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Head and Neck Surgery - How to prevent?

Head and Neck Surgery - Diagnosis

Head and Neck Surgery - Preparing for surgery

You will be admitted to hospital either a day before the surgery, or on the day of the surgery. If you have additional medical problems, admission may even be earlier to allow for stabilisation.

Dental Clearance

Arrangement will be made for you to see the dental surgeon for a dental clearance examination before going for the surgery, if indicated.

No Smoking

We strongly discourage smoking one week prior to surgery and especially on the night before the surgery. Smoking makes it difficult for you to clear your secretions after surgery, and may impede your recovery.

Bowel and Skin Preparation

A laxative may be given to help clear your bowels on the night before the surgery. The surgeon may make markings on the skin where tissue may be taken for grafting. Please do not remove these markings when bathing and washing.

No Food Consumption

You should not consume any food, not even water, after midnight. This is to prevent any vomiting and subsequent breathing of the vomitus into the lung during surgery, which could be life-threatening.

Get a Good Night’s Rest

Have a good night’s sleep before your operation. Do let your doctor or nurse know if you require some medication to help you to sleep.

Personal Items & Valuables

We advise that you leave all your valuables and personal items at home, and to keep not more than ten dollars with you during your stay in the hospital.

Day of Surgery

Before you go for your operation

It is advisable for you to take a good shower, brush your teeth and rinse your mouth. You should refrain from drinking anything on the morning of your surgery. However, if you have to take medication for your medical problem, the nurse will advise you to take it with sips of water.

Shortly before the estimated time of your operation, the nurse will inform you to do the following:

  • Empty your bladder
  • Remove any dentures, spectacles and contact lenses, make-up, nail polish, hairpiece, jewellery and prosthesis
  • Change into a gown

Please inform your nurse if you have any personal items requiring safekeeping.


You may be given medication in the form of tablets or an injection to help you relax. This medication will make you sleepy, or cause dryness in your mouth.

You should not attempt to get out of bed after taking the medication. Our nurse or health attendant will transfer you to the operating theatre on a trolley.

Family Room

Your family members could either return to the ward or wait in the waiting area just outside the operating theatre. Please advise them not to wait along the corridor.

In the Operating Theatre

Once you have arrived at the operating theatre, the nurse there will verify your identity and also the type of surgery you are scheduled for.

After verification, you will be transferred to another trolley and wheeled into the induction room to meet the anaesthetist and the surgeon.

The anaesthetist will give you an injection to put you in a deep sleep, so that you will not feel any pain. The operation is usually done under general anaesthesia.

A tube is usually inserted into the bladder when you are asleep to help in passing urine and this will be kept in place for the next few days after surgery.

Head and Neck Surgery - Other Information