Surgery at Prince of Wales Hospital

How we can help

Surgery is an operation used to either diagnose or treat your health problems. Prince of Wales Hospital provide surgical services for the Randwick campus, this means that the Prince of Wales Hospital operating theatres are also used by Sydney Children’s Hospital and The Royal Hospital for Women.

The type of surgery that is undertaken at Prince of Wales Hospital includes:

  • Cardiothoracic – heart and lung surgery
  • Ophthalmology – eye surgery 
  • Orthopaedics – bone and joint surgery 
  • Plastic Surgery - the restoration, reconstruction, or alteration of the human body
  • Neurosurgery – nerve, spinal cord or brain surgery 
  • Vascular surgery
  • General surgery including: Upper Gastrointestinal tract, colorectal, oncology surgery
  • Dental and maxillofacial - teeth, jaw and face surgery 
  • Ear, nose and throat surgery

Pain management is also part of our services.

For more information on over 170 common surgical and related medical procedures go to the Better Health Channel. There is also information available on HealthDirect.

If your surgery is planned and scheduled in advance it is called Elective Surgery. This type of surgery does not involve a medical emergency. You will need a referral from you GP (local doctor) to see a specialist surgeon.

If you need surgery immediately to solve your trauma or illness it is called Emergency Surgery. You may have come to hospital via ambulance or through the Emergency Department or have had a critical illness or health event while you are a patient on the ward.

If you are having elective surgery in the public hospital system, you will be placed on a waiting list and given a priority category depending on the seriousness of your condition. Your surgeon will determine this. Managing our waiting list can be challenging and is coordinated by the healthcare team. Sometimes it is necessary to delay surgery that has been booked to make way for life-threatening cases which are admitted through our emergency department.

If you have any questions about current waiting times and want to speak with someone you can call the Surgery Access Line.

When you are booked in for planned elective surgery you will have received an email or letter from our Admissions Department outlining what surgery you are having, the date of your surgery or procedure and when you will need to telephone to find out confirm details. If we need to change to your surgery date we will contact you.

We will contact you to let you know if you need to come in before your surgery to one of our pre-admission clinics. At a pre-admission clinic you may be seen by either a nurse, anaesthetist or the surgical team who may organise for you to have some tests, provide you with information on how to prepare for your surgery or discuss your care when you leave hospital.

When you have a surgical procedure in hospital your surgeon will talk with you to make sure you understand your health concern and what surgery is recommended. The Surgeon will explain your health concern, diagnostic and/or treatment options, benefits and risks and expected outcomes. If you do not understand something the Surgeon has said or have more questions you should ask someone from the health care team until you feel you thoroughly understand. It is your right to choose to accept or refuse to go ahead with the procedure or surgery.

If you choose to go ahead, the Surgeon will ask you to sign a form which states you understand and accept the treatment.

If you are having a planned elective surgery or procedure you will have received an email or letter asking you to come in the day of your surgery or the day before your surgery.

If you have been asked to come in the day of your surgery, please telephone us the day before between 3.30pm and 5.30pm, Monday to Friday, on 9382 3842 or 9382 3847. If your appointment is on a Monday or a public holiday, please phone on the last working day before your appointment.

If you are have been asked to come into hospital the day before surgery, please follow the instructions in the letter or email we send you.

When you phone us, we will confirm your arrival time and give you important instructions about when you need to start fasting. Fasting means you have to stop eating and drinking completely. This includes all types of food (even lollies and chewing gum) and all drinks (even tea, coffee and water). We will also let you know what medicine you should take, or stop taking, before your surgery.

Please bring:

  • Current Medicare card or Veteran Affairs card
  • Health Care card, Pensioner Concession card or Commonwealth Seniors Health Care card
  • Insurer details (eg workers compensation, public liability or third party).
  • Your Private Health Fund Membership card if you are currently insured with a private health fund
  • Any test results, X-rays or reports relating to your current medical condition.
  • Medicines you are taking, or bring an up-to-date medicine list if you have one.
  • If you are staying overnight, please bring sleepwear, toiletries and medicines.
  • You may have to wait a long time before your surgery so we recommend that you bring reading material with you.
  • Please remove nail polish and shellac.
  • You are welcome to bring a relative or friend with you. Please do not bring children.

Please do not bring jewellery including body piercings, valuables or large amounts of money. The hospital cannot accept responsibility for loss or damage to your property.

This video explains what will happen on the day of your surgery (insert Perioperative slide video).

If you are booked for planned elective surgery you will likely need to come to our Admissions Department on the day of your surgery and will then get prepared in our Perioperative Unit.

If you are coming for a day only urology procedure, endoscopy, dialysis or radiology procedure or if you are coming to Eastern Heart Clinic you will not come through the Perioperative Unit.

Once you have arrived a nurse will then come and talk to you.

Please tell the nurse if:

  • Your medical condition has changed. For example, if you have the flu or if you have been in hospital recently.
  • There has been a recent change in your medicines.
  • You have diabetes.
  • You have taken aspirin or medicine like aspirin (for example Nurofen) in the last 7 days.
  • You have taken herbal or ‘natural’ medicine, or non-prescription drugs in the last 2 weeks.

If you are going home on the day of your surgery you will need to be taken home by a responsible adult who should stay with you for the first night.

If you are going home the day after your surgery, please arrange for a responsible adult to pick you up from the hospital around 10.00am.

You must not drive a car or operate complex machinery for 24 hours after your surgery.

When the doctor says you can go home you will be given

  • all the medicines your doctor prescribed or a script for your medicines.
  • a discharge summary to give to your GP (local doctor)
  • a follow-up appointment
  • all your belongings you came with including any scans and x-rays

The nurse will talk to you about

  • your pain medicine
  • wound dressing(s)
  • what activity you can and cannot do over the next few days
  • what you can eat
  • toileting

The nurse will answer any questions you have.

If you experience any bleeding, a high temperature, vomiting, moderate to severe pain or have any questions or other concerns please contact your general practitioner (GP) or visit your nearest hospital emergency department.

Find more information on over 170 common surgical and related medical procedures go to the Better Health Channel

Information on how to stop smoking before surgery go to the NSWHealth Quit Line

Please let us know if you need an interpreter. You can contact us telephoning the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 131 450. Tell the operator what language you speak and then ask the interpreter to set up a telephone conversation between you, an interpreter, and the healthcare professional you want to speak with.