Take any medicines your doctor asked you to take before surgery. But if you normally take tablets or insulin for diabetes, make sure you discuss this with your specialist as soon as possible before your operation.
You'll be asked whether you're allergic to any medication, or whether any relatives have ever had any problems with an anaesthetic, so suitable precautions can be taken.
Family or friends can usually stay with you until you leave for the operating theatre, at which point they can wait for you in the waiting room.
Check your hospital's policy on visiting times, and read more about visiting someone in hospital.
Just before the operation
You'll be asked to get undressed and change into a hospital gown. The details of the operation will be explained to you.
For many operations, a needle connected to a drip will be put into your hand. This allows fluids, nourishment and medicine to be given while you're under anaesthetic.
You'll be given an anaesthetic so you won't feel any pain during the operation.
A general anaesthetic will be needed for a major operation, which means you'll be asleep throughout the whole operation. It'll be given to you via an injection or gas, which you breathe through a mask.
There's no need to be anxious about having a general anaesthetic: the anaesthetist will be by your side the whole time you're asleep, carefully monitoring you, and will be there when you wake up.
If you don't need to be put to sleep, you'll be given a regional anaesthetic. This means you'll be conscious throughout, but you won't feel any pain.