Wider Devon NHS

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  • Wider Devon NHS

Wider Devon NHS consists of the following organisations:

  1. All GP Practices in Devon, Torbay and Plymouth
  2. Northern Devon NHS Trust
  3. Royal Devon and Exeter Foundation NHS Trust
  4. Torbay and South Devon Healthcare Foundation NHS Trust
  5. Devon Partnership NHS Trust
  6. Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust
  7. NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group
  8. South Devon & Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group

Are you in shape for surgery?

Taking care of your health so you are fit for your operation

Printer friendly information is available in the leaflets section.

Health and wellbeing are important to all of us, especially before undergoing surgery.

Surgery puts stress on your body, so the healthier you are, the better you'll handle it.

Evidence shows that improving your general health and wellbeing before surgery greatly improves outcomes, shortens recovery time and significantly reduces the risk of complications:

  • Less risk of complications such as heart failure, stroke and infections from the surgery and, in the worst cases, death
  • Fewer anaesthestic-related problems such as infections, confusion or memory loss, bladder problems, breathing difficulties, nerve damage or worsening of existing conditions
  • Wounds heal faster and better with less risk of infection

If you are referred for surgery, your GP should already have spoken to you about the importance of being as fit and healthy as possible and will be helping you on your journey.

Any steps you can take to get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, reduce your alcohol or substance use, or lose weight will benefit you.

Due to the increased risks of complications, surgery may not take place until:

Your blood pressure is normal (less than 160/100)

You aren't anaemic

Your blood sugar levels are controlled

Your pulse is well controlled and the cause of any heart murmur has been investigated

Stopping smoking for at least eight weeks prior to your operation; or even moving to other forms of nicotine replacement such as patches, gum or e-cigarettes, significantly reduces the risks of surgery.

You won't be able to smoke whilst in hospital and it's a good time to consider giving up for good.


Further, printer friendly, information is available in the leaflets section and from your local healthy lifestyle team.

There is increasing evidence that a patient's recovery from surgery is vastly influenced by how fit and well they were before the operation.

Many specialists now recommend that a patient undergoes 'pre-habilitation' (pre-hab) not just re-habilitation. 'Pre-hab' includes improving all aspects of general health and fitness by better managing known medical conditions such as hypertension, checking for other medical conditions and making lifestyle changes such as healthier diets and stopping smoking.

Mr Karl Trimble, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Derriford Hospital