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Preparing for Surgery & Procedure

Preparing for Surgery

It is always important to remember that foot surgery is very rarely emergency and life threatening. Complications are rare but do occur and can cause a great deal of inconvenience and distress. Preparing mentally and physically for surgery is an important step toward a successful result. Understanding the process and your role in it will help you recover more quickly and have fewer problems.

Working with Your Doctor

Before surgery you will be asked to complete a comprehensive questionnaire regarding your health and medical history. When necessary, you may be asked to attend a pre-assessment clinic run either by a specialist nurse or an anaesthetist. On occasion, it may be necessary to delay your surgery until your underlying medical conditions can be controlled.

It is important that we are aware of any underlying medical conditions and medications so that we can ensure they do not have an impact on your surgery or recovery. Equally, any cuts, abrasions or bites in the vicinity of the operation on the day of surgery may result in the surgery being cancelled. Similarly, any active infections such as urinary infections or dental problems will usually need to be treated before having an orthopaedic operation. Equally, athletes foot is best fully treated before an operation on the foot.

There are several things that you can prepare before the operation to make your recovery easier. Elevation of a foot after an operation to reduce swelling is very important and steps that make this easier for you are very sensible. These include having help in place for routine daily chores such as cooking, cleaning and shopping. Equally, having an adequate supply of easy meals will make life a lot easier in the first few weeks.


Any patient having an anaesthetic should stop smoking before the procedure in order to reduce the risk of serious complications. With regards to foot surgery in particular, the risk of complications is greatly increased by smoking. These complications include wound breakdowns and infection, thrombosis and failure of the bones to heal.


Diabetes needs to be well controlled before any form of orthopaedic surgery. As part of the preparation for your procedure we will check your long-term control to ensure that the risk of complications is minimised. If you have concerns regarding the level of your control, please raise this with your general practitioner as soon as possible.

Understanding the operation

It is important that you fully understand the operation, the risks and the recovery process before you commit to surgery. For some operations we have leaflets with specific explanations and whenever possible these will be provided for you. If you have any concerns or questions regarding the operation you should ensure that these are fully addressed before undergoing the operation. If at all possible, these concerns are best addressed in advance but you will always be seen by a member of the operating team on the day of surgery and please raise any remaining concerns then.