Health information

Resources for patients and their families about conditions, treatments and procedures.

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A

Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) open repair surgery

An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a life-threatening swelling in the aorta (the main artery in the body). It can be repaired with surgery to replace the weak section of the aorta with a piece of manmade tubing (a graft).

Abscess treatment

The procedure to treat an abscess by draining it and removing the infected tissue with a local or general anaesthetic.

Achilles tendinopathy

Managing pain caused by Achilles tendinopathy and exercises to strengthen the tendon that connects the back of the lower part of your leg muscles to the heel bone.

Acute pancreatitis

How we diagnose and treat mild or severe cases of acute pancreatitis. This is when the pancreas becomes inflamed or swollen over a short time. Sometimes, your treatment might include surgery to remove the gallbladder (a small pouch under the liver).

Adalimumab for inflammatory bowel disease

Adalimumab is medicine to treat moderate to severe, and active inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including conditions such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

AMBER care bundle when recovery is uncertain

How the AMBER care bundle helps to improve the quality of care for people who are seriously unwell and may not get better.

Amitriptyline for facial pain

Amitriptyline is a medicine that can be used for treating chronic (long-term) pain in the face.

Anaesthetic

Anaesthesia stops you from feeling pain during an operation, procedure or treatment. Find out about local, regional and general anaesthetics.

Anal fissure treatment

Overview of treatment for anal fissures, which are small cracks or tears in the skin of your anus (where poo leaves your bottom). 

Anal fistula treatment

An anal fistula is a tunnel that develops between the bowel and the skin of the anus (bottom). It is treated with surgery.

Appendicectomy (surgery to remove the appendix)

Appendicectomy is surgery to treat appendicitis, when your appendix has become inflamed, infected or ruptured.

Azathioprine and mercaptopurine for inflammatory bowel disease

Taking azathioprine or mercaptopurine for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) including how they work, other medicines, regular blood tests and side effects.

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B

Biobanking tissue for research

How we collect extra samples of tissue and bodily fluids for research to diagnose, prevent and treat conditions. 

Biologic and advanced therapies for autoimmune conditions

What to expect if you take a biologic medicine or advanced therapy for an autoimmune or inflammatory condition. This includes information on screening tests, having your medicine delivered and how to take it.

Blood clots and lowering your risk

You are at increased risk of blood clots while in hospital and for 90 days after you leave. It's important to know the symptoms and follow our instructions to lower your risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE), collectively known as venous thromboembolism (VTE).

Bone grafting for dental implants

You might need bone graft surgery before having dental implants. This increases the amount of bone available if you do not have enough bone in your jaw for us to put in the implants.

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C

Cancer care and support

Personalised cancer care is designed to meet your needs and focus on what matters to you, giving you the care and support you need to live as well as possible during and after treatment.

Cardiac (heart) MRI

Cardiac (heart) MRI scans use strong magnetic fields and radiowaves to produce detailed pictures of inside your body.  

Cataract surgery

Cataract surgery replaces your cloudy lens with an artificial lens. This procedure takes about 30 minutes and is done under local anaesthetic.

Chest drain

A chest drain lets fluid or air leave your body and helps your breathing. Read more about having a chest drain and looking after it. 

Cochlear implant

Videos about the assessment process for a cochlear implant at St Thomas' hearing implant centre.

Collecting blood for a blood spot card

How to collect blood using a lancing device and blood spot card if you are being treated in our inherited metabolic diseases clinics.

Colonic transit study

This test looks at how your large bowel (colon) is working using X-rays after swallowing some capsules. It can be used to diagnose conditions. 

Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is a routine test to examine the lining of your bowel, also called the large intestine or colon.

Colonoscopy diet advice and bowel preparation

Instructions to prepare for your colonoscopy, including medicines, diet and bowel preparation from 4 days before your appointment.

Colorectal cancer follow-up after treatment

Personalised follow-up (sometimes called PFU) is how we support you after cancer treatment. Our aim is to give you the care and support that are important to you.

