The Day of Surgery
You will be notified of the time to attend the hospital and also the duration of time during which you must not eat or drink before the operation (at least 6 hours). Once you arrive on the ward, you will be shown to your bedroom by a nurse, who will run through some identification and health questions. Your blood pressure and pulse rate will be measured. You will be required to remove your jewelry, and change into a hospital gown. Nail varnish and make-up also needs to be removed.
It is advised for your own comfort that you bring a dressing gown, slippers and any required toiletries. It is better if valuables are left at home.
Mr Smith or Mr thomas will see you prior to your operation, to run through the operation again and to answer any questions that you may have. He may also examine your shoulder again. You will be asked to sign a consent form agreeing to have the operation and he will use a pen to mark the correct shoulder for surgery. The anaesthetist will ask you further specific questions about your health and also answer any of your questions about the anaesthetic procedure. Most patients will be given a general anaesthetic and also a nerve block. The nerve block is a small injection in the lower neck that numbs the shoulder and the arm. This provides very good pain relief for several hours after the operation. This means that you will have no sensation in your arm, which may also feel heavy.
You may then have some time to relax (bring a good book) before the time of your surgery. When the operating theatre is ready, you will be taken up to the anaesthetic room by one of the nurses. This is next to the operating room and is where the anaesthetist will put you to sleep and give you the nerve block.
After the operation you will wake up in the recovery room, which may have other patients in it and will have a nurse looking after you. You are likely to feel sleepy during this time and may not remember much about it later on. Your arm will be in a sling and will feel numb and heavy from the nerve block. Once you have woken up completely, you will again be taken down to the ward on your bed.
The nursing staff will ensure that the dressings and sling are adjusted properly before you go home. You will be given some breathing exercises to help clear your lungs after the general anaesthetic and you will also be given some exercises to carry out on subsequent days. Mr Smith or Mr Thomas will come and talk to you about the operation and assess your progress. You will be given some pain medication to take home with you and an appointment will be arranged to see your surgeon 6 weeks after the surgery.
You will need to be driven home after the operation and should not drive for the next 24 hours. It is important that someone is with you at home for the first night.
Once at home you should ensure that you take plenty of painkillers (as directed) even if the arm is still numb. This is to ensure that they are still working when the nerve block wears off.