Seeing a specialist
Your first appointment will be with a consultant or another member of the surgical team. You may be able to bring someone with you to this appointment.
To help stop the spread of COVID-19, most hospitals have stopped or significantly limited visits.
Check the hospital's website to find out what their advice is. You can search for hospital details if you're not sure what they are.
If you do visit someone in hospital, wear something that covers your nose and mouth.
You may be asked to fill in a self-assessment health questionnaire.
At this stage, it's not guaranteed you'll be offered surgery. The consultant will make this decision after carrying out tests, making a careful assessment, and weighing up all the treatment options available to you.
You may want to ask your specialist the following questions:
- What are the different types of treatment for my condition?
- What are the benefits, side effects and risks of each of these treatments?
- Why are you recommending I have this operation?
- Are non-surgical treatments possible for my condition?
- What happens if nothing is done about my condition?
If an operation is necessary, this will be your chance to find out what the operation involves, why it's needed, and whether it's suitable for you.
Below are some questions you may want to ask:
- Who will perform the operation?
- What qualifications and experience do they have?
- What exactly does the operation involve, and how long will it take?
- What type of anaesthetic will I need?
- How long is the waiting list for this operation?
- How will I know if the operation is a success?
Do not be afraid to ask practical questions, such as:
- Will I need stitches, and will there be scarring?
- How long before the operation will I need to stop eating and drinking?
- How long will I need to stay in hospital?
- How long will it take me to recover and get back to normal?
- Will I need time off work and, if so, for how long?
Make sure you discuss any concerns with the consultant.
You may wish to ask if there's any written information about the operation or procedure you can take away with you.
At the end of the session, your consultant may book your operation or ask you to come back for a further appointment.
Once booked, you should receive a letter with details of your operation asking you to confirm you're happy with the proposed date and time.
Before having a planned operation, your consent should be obtained by the surgeon well in advance.
This is to ensure you have plenty of time to examine any information about the procedure and ask questions.
You're entitled to withdraw your previous consent if you change your mind at any point before the operation.
Read more information about consent to treatment.