What is involved in an initial consultation? I need to understand the problem you are seeking to change with surgery, i.e. speak to you, see you and examine you, so I can propose the best treatment for you. I usually set aside 30 minutes for a new patient so it leaves plenty of time for discussion, but for complex patients I like to see them again for another consultation which is free.
What happens in the hospital, before a General Anaesthetic operation? You will be checked in by nursing staff, shown to your room, changed into a hospital gown, seen by the Resident Medical Officer on the ward, the anaesthetist and myself, have any investigations necessary (if they have not been done before) such as blood tests and ECGs, perhaps even x-rays and sign a consent form, before being taken to main theatres by one of the nurses. Sometimes there is a bit of a wait, because the operating theatres is in use, and it is not always possible to plan the time it takes to do an operation accurately. You are one of the patients, from many consultants being treated in the same theatre on any given day and we try and plan it as well as we can.
What happens after a General Anaesthetic operation? You wake up in recovery, being looked after your very own nurse, and we make sure you are comfortable and awake before you go back to the ward. You can then go home the same day, or stay in hospital, depending on your procedure and how you feel. I will usually see you in recovery (though most patients are lucid, few remember!) and on the ward afterwards. You will be given a discharge letter, any medication and phone numbers to contact in case of problems. You arrange the follow-up appointment with me, at your convenience, through my secretary usually in a couple of weeks. If you need hand therapy, the therapist will usually contact you directly.
Is it the same for a local anaesthetic operation? Yes and no – if you are having a local anaesthetic operation in main theatres, it is almost the same, except you are not seen by the anaesthetist pre-operatively and you go directly up to the ward after the operation. If you are having a local anaesthetic operation in the Lyndhurst rooms or at 152 Harley Street, you can go as soon as you would like, – perhaps after a cup of tea.
How is follow-up arranged? All follow-up is arranged through my secretary , who has an overview over my availability, but I often leave it to the patients themselves to arrange at their convenience, unless it is vital I see you at specific time intervals, for for instance suture removals.
Will my General Practitioner be informed? Yes, I generally inform your GP.
What am I allowed to do post-operatively? It depends a little on your operation, but generally I would like patients to take it easy for a couple of days after the operation, and if you are very incapacitated I would like you to keep the TED stockings from the hospital on. For hand surgery, you will have a dressing on the hand and possibly a plastercast, so it is limited what you can do anyway.
Can I drive after an operation? Only when you are able to do an emergency stop.