Compass programme for your long-term condition

Compass is an online treatment programme. It's for people with long-term physical health conditions, who experience low mood or anxiety, or find it difficult to manage their condition.

Contrast injection leak (extravasation)

This information explains what happens, and what you should do, if the contrast dye injection you had for an MRI or CT scan leaks under your skin. This is called extravasation.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and malnutrition

Signs of malnutrition and how to make sure you get the nutrients you need, including what you can do if you're at higher risk.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) recovery

A guide to help you recover from coronavirus (COVID-19) and manage the symptoms that affect you.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) treatment and protection for people at high risk

Information for people at highest risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus (COVID-19) about the treatment available. Guidance about autumn boosters for people who are eligible.

Critical care and communicating with your family member

If your family member is in critical care, they might find it hard to communicate for different reasons. There are ways to help you communicate with your family member. 

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D

Daily tasks using one hand

Advice on how to do everyday activities using only one hand including personal care, washing, dressing, eating and cooking.

Delirium (sudden confusion)

Delirium can be treated at hospital or managed at home. This condition can be frightening for the person and their loved ones. It's important to know the signs and understand what can help.

Dental cone beam CT scan (CBCT)

How to prepare for a dental cone beam CT scan of your jaw and teeth, including the benefits and what to expect.

Dental day surgery under general anaesthetic

How to prepare for dental day surgery under general anaesthetic and understanding what happens afterwards.

Dental implants

Dental implants are long-lasting artificial replacements for your tooth roots to help support dentures, crowns (caps) or bridges. 

Dental surgery and recovery

Dental surgery can cause side effects like pain, bleeding and swelling. You can avoid an infection by looking after your mouth after surgery. 

Diabetes and pregnancy

Information if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes and are pregnant or planning to get pregnant. This explains your healthcare during pregnancy and how you and your baby can stay healthy.

Diabetes care in hospital

This information explains the care that you can expect for your diabetes while you are in hospital.

Diabetes medicines: GLP-1 agonists

How medicines called glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) agonists help you to manage type 2 diabetes, together with healthy lifestyle changes.

Diabetes treatment and the safe use of insulin

If you take insulin to manage your diabetes, it is important to use it safely. You need to have the right insulin, in the right dose (amount), in the right way, at the right time. You also need to store insulin and dispose of used needles safely.

Diabetic eye screening drops

Information for anybody who has diabetic eye screening using Tropicamide 1% eye drops. It is important to know the possible side effects until your sight returns to normal.

Diabetic eye screening in pregnancy

Who needs diabetic eye screening in pregnancy, how often, what happens during the test and possible results.

Diet after weight loss surgery

Eating and drinking after surgery for weight loss (bariatric or metabolic) including after sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass or gastric band.

Direct oral anticoagulants

DOACs thin your blood to treat atrial fibrillation, deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism. They can be used instead of warfarin but, as they are taken as a fixed dose, you do not need regular blood tests.

Discharge medicines service

Our discharge medicines service is a free service when you leave hospital. It puts you in touch with your community pharmacist. They talk to you about your medicines and help you to feel confident about taking them at home.

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E

Endoscopic muscosal resection (EMR)

Endoscopic muscosal resection (EMR) is a gastroscopy procedure to remove pre-cancerous cells, or small areas of cancer, without the need for major surgery. 

Endoscopic ultrasound for guided drainage

An EUS can treat an infected gallbladder or blocked bile duct. It uses a flexible tube called an endoscope down your food pipe (oesophagus) into your stomach and the first part of your small intestine.

Entonox (gas and air) for pain relief in the endoscopy unit

Entonox is a mixture of gas and air. You can breathe in Entonox to help with pain and anxiety during some bowel procedures in the endoscopy unit.

ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangio pancreatography)

An ERCP is used to diagnose and treat problems with the biliary system. Find out more about what an ERCP is and why it is done. 

Exercise and keeping active as an older adult

Guidance for older adults on why it is important to keep active, how much exercise to do, staying motivated and finding local classes.

