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Perioperative care in adults - NICE Guideline

This guideline covers care for adults (aged 18 and over) having elective or emergency surgery, including dental surgery. It covers all phases of perioperative care, from the time people are booked for surgery until they are discharged afterward. The guideline includes recommendations on preparing for surgery, keeping people safe during surgery and pain relief during recovery.

The recommendations in this guideline were developed before the COVID-19 pandemic. See NICE’s COVID-19 rapid guideline on arranging planned care in hospitals and diagnostic services and NHS England’s operating framework for urgent and planned services in hospital settings during COVID-19 for guidance on minimising the risk from COVID-19.


This guideline includes recommendations on:

Who is it for?

  • Healthcare professionals, including dentists, in primary, secondary and tertiary care
  • Commissioners, planners and service providers, including those in non-NHS organisations commissioned to provide services for the NHS or local authorities
  • Adults having elective or emergency surgery, their families and carers