What happens before surgery?

Before your operation, you’ll have some tests to prepare you for surgery. These tests are usually done a few days or weeks beforehand at a pre-assessment clinic. A member of the surgical team and a specialist nurse will discuss your operation with you. You’ll also see the doctor who will give you your anaesthetic (the anaesthetist). You’ll usually be admitted to hospital on the morning of your operation.

You’ll be given special elastic stockings (TED stockings) to wear during and after the operation to prevent blood clots forming in your legs. Make sure you discuss any questions or concerns that you have about the operation with your nurse or surgeon.

If you smoke, try to give up or cut down before your operation. This will help reduce your risk of chest problems, such as a chest infection, and will help your wound to heal after the operation. Your GP can give you advice and you may find it helpful to read our information on giving up smoking.

Enhanced Recovery Programmes (ERP)

Some hospitals follow an enhanced recovery programme. This can help reduce complications following surgery and speed up your recovery. The programme involves careful planning before your operation. This is to make sure that you’re properly prepared and that any arrangements that you may need at home are in place. Your hospital team will encourage you to have high-protein and high-calorie supplements before and after your surgery. They will also encourage you to start moving around as soon as possible, sometimes on the day of the operation.

Your surgeon will try not to use any tubes or drains unless absolutely needed. If you have a catheter and a drip (fluids through a vein), these will be removed soon after surgery.

You’ll be allowed to eat and drink soon after surgery as well. And after you’ve gone home you’ll be regularly reviewed to make sure that you’re recovering well. You can ask your surgeon whether you will be suitable for this programme. Not all hospitals use the ERP for surgery and it’s not suitable for everyone.

Back to Surgery explained

Surgery for cervical cancer

You may have surgery to treat early-stage cervical cancer. There are three types of surgery that may be used.

What happens after surgery?

You’ll be monitored very closely after your operation. You will be very tired so it’s important to rest and look after yourself.

Follow-up care after surgery

After surgery you have an appointment with your surgeon to check on your recovery and discuss the results of your operation.