Expressing your breast milk

How to express breastmilk for your baby who is premature or sick using your hand or a pump.

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a temporary life support system for people whose lungs have stopped working properly.

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F

Falls

Information for people who have had a fall or are worried about falling, and their family members or carers. This covers why you might fall, how to prevent falls and how to get support.

Fibroscan to check for liver inflammation

What to expect when you have a fibroscan to measure inflammation in your liver.

Fit note

How to get a fit note from your hospital doctor as an inpatient or outpatient.

Flexible sigmoidoscopy

A flexible sigmoidoscopy is a procedure to look at your large bowel (colon). It uses a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope. This examination helps us to diagnose your symptoms, or check the condition of your bowel, or take samples (biopsies) and remove polyps if needed. 

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G

Gallbladder removal surgery (cholecystectomy)

Surgery to remove your gallbladder (a small sac below your liver) is called a cholecystectomy. You might need this surgery if you have small stones called gallstones that cause pain or complications.

Gastric band adjustments

How we adjust your gastric band to make sure it's working properly by making it tighter or looser, and what you need to do afterwards.

Gastroscopy

A gastroscopy is when we examine the upper part of your digestive system to diagnose or monitor conditions.

Glued wounds

Instructions for looking after a wound that has been glued. 

Grazax hay fever treatment

We might recommend Grazax tablets if you are severely allergic to grass pollen. You need to start treatment before the grass pollen season.

Gum disease treatment

Specialist deep cleaning can help with gum disease and symptoms such as red, swollen, sore and bleeding gums. It can also help with teeth feeling loose and the freshness of your breath.

Gynaecological cancer treatment follow-up

What to expect after treatment for gynaecological cancer, including clinic appointments and support from cancer clinical nurse specialists. 

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H

Hand therapy activity list

Light, medium and heavy activities that will help your therapist to explain what you can or cannot do after an injury or surgery.

Harrison wing stable patient pathway

If you have HIV and your condition is stable, you can have fewer appointments each year for tests and reviewing your medicine. This is called the stable patient pathway. It means that you can spend less time travelling and at the hospital.  

Head injury

Symptoms to look out for if someone has had a head injury and information about recovering.

Hepatitis B vaccination for kidney patients

Information about the hepatitis B vaccination for people at increased risk of getting hepatitus B from their kidney condition.

Hepatitis testing in the emergency department (A&E)

A hepatitis test is offered to all people who need a blood test in the emergency department.

Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS)

A guide for living with HS and coping with the emotional and practical effects. It includes how to manage difficult thoughts and feelings.

HIV tests in the emergency department and urgent care

If you need a blood test while you are in A&E then we'll look for HIV infection in your blood in line with NICE guidance.

Homecare medicines service

Certain medicines prescribed by the hospital can be delivered to you. Find out more about registering for this service, delivery, storing medicines and going abroad.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is medicine used to treat menopausal symptoms. Find information on how HRT is taken, the side effects and the risks.

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I

Inducing labour

Why we induce labour and ways of inducing labour, including by softening your cervix using a pessary, gel or balloon catheter, or by breaking your waters or using a hormone IV drip.

Indwelling pleural catheter (IPC)

An indwelling pleural catheter (IPC) is a small, soft and flexible tube. We put the tube into your chest to remove fluid from around your lungs. This helps with breathlessness.

Itchy bottom (pruritus ani)

The causes of pruritus ani, which is continual itching or irritation around the bottom (anus), and treatments for this condition.

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J

Jaw (orthognathic) surgery

Surgery can correct any imbalance between the upper and lower jaw and allow people to bite their teeth together.

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K

Kidney stone pain (renal colic)

Information for people who have been in the emergency department (A&E) for pain from kidney stones (renal colic).

Knee osteoarthritis education and management session

What to expect if you come to a knee osteoarthritis education and management session. This session gives you information on how to manage your condition and symptoms.

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L

Labour and birth

Pain relief options in labour including gas and air, diamorphine, epidural and PCA pump.

