This page was last updated: May 13th, 2021
If you need an operation, you’ll be added to our trauma surgery waiting list. We will then aim to bring you into hospital as soon as possible. Our trauma coordinator will call you to let you know when your operation will be. Please make sure we have your correct contact number.
We want to help you make a safe and informed decision when you consent to your surgery. Your surgeon will recommend the best treatment options based on your injury. They’ll explain the risks and the benefits as well as any alternative options.
This video, although it’s specifically about broken ankles, explains the risks and benefits of having an orthopaedic operation.
All fracture surgeries involve getting the broken ends of the bone back into position and then holding them in place until the fracture heals. This can be done in a number of ways.
Whatever surgery and management your injury needs, your surgeon will discuss this in detail with you on the day of the surgery and answer any questions you may have.
We try to give you as much notice as possible, but planning operations for patients that have suffered trauma means that sometimes you may only get 12 hours notice before an operation.
If you know you are on the waiting list for surgery, please be prepared to come in at short notice. It’s a good idea to plan things such as:
Depending on your operation, you’ll need to come in at either 7.30am or 11.30am.
If you’re not sure what time you need to come in please call our trauma admin co-ordinator on 01872 253281, 7 days a week between 8am and 4pm.
Find out more about preparing for your operation, including information about having an anaesthetic, in these videos.
You can find out about preparing to leave hospital on our going home page.
You can also find out about what to expect after your discharge from hospital in this video.
After you’ve had stitches, you should be given some aftercare advice. If you’re worried or have any questions please contact the Fracture Clinic. You can also call your GP for advice, or NHS 111 if it’s out of hours.
If you have stitches, take care to:
This will reduce your risk of developing an infection, or catch it early.
It’s important not to scratch your stitches; even though they’re strong, scratching may damage them.
You should avoid contact sports, such as football or hockey, to give your wound the best possible chance to heal.
You should not go swimming until your wound has healed and your stitches have been removed.
If your child has stitches, do not let them play with water, mud, sand and paint. These could cause the wound area to get dirty or sore, or cause an infection.
Children may also be advised to avoid PE at school until their wound has healed.
Watch out for any signs of infection near or around the stitches, such as:
If you have any of these symptoms, call the fracture clinic on 01872 253091, speak to your GP or call NHS 111 for advice.
You’ll need to return to the fracture clinic to have your stitches removed. We’ll tell you when, but these are the usual time periods:
If you haven’t got an appointment booked in, please call the Fracture Clinic on 01872 253091 to book one as soon as possible.
Some stitches are designed to dissolve gradually and will disappear on their own.
The time it takes for dissolvable or absorbable stitches to disappear can vary. Most types should start to dissolve or fall out within a week or two, although it may be a few weeks before they disappear completely. Some may last for several months. Ask your doctor about the type of stitches you have been given and how long they should take to dissolve.
There is a small risk that some people can get a mild inflammatory reaction to dissolvable sutures. If this happens please call the Fracture Clinic on 01872 253091.
If your wound has healed and your dissolvable stitches are bothering you, consider making an appointment with a GP or practice nurse, who may be able to remove them, rather than waiting for them to dissolve completely.
A doctor or nurse will tell you when you can get your stitches wet or if they need to be kept dry. This will depend on what kind of wound and dressing you have.
After 48 hours, surgical wounds can get wet without increasing the risk of infection.
After this time, you can get your stitches wet briefly with a light spray (such as in the shower), but they should not be soaked (for example, in the bath).
Make sure you pat the area dry afterwards.
If you have a dressing over your stitches, avoid getting it wet.
Some dressings are waterproof, so you could wet your dressing lightly – for example, with the spray from a shower. However, you should not submerge your dressing underwater. If you’re not sure whether your dressing is waterproof, avoid getting it wet.
Do not remove the dressing unless you’re told to do so by a healthcare professional.
If you have been advised to keep your stitches dry, you could:
Dab your stitches dry with a clean towel after washing, even if the wound area did not get wet, to make sure the area is completely dry.
If your stitches get wet accidentally, dry the area immediately with a clean towel and make sure all the moisture around the stitches is soaked up.
Scars are a natural part of the healing process. Most will fade and become paler over time, although they never completely disappear.
Scarring is part of the body’s natural healing process after tissue is damaged.
When the skin is wounded, the tissues break, which causes a protein called collagen to be released. Collagen builds up where the tissue is damaged, helping to heal and strengthen the wound.
New collagen continues forming for several months and the blood supply increases, causing the scar to become red, raised and lumpy.
In time, some collagen breaks down at the site of the wound and the blood supply reduces. The scar gradually becomes smoother, softer and paler.
Although scars are permanent, they can fade over a period of up to two years. It’s unlikely they’ll fade any more after this time.
A minor wound like a cut will usually heal to leave a red, raised line, which will gradually get paler and flatter over time.
This process can take up to two years. The scar won’t disappear completely and you’ll be left with a visible mark or line.
Fine-line scars are common following a wound or after surgery. They aren’t usually painful, but they may be itchy for a few months.
On darker skin types, the scar tissue may fade to leave a brown or white mark. A pale scar may be more obvious on tanned skin because scar tissue doesn’t tan.
For more information on scars, head to the NHS website page on scars.