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If you have a minor medical issue, your doctor may refer you for a day-case surgical procedure using local anaesthetic. This means you will have a minor surgery and can go home the same day. Local anaesthetic is used to numb a specific area of your body, so you won't feel any pain during the procedure.

You might need this for various reasons. Some common ones include:

  1. Removing a small lump or growth, like a cyst or wart
  2. Repairing skin wounds or lacerations
  3. Treating an abscess
  4. Investigating a problem, like taking a biopsy to check for cancer
  5. Treating minor eye or ear issues
  6. Removing benign moles
  7. Removing skin cancers
  8. Eye injections
  9. Joint injections

Each of these reasons is unique, but they all have one thing in common: your doctor believes a day-case procedure with local anaesthetic will help improve your health. 

At Blackrock Health, our hospitals in Dublin and Galway have a long-standing history of excellence in the field of surgery. Across the three hospitals, we have a shared history of many decades in providing expert surgical care. Our experienced and highly qualified surgeons are highly skilled in performing a wide range of surgical procedures. These range from routine surgeries to more complex and specialised operations. We have a reputation for using the latest surgical techniques and technologies. This includes minimally invasive and robot-assisted surgery when advisable and where possible. We are committed to providing personalised care that is tailored to your individual needs. Our team works closely with other specialists to ensure that you receive the best possible care before, during and after your surgery. Whether you require surgery for a minor issue or a more complex condition, we can help you on your journey towards the best possible outcome. 

What to expect if you are having a day case procedure with local anaesthetic

Many patients go to Blackrock Health for small day-case procedures that need local anaesthetic. This page answers some common questions on this topic.

What does Local Anaesthetic (LA) mean?

Local anaesthetic means a numbing agent is given near the place on your body where you're having the procedure. It's usually given by injection to numb the skin, so the procedure can happen without pain. The anaesthetic works quickly and lasts a few hours after the procedure. If you are scared of injections, a numbing cream can be used one hour before the procedure. This doesn't fully numb the skin, so an injection is still needed. The injection is less uncomfortable when numbing cream is used. However, the cream takes about an hour to work, and many patients don't want to wait longer in the hospital. Most choose the injection, which only takes a few seconds. If you want numbing cream, please let us know well before the procedure, and we'll arrange an appointment to apply the cream one hour before your surgery.

How long will I be in hospital?

Most day-case procedures take between 15-45 minutes, depending on what needs to be done. You'll be asked to arrive about 15 minutes before your procedure to complete paperwork. Don't schedule anything right after the procedure. Allow an extra hour or two for the appointment, as there can be delays, or you might not feel comfortable leaving right away. Most patients can return to light daily activities immediately. If there are restrictions, you'll be advised.

Can I go to the gym or undertake heavy exercise following surgery?

Avoid strenuous exercise for at least 48 hours after a day case procedure to prevent bleeding or the wound splitting. If there are further restrictions, you'll be advised at the time of surgery. Use common sense and don't overdo it.

I’m going on holidays around that time. Is that a problem?

Tell your surgeon about any holiday plans or trips away. It might be better to schedule your surgery for a different time or change travel plans. At the simplest level, you might need stitches removed or dressings changed, which could be more difficult abroad or away from the hospital or your GP practice. Though complications are rare, they can happen, and they're easier to sort out if we're accessible to you. Plus, a complication could interfere with your holiday.

Long-distance flights increase the risk of leg clots (DVT), and this risk rises after surgery, although it's more associated with general anaesthetic or in-patient treatment. Consider this when booking surgery dates and/or trips abroad.

Will my stitches be dissolvable?

We generally use dissolvable stitches when possible. These are usually under the skin, stitched from the inside out, making them invisible from the outside. This method isn't suitable for all body parts or procedures. If these stitches are used, you can usually remove the dressing yourself after a certain number of days and avoid another appointment for stitch removal.

Another type of dissolvable stitches is visible on the surface and takes 2-3 weeks to disappear.

In some cases, standard non-dissolvable stitches give a better result, and these will need to be removed at your GP practice or the hospital dressing clinic. You'll receive specific instructions if that's the case.

What if I need a skin graft during my procedure?

If you need a skin graft, this will have been discussed before your surgery. The procedure will be done with local anaesthetic as described earlier. You'll need to return to the hospital for the dressing, as it's more specialised treatment, and the first dressing should be done by staff familiar with skin grafts. Stitches may need to be removed, and you'll likely need further dressings for 2-3 weeks after a skin graft.

What happens during a day-case procedure?

You'll be asked to arrive at the hospital 15 minutes before your appointment to check in and complete the necessary paperwork. This includes contact details, medication and allergy information, and insurance forms if relevant. You'll then wait in the pre-operative waiting area. While we try to minimise delays, some procedures take longer than expected, causing delays for following patients.

You'll then be taken into the minor operations theatre. You won't need to undress or change clothes for this procedure. Some administrative checks are done again. Repeated requests for your name and date of birth ensure all labelling and charts are correct. Please be patient with these checks, as they're a necessary safety procedure.

Next, the local anaesthetic is given by injection, which only takes a few seconds. Once the skin is numb, the procedure begins. First, the area is washed with an antiseptic. This feels cold and wet despite the numbing of the skin. Then, the lesion is removed, and the area is sutured. Finally, a dressing is applied.

How should I handle the dressing?

You'll receive full instructions and a post-operative information sheet with details on dressing care, showering, return visits, and more. Instructions will vary depending on the nature of the problem, the procedure, the stitches used, and any ongoing medical conditions or medications.

How do I get this?

You will need a referral letter from your GP or consultant before you make an appointment

Is this insured?

Not all services are covered by health insurance. To find out if you're covered, please check your health insurance before your visit. You can do this on our health insurance cover check page, or by contacting your health insurer. 

How do I pay?

If you do not have health insurance or your health plan does not cover the full cost, you will need to pay the balance due before your treatment or procedure. You may be able to claim back some fees on your insurance. To pay an excess not covered by your insurance or any other inpatient fees, please visit our payment page. If you have any queries about paying for your care, please contact the finance team in your hospital.

Available at:
  • Blackrock Clinic
  • Galway Clinic
  • Hermitage Clinic

Blackrock Clinic

Rock Road, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, A94E4X7
Day-Case Procedures with Local Anaesthetic

Galway Clinic

Doughiska Galway, Galway H91HHT0
Day-Case Procedures with Local Anaesthetic

Hermitage Clinic

Old Lucan Road, Dublin, D20 W722
Day-Case Procedures with Local Anaesthetic