SummaryRead the full fact sheet
- Day surgery, also known as same-day surgery, is performed when a patient can be safely discharged from hospital on the same day they are admitted.
What is day surgery?
Day surgery, also known as same-day surgery, is performed when a patient can be safely discharged from hospital on the same day they are admitted.
Where indicated by your treating specialist and/or surgeon, day surgery is safe.
Your healthcare team may include:
If you have any questions or concerns, talk to your doctor and healthcare team.
Benefits of day surgery
Day surgery means you avoid an unnecessary hospital stay.
It can improve your health outcomes by reducing the risk of hospital-acquired infections and allowing you to recover in a familiar environment. This means you can return to your usual activities faster.
Day surgery also helps other patients by freeing up hospital beds and reducing surgery wait times.
Generally, before your admission, your hospital will let you know that it is expected you will go home on the same day as your surgery if it is safe to do so.
The hospital will also let you know:
- when and where you should arrive for your surgery on the day
- any information or instructions to follow before or after your surgery.
Here are some things you can do to support the success of your surgery and a safe, speedy recovery.
Stay active and eat well
before surgery. Include protein in your diet, such as lean meats, eggs, legumes and fish. Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity a day. This can build and maintain muscle and joint health, give you energy for healing and reduce stress.
You may find these resources helpful:
Share your health history
Before surgery you’ll be asked to complete a questionnaire to check day surgery is safe for you. It’s important to tell your healthcare team about any health conditions or medications you’re taking for optimal preparation, care and recovery.
Be sure to tell your doctor:
- any airway difficulties,
- obstructive , or if you snore or wake up gasping for air
- if your is higher than 35.
- anything else you think they should know.
Ensure you have the right support
It is important you feel supported during your surgical journey. Talk to your healthcare team about your needs, including cultural, linguistic, gender or sexual identity, or your functional ability.
What do you want to know? Bring written questions to your appointments and take notes.
Consider bringing a support person to appointments, such as a family member or support worker.
Your hospital may have support services available, including:
- in-person and telephone interpreters
- disability liaison officers
- Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander liaison officers
- LGBTQIA+ liaison officers
- social workers.
- TTY users – call then ask for 1300 664 786
- Speak and Listen users – call then ask for 1300 60 60 24
- Internet relay users – connect to the National Relay Service then ask for 1300 60 60 24
Planning ahead helps ensure a smooth and easy return home after day surgery. This may include arranging:
- Caring responsibilities, children, pets or older people.
- Time off work.
- A safe place to stay that is close to a health service – within 30 minutes is ideal. If home isn’t suitable, consider staying with loved ones.
- A support person or carer to stay with you, with good thinking skills to monitor your recovery and get help if needed.
- Transportation to and from the hospital. It is often recommended not to drive for at least 24 hours after surgery. Check car parking and ask about patient drop-off and pick-up zones.
- Equipment to support recovery. Your healthcare team will assess if you need extra equipment, such as walking aids or a shower chair.
Let your hospital know about important changes
Contact your hospital as soon as possible if you:
- change any contact details, such as your address or phone number
- are unable to attend due to work or family commitments
- have a new medical problem or
- no longer have a support person or carer to stay with you after surgery
- have concerns about your surgery.
In the 3 days before your surgery, tell your hospital if you have:
- a temperature or (feeling hot or cold)
- a sore , cough or other breathing problems
- a rash or swelling
- been feeling generally unwell
- a cut, break or tear in your
- or vomiting
- had a recent unplanned visit to an or .
Preparing for the day of surgery
Your hospital will tell you when to stop eating and drinking before surgery (fasting). This includes mints and chewing gum. Make sure to write down and follow your healthcare team’s instructions. If you don’t follow them correctly, your surgery may be delayed or cancelled.
Be ready for recovery at home with prepared meals and other important items within easy reach. In case you need to stay in hospital, pack a bag with underwear, toiletries and clean clothes and give it to your support person.
What to bring
- Comfortable clothing (consider where surgical wounds will be) and mobile phone (make sure it is fully charged)
- Any medication you usually take in its original package
- , healthcare, DVA or private health card
- Glasses, hearing aids or other communication aids or devices
- Relevant test results, or scans
- Children may bring a favourite toy
What not to bring
- Valuables or large amounts of money (i.e. over $20)
- Large bags or excessive clothing
- Avoid wearing jewellery, nail polish and fake nails, makeup (including false lashes) or contact lenses
Before leaving the hospital, your healthcare team will give you instructions on managing pain, dressings, medications, movement or diet restrictions, and who to contact with concerns. You and your support person need to understand what successful recovery looks like and what warning signs to look for.
Don’t hesitate to take notes and ask questions if you’re unclear about any information.
Your healthcare team will also let you know what follow-up care is required. It is important to attend all appointments to ensure you are recovering well.
Follow-up may include:
- a phone call, video call or text message
- a pre-arranged doctor/GP or outpatient appointment
- the Hospital in the Home (HITH) service, where a nurse may visit you at home.
- personal care, such as showering
- home care, such as shopping or cleaning
- community nursing or allied health, such as physiotherapy.
You can provide feedback on your day surgery experience by:
- completing your local health service’s feedback survey or contact their consumer liaison officer
- contacting Victoria’s .
Where to get help
- Your treating specialist and/or surgeon
- Your local
- Tel. – for expert health information and advice (24 hours, 7 days)
- , a public health service to treat non-life-threatening emergencies
- If it’s an emergency:
Preparing for day surgery brochure
It is available for download in a number of languages: