View navigation


Understanding risk

Pressure bag bWith modern equipment, training and medications, surgery is much safer than it once was. Risk cannot be removed completely and therefore it is important for you to understand the risk of having surgery.

The Royal College of Anaesthetists has a good website that provides information on the risk of surgery, viewable here.

Assessing the risk of having surgery is complex and different for each individual. The following need to be taken into account before making  decisions about surgery:

  • Your general health?
  • The seriousness of the condition?
  • Are there options other that surgery?
  • What do you hope to achieve from surgery and how likely is that to happen?
  • The risk of complications after surgery and how this may affect your quality of life.

The doctors and nurses will evaluate and explain any risks to your health and wellbeing. It is also important to understand the potential side effects and complications that may occur from your surgery or anaesthetic.

The tests we undertake before surgery are used to help clinicians assess risk. We may suggest different treatment options to help mitigate this risk.

We will work with you to reduce risk from surgery. Things that may be suggested and should be carefully considered include:

  • Attending appointments
  • Telling us if you have any allergies
  • Stopping smoking
  • Reducing or stopping your alcohol intake
  • Eating healthily
  • Controlling your blood sugars if you are diabetic
  • Being active in your everyday life.
  • Undertaking breathing and muscle exercises if advised to.
  • Taking specialist medications if required. These may include: nutritional supplements, iron supplements, heart medications, anticoagulant medications, wearing specialist deep vein thrombosis stockings.