Let's talk: advance care planning

Our guide to planning and sharing how you want to be cared for in the future or at the end of your life. It covers having a conversation, how to record your wishes, and how advance care planning can help you and your loved ones.

Lithotripsy treatment for kidney stones

Lithotripsy uses shock waves to treat kidney stones that can be found in your kidney or ureter.

Low back pain

How to manage low back pain and associated stress or anxiety using physiotherapy, exercises and relaxation.

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M

Mandibular repositioning appliance (MRA)

A mandibular repositioning appliance (MRA) is a dental device that you wear while you sleep. It can help to treat snoring and sleep apnoea.

Medicines and how to manage them

Information about the support available to manage the side effects of medicines. This can include reviewing your medicines with a GP, asking questions about new medicines and getting support from your local pharmacy.

Medicines questions you can ask

Questions about your medicines you can ask the doctor, nurse or pharmacist including how and when to take them, side effects and what they do.

Methotrexate for inflammatory bowel disease

Methotrexate is a medicine that helps to treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a condition of the gut that's usually life-long.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR)

How MBSR can help you manage your long-term condition and symptoms.

Mpox

Common symptoms of mpox (previously known as monkeypox) and how to treat them.

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N

Needle phobia and overcoming your fear

How to use relaxation, applied tension technique and a fear ladder to help you overcome the fear of needles and injections.

NHS services

NHS and public services for refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants.

Nissen fundoplication for severe acid reflux

A Nissen fundoplication is surgery to treat severe and ongoing acid reflux gastro-oesophageal reflux disease or GORD). You usually have keyhole (laparoscopic) surgery to make a new valve between your food pipe and stomach.

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O

Opioid pain management clinic

How our clinic can help with high-dose opioid medicines and management of long-term (chronic) pain.

Oralvac Compact immunotherapy for allergies

Oralvac® Compact are drops that you put under your tongue to treat severe allergies. They are used if your current medicine does not control your symptoms well.

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P

Pancreatic cysts - intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm

Treatment for cysts in the pancreas, called intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPNM) which could be cancerous and need to be removed or carefully monitored. 

Paracentesis (draining fluid from the tummy)

Paracentesis is a procedure to treat a condition called ascites, which is a build-up of fluid in the tummy. It involves putting a plastic tube (drain) into the tummy through the skin.

Paracetamol poisoning treatment

Acetylcysteine treatment (using SNAP) for paracetamol poisoning and overdose.

PEP emergency medicines for exposure to HIV

How and when to take post-exposure prophylaxis (or PEP) medicines if you might have been exposed to HIV, to prevent you from getting the virus.

Perianal abscess surgery

You can have surgery to remove the infected tissue of a perianal abscess. This is a painful, swollen area near the opening of your bottom (anus).

Piles (haemorrhoids)

What causes piles (haemorrhoids), symptoms, treatment options and lifestyle changes.

Pilonidal sinus surgery

Information on treating a pilonidal sinus (a small hole under the skin between the cheeks of your bottom) with surgery.

Planned (elective) caesarean birth

A guide to having a planned (elective) caesarean birth or C-section. This is surgery to deliver a baby through a cut made in your tummy and womb.

Pleural biopsy

A pleural biopsy is a procedure that takes a sample of the pleura, using a special needle. Read more about having a pleural biopsy. 

Pleurodesis using a chest drain

Pleurodesis seals the space between your lungs and chest wall to stop fluid collecting. Read more about having pleurodesis. 

POEM surgery for achalasia (difficulty swallowing)

Peroral endoscopic myotomy (POEM) is surgery for a condition called achalasia. This is when the muscles in your food pipe do not work properly. The surgery can help your symptoms and make swallowing easier.

Postural hypotension (low blood pressure when you stand up)

Information on postural hypotension (a drop in blood pressure when you stand up after lying or sitting down). This covers the symptoms and possible causes of the condition, and how it is diagnosed and treated.

Prostate cancer surgery follow-up

What to expect after prostate cancer surgery, including clinic appointments, blood tests, and support from prostate cancer clinical nurse specialists. 

