Patient information

Whether you’re waiting for diagnosis, preparing for treatment, or looking for help with onward care.

Patient information leaflets

We’ve also compiled a list of patient information leaflets, so you can find the information you need in one place. They include details of operative and non-operative treatment for some of the more common conditions and procedures:

FAQs

In order to prepare you for your visit, we’ve taken some of the questions our patients most commonly ask us, and answered them for you here.

 

Your consultation

What should I expect if I’m referred for tests or scans?

Should you need any scans or tests, including blood tests, X-rays, CT, or MRI scans, we’ll book these on the day of your appointment.

If you’re an insured patient, you’ll need to check with your insurance company if you’re insured for tests and scans. Self-paying patients will have the cost confirmed in advance.

If possible, the tests or scans will be carried out on the same day. If appointments aren’t available, you’ll need to come back at a later date.

Once the results are in, we’ll see you as soon as possible afterwards to discuss them and, if necessary, discuss your treatment plan.

Are there any essentials I should bring with me to my consultation?

Although not essential, it’s best if you can bring a copy of your referral letter along with you.

This won’t apply to everyone, but it may also help to bring any previous correspondence about your condition, or any other conditions, along with a list of medications you’re currently taking. In addition, any scans or reports you have would also be useful.

If you’re an insured patient, you’ll also need to bring your policy number and authorisation code.

Your operation

Do I need to do anything before my operation?

Just like the patients we see, every procedure is different. We’ll explain the details of any proposed surgery with you in full, as well as any risks involve, your recovery and aftercare.

We’ll give you an information sheet detailing some of the risks that surgery can pose. You can read this at home, but you’ll have the opportunity to talk through this with us again on the day of your surgery.

The hospital may contact you and organize tests to make sure you’re safe to have an anaesthetic. You’ll be given reporting instructions and, for patients undergoing general or regional anaesthesia, advice on when you’ll be able to eat and drink.

If you’re employed, you’ll need to find out how long you’re likely to be off work so you can let your employer know.

Do patients normally stay the night in hospital?

Not always. Many of our patients are what we call “day cases”. This means you’ll have the operation and return home on the same day. We’ll let you know before your operation how long you’re likely to be in hospital.

Will I need a general anaesthetic for my operation?

Put simply, it depends on the procedure. Some are carried out with the patient under general anaesthetic, while others can be carried out while the patient is awake, with a local anaesthetic or nerve block.

We work alongside anaesthetists who specialise in nerve blocks. This route allows you to stay awake through the operation, if this is desirable, while alleviating postoperative pain.

We’ll listen to you and work with you, to come up with a suitable, fully personalised treatment plan that you’re comfortable with.

Do I need to stop smoking before my surgery?

If you smoke, then you should be aware that smoking cigarettes has been linked to increased pain following surgery as well as increasing your risk of experiencing wound- and bone-healing problems. Certain operations (for example, fusions) have a much higher chance of not healing if you smoke.

Studies have also shown that you can reduce your risk of complications by 20 per cent simply by stopping smoking for a month either side of your surgery.

And while e-cigarettes may reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease, their impact on wound and bone healing remains unclear. We will discuss the specific risks with you.

After your operation

What should I plan for post-surgery?

When you’re discharged following your procedure, you’ll be provided with any medication you require. You’ll also be given any further information you need and a date for your next appointment. Typically, this will be in two weeks’ time and at this appointment you’ll have your dressing and wound inspected.

You’ll also be given advice on elevating your leg and keeping the dressings clean and dry – this is key information and it’s really important to remember it and stick to it.

How likely am I to need crutches to walk?

It depends on your operation. Each procedure is different and we’ll discuss all aspects with you in full before your operation.

Depending on your operation, you could end up with a plaster, or we might just give you a special shoe – either a flat, Velcro shoe, or one with a heel.

Your post-operative activity level will also vary, depending on your procedure. Some patients will be able to walk normally straight afterwards, while others will need to use crutches to modify the amount of weight they’re putting on their foot or ankle. Other patients may not be able to bear any weight for a while after their operation.

How much pain will I be in following my operation?

If you’re undergoing a procedure that’s likely to leave you in pain afterwards, you’ll usually be given a nerve block while in theatre. This means that your foot or ankle will be numb when you come out of surgery and will last for between 24 and 48 hours.

By the time the block has worn off, any acute pain should have subsided. We’ll give you pain killers to help manage any pain you may experience at home.

When will I have my stitches or wires removed?

Your stitches are usually removed at two weeks after your appointment. Sometimes we use dissolvable stitches, which means you won’t have to have your stitches taken out at all.

Occasionally, we might need to use a special stitch to hold the toe. This is easily removed – a process that usually happens after four weeks.

If we’ve used wires, then these tend to be removed between the four and six-week mark. By this time they will have loosened and the process shouldn’t be at all painful.

As the dressings used are sterile, your wound will usually be left undisturbed for two weeks. However, you should seek advice straight away if: 

  • you start running a temperature
  • your pain increases
  • your dressings get wet
  • your dressing starts to smell unpleasant

How do I elevate my leg after surgery?

It’s very likely that we’ll suggest you keep your leg raised as much as possible after surgery.

As well as specially manufactured leg elevators, you can use pillows placed under your leg for support, and putting something underneath the mattress also helps.

Can I shower or bathe after surgery?

We’ll let you know when it’s OK to shower or bathe. When you do so, it’s vital that you keep your dressing clean and dry, and there are several products available to help to just that.

We advise against using cream on your wound in the early stages of recovery as it increases the risk of infection.

Getting back to your routine

How quickly can I start driving again?

The length of time before you can drive a car following your operation will depend on what procedure you’ve had.  Generally speaking, if you drive an automatic car, you’ll be able to get back behind the wheel sooner if you’ve had surgery on your left foot.

After your dressings have been removed, it’s vital to make sure you can perform an emergency stop safely should you need to. While physiotherapists can help with an assessment, the ultimate decision – and the responsibility for your safety while driving – is yours.

Once we’ve given you the go-ahead to drive, you’ll also need to let your insurance company know, to make sure your insurance is valid. 

Am I OK to travel by plane after surgery?

Before you can fly, we’ll need to assess your risk of blood clots. This will be based on your medical and family history, and any potential risks from your particular procedure.

As a general rule, for less invasive procedures, such as bunion surgery, we advise that you avoid long-haul flights for four weeks. For major surgery, such as ankle replacement or fusion, that increases to three months. 

 

 

 

If you have any further questions, please feel free to get in touch.

Contact us

We offer appointments every day of the week, as well as some Saturday mornings.

We hold clinics at 30 Devonshire St and The Wellington Hospital Elstree Waterfront, and carry out operations at The Princess Grace Hospital.


Book a consultation either by phone, email or by filling out our contact form.

Email: sfas@hcahealthcare.co.uk 

Tel: +44 207 374 7327
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