This guideline covers care for adults (aged 18 and over) having elective or emergency surgery, including dental surgery. It covers all phases of perioperative care, from the time people are booked for surgery until they are discharged afterward. The guideline includes recommendations on preparing for surgery, keeping people safe during surgery and pain relief during recovery.
The recommendations in this guideline were developed before the COVID-19 pandemic. See NICE’s COVID-19 rapid guideline on arranging planned care in hospitals and diagnostic services for guidance on minimising the risk from COVID-19.
This guideline includes recommendations on:
- information and support for people having surgery
- enhanced recovery programmes
- preoperative care
- intraoperative care
- postoperative care
- managing pain
Who is it for?
- Healthcare professionals, including dentists, in primary, secondary and tertiary care
- Commissioners, planners and service providers, including those in non-NHS organisations commissioned to provide services for the NHS or local authorities
- Adults having elective or emergency surgery, their families and carers
Guideline development process
This guideline updates and replaces NICE medical technologies guidance 3 (published March 2011).
The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals and practitioners are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or the people using their service. It is not mandatory to apply the recommendations, and the guideline does not override the responsibility to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual, in consultation with them and their families and carers or guardian.
All problems (adverse events) related to a medicine or medical device used for treatment or in a procedure should be reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency using the Yellow Card Scheme.
Local commissioners and providers of healthcare have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual professionals and people using services wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with complying with those duties.
Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.