A growing number of conditions needing operation can now be treated by day surgery, usually at the day surgery unit of a hospital. The patient arrives, has the operation and goes home on the same day. The hospital will be able to answer any questions patients may have about specific arrangements for day surgery. Day surgery units have developed considerable experience in ensuring that this type of surgery goes smoothly for the patient and relatives.
This term is used for operations that are planned in advance, to distinguish them from operations performed as an emergency.
Operations that require immediate admission to hospital, usually through the accident and emergency department. They are usually performed within 24 hours, and may be done immediately or during the night for serious or life-threatening conditions. Examples include acute appendicitis; haemorrhage, perforation or obstruction of the intestines; major trauma, including many fractures; and a ruptured spleen or aneurysm.
Advances in surgical treatments have enabled many conditions to be treated by "keyhole surgery", which involves very small incisions and less pain and trauma for the patient than in conventional surgery. The surgeon can see the area to be operated on by looking through a fine tube with a light on the end (known as a fibre optic light source) and carries out the operation by using special instruments inserted through the tube. Removal of gall bladder or gallstones and some operations on the prostate gland or on joints may be suitable for keyhole surgery. The operations are carried out under anaesthetic.
This is similar to keyhole surgery but refers especially to operations performed inside the abdomen and in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdomen).
Surgeons use a powerful magnifying device to enable them to operate on tiny structures such as small arteries, nerves, the bones of the middle ear or inside the eye. Delicate and extremely small instruments are used.
Organ Transplant Surgery
Where a patient has a failing organ, for example a diseased kidney, it is sometimes possible to replace it with a healthy one donated by another human being. In the case of a kidney the donor may be a relative or someone who has recently died and had completed an organ donor card requesting that their body be used to help others. Transplant surgery is sometimes offered to patients with liver or serious heart failure. Surgeons who carry out this type of surgery require special training in immunology to help prevent the body from rejecting the organ. Unfortunately many patients are denied the opportunity of a transplant because of the great shortage of donors.