Protein in your diet for upper gastrointestinal (UGI) surgery

How to make sure that you have enough protein in your diet before and after your upper gastrointestinal surgery. This is important for wound healing, strength and your recovery.

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R

Rectal prolapse and perineal repair

Symptoms of a rectal prolapse, and the risks and benefits of perineal repair surgery.

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S

Sedation in the emergency department

Guidance after having sedation medicines to help you relax.

SeHCAT study

A SeHCAT scan looks at how well your body absorbs bile salts to digest fats and get rid of toxins in the body, if you have recurring diarrhoea or bile acid malabsorption (BAM).

Self-administration of medicines in hospital

You or your carer can be responsible for administering your own medicines while you stay in hospital, if we agree that this is safe. 

Sotrovimab for coronavirus

Sotrovimab medicine for treating coronavirus (COVID-19), including side effects and restrictions.

Steri-Strips

Instructions to help your wound heal if Steri-Strips have been used.

Steroids for autoimmune hepatitis (AIH)

Steroids is a medicine that helps to treat autoimmune hepatitis (AIH), a liver condition that's usually life-long. 

Stitches

How to look after stitches (sutures).

Surgery at our hospitals

Information about the stages of having surgery at our hospitals. They include being referred to us, having an outpatient appointment, deciding to have surgery, keeping well while you wait, having a pre-operative assessment, going to hospital and recovering.

Surgical wounds and preventing infections

You can prevent surgical wound infection by being aware of the signs, looking after your wound and keeping your hands clean.

Surveillance colonoscopy for patients with inflammatory bowel disease

Regular screening by having a colonoscopy is important for preventing bowel cancer in people who have had IBD for a long time.

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T

TAVI for aortic stenosis

If you have a heart condition called aortic stenosis, you might need a transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) procedure. This is when we put a new valve inside the narrowed aortic valve in your heart under a local anaesthetic.

Testicular torsion surgery

Scrotal exploration surgery is emergency treatment for when the testicle is twisted and cuts of the blood supply, usually diagnosed by sudden, severe testicle pain.

Testosterone for low sex drive in the menopause

You can have testosterone treatment for low sex drive in the menopause at the same time as hormone replacement therapy (HRT). It can be particularly helpful for people who had an early menopause.

Thoracocentesis (pleural aspiration or pleural tap)

Thoracocentesis is a procedure to remove fluid from the space between your lungs and chest wall (pleural space). Find out more about having this procedure. 

Tilt table test

We do a tilt table test to find why you might feel dizzy or light-headed, or lose consciousness. We check if your symptoms are connected to changes in your heart beat or blood pressure. The test might include a neck massage called a carotid sinus massage.

Transnasal endoscopy

A transnasal endoscopy (TNE) can be used to look at the foodpipe (oesophagus), stomach and small intestine. A thin flexible tube called an endoscope is passed through your nose and down the back of your throat.

Transvaginal rectocele repair and levatorplasty

A levatorplasty is surgery to repair a rectocele, which is a bulging of the anus (bottom) into the vagina. This surgery strengthens the area by stitching pelvic floor muscles together.

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U

Unlicensed medicines

Unlicensed medicines are not officially approved for your condition, but your doctor can prescribe them if they feel that this is safe. 

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V

Vital 5 ways to stay healthy

Information about smoking, alcohol, body mass index (BMI), mental health and blood pressure to stay healthy.

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W

Wisdom teeth

Removing wisdom teeth to treat infection, tooth decay, gum disease and cysts.

Wrist bone (scaphoid) injury

Managing a suspected scaphoid (wrist bone) injury if we have seen you in the emergency department and you are having an MRI scan.

Wrist sprains or strains

Information if we have treated you in the emergency department for a sprained or strained wrist.

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X

Xeroderma pigmentosum (XP)

XP is a rare, lifelong genetic (inherited) condition. It means that your body cannot repair skin damage caused by ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from sunlight.

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