Preparingfor your procedure

Tests and imaging

Before surgery you may need to have some tests and imaging, including blood tests, an electrocardiogram (ECG) and CT imaging.

If any issues are found, your surgeon may have to postpone or cancel your surgery.

Bowel preparation

Some colorectal operations require you to have an empty colon for a safe procedure. To empty it, your surgeon will prescribe bowel preparation medication. The medication normally causes frequent bowel motions, sometimes with stomach cramps and diarrhoea.

Proper bowel preparation can reduce your risk of infection. Your surgeon will have their own preparation requirements and may prescribe antibiotics to further reduce infection risk. You should follow these instructions strictly; otherwise your surgery may be delayed.

To prevent dehydration and unpleasant side effects such as dizziness, headache and fainting, you need to drink plenty of water while taking bowel preparation medication.

You’ll probably be advised to follow a restricted low-fibre diet for the last 48 hours before surgery. You’ll also have to fast for about 6 hours before surgery.

Check with your surgeon if you should take your normal medications before your surgery.

Preparing for a stoma

If there’s a chance you’ll need a stoma, your surgeon will probably ask a stomal therapy nurse to talk to you before surgery. They have special training and can answer your questions about the surgery. They can talk to you about the best place for your stoma to be located and adjusting to life with a stoma.

Learn more about stomas


About the anaesthetic and post-op pain relief.


Information is provided by HCF in good faith for the convenience of members. It is not an endorsement or recommendation of any form of treatment nor is it a substitute for medical advice, and you should rely on the advice of your treating doctors in relation to all matters concerning your health. Every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, however HCF takes no responsibility for any injury, loss, damage or other consequences of the use of this information.