Orthopaedic patients

baby in a leg cast

Patients coming for orthopaedic surgery (bones or muscles) usually visit the hospital a few weeks before their operation to talk with the clinical staff that are involved in their care. This is called a ‘pre-op’.

During your pre-op you may meet with several medical professionals:

  • a consultant will talk to you about what the surgery involves, explain the risks and benefits, and get your consent for the operation to go ahead
  • a physiotherapist / occupational therapist may assess your child’s needs and plan for the best way to manage recovery after the operation
  • an anaesthetist may be involved if your child has particularly complex needs – you may see an anaesthetist during your pre-op visit or in a separate appointment
  • a clinical nurse specialist or junior doctor will take a full medical history of your child
  • a nurse will do an assessment including measuring their height and weight, checking their blood pressure and completing admission paperwork

Having a pre-op appointment helps you to feel as prepared as possible before the operation and when caring for your child afterwards, and it helps us plan for any particular requirements your child may have before their operation.

It also speeds up the discharge process after surgery.

Preparing for your pre-op appointment

Pre-op clinics normally take place in the Theatre Admissions Unit (TAU) but some take place in the Outpatients Department. We’ll tell you where to go in your appointment letter.

There are a few things you can do to help your pre-op go smoothly:

  • think about / write down any questions you want to ask
  • bring some information about what medications or treatments your child currently has
  • be prepared to wait – although we always aim to see families at the given time, sometimes appointments can run over depending on how complex a child’s needs are, and it’s really important that we’re thorough (allow a minimum of two to three hours for your visit)
  • be prepared to visit different departments – your child may need blood tests or x-rays during their pre-op visit

On the day of surgery

You’ll receive a letter explaining where to go and what to do on the day of surgery. In most cases you’ll come straight to the Theatre Admissions Unit unless we tell you otherwise.

Read our guidance on coming to TAU to find out what to bring with you, the last times for food and drink, and what happens after the operation.

You can also read some common questions and answers about having an anaesthetic.

From the recovery area your child may go to stay on Ward S3 (our specialist orthopaedic ward).

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