When should preoperative tests be offered?

When should preoperative tests be offered?

You won't usually need any preoperative tests if you are:

  • in good health and

  • having minor surgery, for example a mole removed.

Usually, only people with a health condition that is making them very unwell may be offered tests before minor surgery (these might be an ECG and kidney function tests).

When tests may be needed

People having certain types of surgery or who have long‑term health conditions may need preoperative tests.

Tests before intermediate surgery

Examples of intermediate surgery include removing varicose veins, taking out the tonsils or a knee arthroscopy (where a surgeon uses keyhole surgery to look inside the knee).

This table shows the tests that might be offered. If you are in good health you are unlikely to need tests.

Health conditions

Possible tests

Diabetes, heart disease or kidney disease

  • Kidney function

  • Full blood count

  • ECG

Lung disease

  • Lung function and blood gas tests

  • Kidney function

  • ECG

Liver disease

  • Blood clotting test

Tests before major surgery

Examples of major surgery include removing a woman's womb (called a hysterectomy), removing part or all of the colon (large bowel), or replacing a joint such as the hip or knee.

You are more likely to need tests if you are having major surgery. Everyone having major surgery should be offered a full blood count. You are also likely be offered:

  • kidney function tests

  • ECG.

Other tests you might be offered:

  • lung function tests if you have lung disease

  • blood clotting tests if you have chronic liver disease.

See about preoperative tests for a description of the tests above.

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