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abscess pathway

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You have been seen by the hospital doctor and have been diagnosed with an abscess. This requires a day case operation under a general anaesthetic to drain the infection. You are being sent home with antibiotics and painkillers.

We will telephone you tomorrow morning to arrange your admission. Ideally you will be admitted, have your surgery and return home the same day. If, due to very unwell patients requiring surgery, your operation cannot be done before midnight on the day of your admission we will cancel your operation until the next day.

Unless an operation is life threatening we do not operate after midnight due to safety issues.

If you have any concerns or you have not heard from us by 10am on the day of your admission please telephone 01273 696955 and ask for:

  • Extension 3851 (theatre admissions) or
  • Level 4 extension 7591 or
  • Level 5 extension 64002 (Emergency Ambulatory Care Unit).

On the day of your admission please do not eat anything from 12 midnight and do not drink any fluid after 4am. This includes sweets and chewing gum.

Pre-admission advice

  • If you are a smoker we strongly recommend that you do not smoke at all on the day before and the morning of your operation or for 48 hours after your operation.
  • Please bring in with you any medication that you usually take. l Do not bring in valuables or money except for some change for the Patientline TV and phone.
  • Do not wear make-up, nail varnish or jewellery.
  • Please remove your contact lenses.

If you have any questions or concerns that you have not already raised please discuss them with the nurse that looks after you in the ward.

Care after a general anaesthetic

After a general anaesthetic your co-ordination and logical thinking may be temporarily affected due to the anaesthetic drugs. For your own safety it is important to follow these instructions:

  • You must not drive yourself home and should not drive for 48 hours.
  • You must not drink alcohol.
  • You must not operate machinery or appliances that may cause harm.
  • You should not make any vital decisions or sign legal documents.

You will need to stay for a minimum of 2 hours after your surgery and once certain criteria have been met your nurse will discharge you.

Going Home

It is important that a responsible adult collects you and takes you home.

You will need to have a responsible adult stay with you for 24 hours following discharge from hospital. If this is not possible we will need to keep you in hospital overnight.

You will be given dressings and a referral letter to give to your practice nurse based at your GP’s surgery. You will need to make an appointment to visit them the day after your surgery to have your dressing changed. Your practice nurse will decide how often your wound will require dressing.

If your operation is on a Friday or Saturday you will need to attend the dressing clinic at this hospital’s outpatient department which we will organise for you.

On discharge we will give you painkillers to take at home and you should follow the instructions from the nurse. It is important that you are comfortable so that you can mobilise gently.

Within a week you should be out and about and depending on the nature of your work you should be able to resume work in 2 weeks time. Most car drivers find that they are comfortable enough to drive after about 10 days. If you are not comfortable because your wound is under pressure from the car seat you should avoid driving until the wound has healed or you are more comfortable.

If you have any problems and need to speak to a doctor

  • Within 24 hours of your operation phone 01273 696955 and ask the switchboard to bleep the on call surgical registrar.
  • After 24 hours of your operation you need to contact your own GP.

We will endeavour to care for you efficiently and hope that your stay with us is as comfortable as possible. If you are unhappy with any aspect of your treatment or care please let us know so that we can do our best to resolve the problem at the time.

Contact details

Emergency Ambulatory Care Unit

Telephone: Level 4 extension 7591, Level 5 extension 64002

This information is for patients receiving care at Brighton and Haywards Heath.

The information here is for guidance purposes only and is in no way intended to replace professional clinical advice by a qualified practitioner.

Publication Date: May 2019

Review Date: November 2022

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