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Getting ready for surgery

In the run up to your surgery, there are things you can do to be better prepared and fit and healthy for your operation. They will also help you make a better recovery. Even making these changes just a few weeks before your operation can be a real help.

Quit smoking

It is in your best interests to stop smoking as soon as possible, especially before surgery. This will reduce the risk of any breathing problems during and after surgery.

One Life - Stop smoking

NHS - Quit smoking advice

Drink less alcohol

Drinking too much alcohol may slow your recovery and also make it more likely that you get an infection. Adults are advised not to drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week, and we ask our patients to try to keep to these limits. If you would like more information, please visit these webpages:

NHS - drinking less advice

NHS - alcohol misuse


Eating a healthy diet will improve wound healing and reduce muscle weakness and tiredness during your recovery. A good diet will also help you fight infection.

 Obesity and weight loss

Trying to lose weight can be difficult, yet the best way to help tackle this is to eat a healthy calorie-reduced diet and exercise regularly. Even losing a small amount of weight prior to surgery will help. Set yourself a goal that you can make.

One Life Suffolk - weight management

NHS - obesity

Physical activity

We should all take some form of moderate exercise every day. This will make you stronger, reduce breathing issues and build up stamina. These will all help you get better more quickly.

One Life Suffolk - health walks

NHS exercise


If you have diabetes, we ask that you try to keep your sugar levels within the limits as agreed with your doctor or nurse. Poorly controlled diabetes can be a serious concern during surgery. Please don’t hesitate to talk to your clinical team in the weeks leading to your surgery if you are concerned.

NHS diabetes

Mental health and wellbeing

Many patients face concerns and anxieties before going into hospital, or mentally dealing with an ongoing condition or illness. There are many resources that can help to prepare yourself mentally.

NHS mental wellbeing

Live Life To The Full offers free online courses covering low mood, stress and resilience. Work out why you feel as you do, how to tackle problems, build confidence, get going again, feel happier, stay calm, tackle upsetting thinking and more.

Managing pain

Many patients get aches and pains in their muscle and joints. Theses resources from the Chartered Institute of Physiotherapy can help you to manage these:

Managing pain

 Arthritis Action is a charity with offers a range of free self-management advice and services. There is a local Norfolk and Suffolk group which are currently holding virtual support meetings and can be accessed via their website:

 Getting ready for surgery

The following give excellent advice on how to get you ready for an operation.

Having surgery during Covid-19

Fitter better sooner toolkit