you have questions or problems after these types of operation, you should arrange to see your General Practitioner who will be able to answer most questions and deal with most issues that arise. However, if they need to, they will be able to refer you back to be seen in our clinic.

If you have had surgery under our care and you are feeling unwell, you should contact your General Practitioner, call NHS 111, or attend an Accident and Emergency department if necessary.