At Nuffield Health Leeds Hospital, we have decades of experience supporting patients through surgery. We understand that leading up to your surgery, you'll want to spend some time preparing. Planning ahead can help ensure you heal faster and enjoy a smooth recovery after your procedure. To best support you prior to your surgery, we've put together this helpful guide, including key physical and nutritional tips and advice.


Prior to surgery, we’ll invite you to a Pre-assessment to make sure you are well enough for your operation. The assessment also allows us to confirm that you understand everything that will happen during and after your procedure and the best way to aid your recovery.

Our Pre-assessment team will discuss your health, medical history and home circumstances. This provides us with all the relevant information that enables us to give you the right type of care. It also highlights any issues with your current health that may cause a problem such as uncontrolled diabetes or blood pressure, and also identifies things such as allergies to latex or specific drugs. If attending a clinic, we will carry out some routine tests. The tests you have will depend on what operation and the kind of anaesthetic you're having.

The Pre-assessment clinic is a nurse-led clinic but if you have complex medical issues you may be seen in a clinic led by an anaesthetic consultant – the nurse will discuss your medical history with the anaesthetist. 

Please allow up to 1.5 hours for your appointment. The length of the appointment depends on the type of surgery you are having and also your past medical history. 

What to bring to your pre-assessment appointment:

  • A copy of your prescription or the medications themselves.
  • Any clinic letters from other speciality consultants that you have seen recently eg.  cardiology letter

Diet and hydration

Leading up to your operation, focus on eating a healthy and balanced diet filled with a variety of foods from all the food groups. It’s also important to stay hydrated - we recommend drinking two litres of water a day, or as much as you’re able to.

Importance of not eating (fasting)

Your consultant may have instructed you not to eat (fast) directly before your surgery and it's crucial that you follow through with this and don’t eat or drink anything. You’ll need an empty stomach during surgery so you don’t vomit while you're under anaesthetic.


A crucial part of our daily routine is to keep ourselves clean – this is a major part of preventing infection, even more so before your surgery. You can reduce the risk of infection getting inside your body by having clean skin and good oral hygiene on the day of your operation. It’s important to shower/bathe and brush your teeth thoroughly prior to your surgery.

It’s also important to remove all your body piercings, make-up and nail polish before your operation. Not only can this help reduce unwanted bacteria being brought into the hospital, but it also helps doctors to see your skin and nails to make sure your blood circulation is healthy.

What do I pack?

If you're staying in the hospital, you may wish to pack:

  • nightwear
  • comfortable and loose day clothes
  • clean underwear
  • dressing gown and slippers
  • toiletries – soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant
  • sanitary towels or tampons
  • razor and shaving materials
  • comb or hairbrush
  • a book, a magazine, mobile phone, and/or tablet computer
  • medicines you normally take (in the original boxes)
  • glasses or contact lenses with case and solution

Prehab for hip and knee patients

During the 2020 national lockdown, we, as a nation, were becoming less active and deconditioned due to the new Covid-19 laws put in place to keep us safe from the virus. For some patients, this meant they were struggling after their surgeries due to their lack of movement leading up to it.

Observing this, our Physiotherapy department at Nuffield Health Leeds Hospital introduced 'Prehab'. Prehabilitation or Prehab is the practice of enhancing your functional capacity before surgery, with the aim of improving your post-operative outcomes.

What is Prehab?

There may be several weeks between the decision to proceed with surgery and the surgery itself. During these opportune weeks, our Physiotherapy Department will put in place exercise programmes, moulded to your individual requirements. These exercise regimes will include a combination of strength and aerobic exercises, sculpted at your levels and capabilities.

As well as exercise, Prehab looks at the necessary adaptations and equipment you will require after your procedure. The Physiotherapists will make suitable recommendations to you, based on your circumstances. These recommendations can include anything from post-operative walking aids to a simple reminder to stock your kitchen cupboards.

Who is Prehab it for?

Prehab can be accessed by surgical patients having a knee or hip replacement. The exercises are designed to avoid exasperating symptoms of your current ailments. You will feel the common discomfort of exercise, without the pain.

Any questions about preparing for surgery?

If you have any questions about preparing for your surgery, please call our Pre-assessment team on 0113 388 2020.

For more information about our Prehab service, please contact our Physiotherapy department on 0113 388 2064.

Helpful links