Preparing For Surgery

Having together taken the decision that surgery is the best option to help you, it is very important to prepare mentally and physically for your surgery. Dr Kruger will put together a tailored treatment plan for you prior to your surgery, so you feel confident and relaxed.

  • Medications
  • Anaesthesia
  • Pain management
  • Fasting
  • Travel & logistics
  • Health and hygiene
  • Your normal occupation

Most medications you take on a daily basis as prescribed by your GP or other specialist may be continued throughout the time of you having surgery. The medications to inform Dr Kruger that you are on include blood-thinning agents (Warfarin, Plavix/Clopidogrel, Aspirin/Disprin or other), the newer anti-rheumatological agents and prednisolone/prednisone. These medications may need to be strategically stopped prior to your surgery, in order to decrease your risk at surgery as much as possible. Please ask if you are unsure.


The best anaesthetic for your procedure is a balance between providing the perfect environment for the surgery and the smoothest experience of it for you, taking into account your wishes and risk profile (Peace of mind for you and me!). Many cases require a general anaesthetic, either due to the procedure being too big to do under local or regional anaesthesia, or the arm needing to be perfectly still as the procedure is performed.

If the procedure allows and you would like to do so, it may be performed under local or regional anaesthesia. This is where the surgical field is made numb with local anaesthetic and the anaesthetist gives you a little medication through a drip to calm you if you are anxious.

If you have specific requests regarding the anaesthetic or have had a previously bad experience, nausea or allergic reaction to the anaesthetic, please let us know. It is very important we plan for the smoothest experience for you. Dr Kruger works with an excellent team of anaesthetists that will ensure you have the best anaesthetic for you.

Pain management

Pain is experienced differently by each person, but there are some universally good practices in managing pain postoperatively. The region being operated on will have a long acting local anaesthetic from surgery, either in the field itself or as a block to the nerve more proximally up the arm. These usually last 6-12 hours after the surgery.

Paracetamol is an excellent baseline analgesic, to which other medications may be added as needed. Take your pain medication as directed and immediately as you being to feel discomfort following the procedure. It takes about 30min to work and so if you wait the pain will grow and be more difficult to keep under control.

Intermittent ice pack application and elevation of the limb (if you had elbow, wrist, hand or finger surgery) helps with pain, swelling and inflammation.


Whether you are having a local or general anaesthetic, you need to stop food intake 6 hours prior to the surgery. There is always a very small chance the local anaesthetic won’t work, and it’s important to be prepared so that we may proceed with your operation you have prepared for. You may drink a cup of water or apple juice up to 2 hours before surgery. Please ask if unsure.

Postoperatively, do not eat or drink anything in the car trip home. Being post anaesthetic, food and car motion may cause nausea or vomiting. Once home, start with a light meal only when you are hungry. Try and avoid greasy food initially.

Travel & logistics

For day surgery or overnight stay, please arrive in good time to get admitted and ready for surgery. The hospital at which you will be will require some paperwork. Please check with them regarding parking arrangements. Have someone available to take you home from the hospital. You cannot drive for at least 24 hours.

If you are having bigger surgery, have someone stay the first night with you after discharge if possible. Place things that you use often within easy reach prior to surgery so you won’t struggle after. Try arranging for someone to help out with everyday tasks like shopping, cooking and laundry after the surgery.

Health and hygiene

Eat a well-balanced diet the week before and after surgery. If you smoke, please stop or cut down to reduce the risks at and after surgery. Stopping smoking improves your recovery. Please report any infections to me prior to surgery, a these will need to be cleared prior to the operation. Specifically tooth, gum, bladder or bowel issues need to be addressed.

Please ensure your nails are clean and cut, and all nail polish removed. Please remove any rings, bangles or other jewelry – these may be better left at home. Hair will be clipped in theatre as needed – please do not shave the area before surgery.

Your normal occupation

Most patients will need some time off from their normal occupation for surgery. Time will vary depending on your occupation and the surgical complexity. This will be discussed at your preoperative consult and the necessary forms for work and insurance provided. Please consult with your insurer and employer and let us know what is needed prior to the operation.

Conditions Managed

Contact us anytime

Visit us in person

Claremont Medical Village
2nd floor, Suite 203, Library Square, Claremont Medical Village, Wilderness Road, Claremont, Cape Town, 7708

Advanced Harbour Bay Surgical Centre
Sessional Room, Cnr of Main and Dido Valley Road, Simon’s Town, Cape Town, 7975

Sports Science Orthopaedic Clinic
Room 1, Sports Science Orthopaedic Clinic, Sports Science Institute, Boundary Road, Newlands, 7700

Copyright by Dr Neil Kruger 2020. All rights reserved.