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Preparing for major surgery

We're one of the first places in the county to offer a perioperative medicine programme, supporting you before, during and immediately after major surgery. We can identify your personal risk factors, and give you advice and support to reduce your risk of developing a complication after your surgery.

Surgical complications include

  • chest infection
  • thrombosis (blood clot)
  • delayed wound healing
  • wound infection

If surgery is being considered as part of your treatment you will receive appointments to attend surgery school and cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET). Currently these opportunities are available to all patients who are planning to have major surgery in the following specialties:

  • Colorectal
  • Urological
  • Hepatobiliary
  • Upper GI
  • Maxillofacial
  • Orthopaedics

Should you be identified as having certain risk factors there are also a number of services we offer in advance of surgery. 

Reducing your risk

If the surgery school or CPET are not available, there are several things you can do in the weeks before your surgery to help.

Stop smoking

Smoking increases your risk of developing complications. We recommend that you stop smoking as soon as you can before surgery. Nicotine replacement therapy can help you to do this. Find out more about support to stop smoking here.

Cut down on alcohol

It's recommended not to drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week. Drinking more than this is linked to over 60 different medical conditions. You should stop drinking alcohol completely before having major surgery. Find out more about the recommendations and drinking less here.

If you live in an SO14 to SO18 postcode, you can find out about drug and alcohol services here. If you live in Hampshire, Inclusion can provide support.

Look at your diet

Being a healthy weight before your operation reduces your risk of problems such as infections and poor wound healing. Healthy eating is important for maintaining a healthy weight. The Eatwell Guide can help you to achieve a balanced diet. We don't recommend exteme weight loss or special diets before your operation. Extreme weight loss can cause malnutrition, depletion of protein and vitamin and mineral stores in your body, and dehydration. This all increases your risk of complications after your operation.

Do more exercise

Any increase in physical activity will make a difference before major surgery. You should exercise for 30 minutes, five times a week. This can be split into 10 to 15 minutes blocks. Any activity that gets you a little out of breath or increases your heart rate is exercise. This might be walking, gardening, swimming, running or cycling. You can find out more at the following:

Useful links