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General patient assessment

The overall aim of patient assessment is to ensure that surgery is justified and that the risks to the patient from the procedure are minimised, especially in patients at high risk of surgical complications. Therefore, one of the most important considerations prior to surgery is the condition of the patient. This will determine the pre-operative precautions and medication required, as well as the choice of anaesthetic and operative technique. These decisions can be made in collaboration with the patient’s primary care physician, or within specialist pre-operative assessment clinics. Information resources such as postoperative pain guidelines may be useful: (Rosenquist 2003) and (Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists and Faculty of Pain Medicine).

The approach to optimising pre-operative patient health prior to surgery varies between surgical procedure and between different hospitals, but some basic principles apply to all patients undergoing surgery:

In addition to the choice of anaesthetic, there are also some general surgical considerations: