This page gives you general discharge advice following your day surgery procedure. It is important to remember that you have had a general, local or spinal anaesthetic or sedation for your procedure. Day surgery does not mean day recovery and you must go home and rest.

Recovering at home

General anaesthetic and sedation

This will affect your judgement, co-ordination and memory for 24 hours. You may find that it takes you a few days to feel fully recovered from your surgery, dependent on what procedure you have had.

Every patient recovers differently and there is no definite rule as to when you can start doing your usual activities again. For 24 hours after your operation:

Do not

  • drive a car, ride a bicycle or operate machinery (also do not do this until your pain and immobility have improved so that you would be able to perform an emergency stop if needed)
  • take part in an activity requiring skill or judgement, make important decisions or sign any legally binding documents
  • drink alcohol or take sleeping tablets
  • smoke
  • cook, use sharp utensils or pour hot liquids

You should:

  • Drink plenty of fluids and eat light meals
  • Rest
  • Take time off work if you have been advised to do so

Local anaesthetic

This will wear off once you are home but you may feel some soreness or discomfort. It is advisable to have a supply of mild pain relief medication, such as paracetamol, at home. Please take as per the instructions on the packet if you have pain.

Regional anaesthesia will usually wear off within 24 hours. You must make sure that you take care of the affected limb as you will not feel pain or temperature in the area until the anaesthetic wears off. Take pain relieving medicines regularly in anticipation of the anaesthetic wearing off. Please contact NHS 111 or your GP if you still have any numbness or weakness in the affected area after 48 hours.

Spinal anaesthesia

For most patients no problems will be experienced after their spinal anaesthetic. However, please contact the Surgical Unit where you had your surgery for advice if you experience any of the following:

  • A persistent headache usually worse when standing and relieved when laying down in the first couple of days after you have been discharged.
  • If you develop a sudden weakness in your leg(s) or loss of bowel and bladder control you should seek medical advice immediately.
  • If you have a new lower back ache, redness or pus at the injection site, neck stiffness with a headache or high temperature in the first couple of days after the anaesthetic, please seek urgent medical advice.
  • If you have any tingling in your legs after 48 hours or it is getting worse, please contact your GP for advice.

Pain management

All surgical wounds will cause some discomfort which may last for a few days. Pain relief advice can vary, please see below for yours:

  • You have not been given pain relief tablets to take home. A mild pain relief tablet such as paracetamol or ibuprofen should be enough to manage the pain you may experience. These can be bought over the counter at your local pharmacist or supermarket. Please take them as directed on the packet or the information page contained within the box. Do not exceed the maximum stated dose.
  • You have been prescribed and given pain relief tablets to take home from the Day Surgery Unit. Please take them as advised and do not exceed the stated dose.

Wound care

As part of the healing process, it is normal for the wound to feel warm and appear red. Some bleeding or leaking can be expected from the wound but this should settle in a few days. If this does not settle, please contact your GP.

For most surgical wounds you will have a dressing in place. Keep your wound dry for 24 to 48 hours unless you have been advised otherwise, you may then resume your normal washing routine but do not soak in the bath or shower for long periods of time as this may dissolve your stitches too soon. You will have been given specific advice regarding how long to keep the dressing on for the type of wound you have (see below), but once the dressing is removed leave the wound exposed.

Please keep your dressing in place until advised, you may then remove the dressing and continue to keep the wound clean and dry. Do not use harsh soaps or perfumes on or around the wound site.

If your wound starts to bleed, apply pressure with a clean towel or gauze if you have it, for 15 to 20 minutes. If the bleeding does not stop, please contact your GP or attend the nearest walk-in centre or Emergency Department.

Signs of infection in the wound may be:

  • More redness or heat around the wound than what was present on discharge
  • New pain
  • Swelling
  • Discharge from the wound
  • Fever

If any of these occur then please contact NHS 111, your GP for urgent advice or attend your nearest walk-in centre or Emergency Department.

Follow-up appointment

Post-operative follow up appointments with your surgeon can vary, please see below for yours:

  • Your surgeon does not need to see you again in the clinic. If you have any concerns, please arrange to see your GP
  • Your surgeon will advise how many weeks/months they would like to see you in the out-patient clinic. You will receive an appointment in the post. If you do not receive your appointment within this period, please contact your consultant’s secretary.

Contacting the Day Surgery team

If you have agreed and provided a contact number, you will receive a follow up welfare phone call from one of the day surgery nurses the next working day, following your surgery. This is not the same as the follow up by your surgeon.

If after your follow up call, you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the Day Surgery Unit you attended for advice.

You can contact the nursing team between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm, Monday to Friday

Please note that we will no longer have access to your patient notes and we do not have a doctor on site to provide advice. This may mean that you will be referred on if we are unable to help with your enquiry.

For urgent enquiries please contact NHS 111, your GP for advice. or attend your nearest walk-in centre or Emergency Department.

Printable version of this page

Adult day surgery discharge information GHPI1774_04_23 Department: General surgery Review due: April 2026 PDF, 172.4 KB, 5 pages
Reference number GHPI1774_04_23
Department General surgery
Review due April 2026