Ablation pre op preparation.: I'm going for... - AF Association

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Ablation pre op preparation.

Palpman profile image

I'm going for my first ablation next week in Bristol.

The notes I received for the preparation is not too clear on some points.

It says I must wash myself twice with the supplied disinfectant soap and the nurse will tell me where to shave using a clipper and not a blade.

Now do I do this at home before leaving or will I be asked to do so at the hospital?

33 Replies

Have they sent you the disinfectant soap?

Yes they did. That is why I'm confused.

I'd wash yourself all over twice with that soap at home then and a nurse will show you the area to shave when you arrive at the hospital. I remember being shaved when I was actually in the room about to have my ablation. A male nurse about my age at the time, came apologizing for him having to do it as there were no female nurses on duty that day.

Jalia profile image
Jalia in reply to jeanjeannie50


I would imagine this would be at the hospital. I have my ablation next week also (4th).....haven't been supplied with soap though, just told to shower before leaving home and nurse will shave groin area on admission. As I've ' been there, done that ' I'll d/w that myself beforehand. Good luck ! Are you having Cryo?

Palpman profile image
Palpman in reply to Jalia

No. I'm having radio.

Jalia profile image
Jalia in reply to Palpman

Same here, with sedation

BobD profile image

When I had my last ablation in 2019 I had to stay in London the night before in a Travel Lodge and did the showering there just before getting a taxi across to the hospital (Royal Brompton ) The Hibiscrub they supply is fine but don't expect lather. I had spoken to RBH before hand and there was facility to shower there but time was short.

In the old days for my first three I used to do my own Brazilian but not a good look. lol 😁

Thanks for replying. I will shower at home and shave but if they insist I'll do so again at hospital.

No "shaving" allowed but clipping only.

I always did it at home but invariably they did a bit more hair removal of their own.


I don't get the no shave only clip rule ... I would shave it clean like a babies bottom, at home. It will grow back. Good luck.

I had no instructions for either of my ablations nor given any soap. Going on things I had read on here I prepared the work surface before going to hospital. First time I only did half but due to bleeding from the groin they put a pressure thing on with lots of tape right across. When nurse cam to take it off she asked if I wanted the ouch, ouch, ouch or the OOOOUUUCCCHHH removal. I opted for the latter and had my first Brazilian! Second time I was taking no chances and did the lot. Hope all goes well for you.

So for us gentlemen there is really good reason to prepare for ablation because some of the big sticky pads do hurt when they rip them off body hair. Not just the groin area …. don’t forget your chest and back

Having learned on my first ablation, On my second ablation I shaved my chest to babies bottom standard the day before that gives the sensor pads better contact and is nicer when they come off . I asked my long suffering wife to do the same on my back.

I strongly recommend you do this

Regarding the groin I would call them to understand the no shave rule, my guess ( as a microbiologist) is they don’t want freshly shaved areas because of the potential for micro cuts getting infected , but I feel sure that a 2 day before shave of you upper thigh and groin will be allowed and you will be glad if it. Because when you remove the dressing you want it to come off easily without hair pull

The disinfectant soap is most likely an anti MRSA precaution , and really worthwhile make sure you leave it on the skin of your groin for the full contact time they recommend

All of the above is based on my personal experience making my second ablation nicer when dressings etc were removed but don’t worry if you don’t do it ! The worst case scenario is you get a taste of bikini waxing which lots of folk pay for the privilege

Good luck


I have mine on Thursday at The Spire under NHS from Bristol Heart Institute. Been told not to shave area in case of any nicks/cuts which infection could get in to!

Golfer60UK profile image
Golfer60UK in reply to jobristol

Good morning, I had mine at the Spire with Dr Ashley Nisbet, brilliant woman

Palpman profile image
Palpman in reply to Golfer60UK

That's the private hospital a short way up from the Bristol main hospital.

jobristol profile image
jobristol in reply to Palpman

Yes, that’s right. My 3rd ablation, 1st, done at Heart Institute was for flutter in 2017, none since, 2nd for AF Jan 2020, all good for 9 months then it started again, so 3rd to get any bits missed or that have healed. 2nd one was partially successful as I was in persistent AF and now It’s paroxysmal! The Heart Institute is brilliant, good luck hope all goes well for you.

Golfer60UK profile image
Golfer60UK in reply to jobristol

Thanks for your reply, best wishes for the future


Fastbeat profile image
Fastbeat in reply to jobristol

Good luck hope this will get it all ,and be 3rd and final

jobristol profile image
jobristol in reply to Fastbeat

Thanks Jane, hope all good with you.

Fastbeat profile image
Fastbeat in reply to jobristol

Yes im as good as im going to be,permanent AF but i can live with that,much improved over Paroxymal ,so ablation although not the success some would hope for it has made my life so much better so for me that is success on a different level. Good luck Thursday

Golfer60UK profile image
Golfer60UK in reply to Palpman

Yes correct, parking much better now with the new car park there

jobristol profile image
jobristol in reply to Golfer60UK

Mine is with Dr Palash Barman, he is brilliant too. Dr Nisbet was my named consultant for my first ablation (2017) which was for flutter and was done at the Heart Institute, but was performed by another consultant.

Golfer60UK profile image
Golfer60UK in reply to jobristol

Best of luck

Hi.I was told yo shave if I could otherwise they would do it.

I decided to carefully do it myself.

In this heat fungal rash in the groin can set in in mere hours. A small cut here can cause all sorts of problems. Even bladder (UTI) and kidney inflammation.

I had my ablation at Bristol heart institute with the same pre op instructions. I used the Hibiscrub all over rinsed and repeated. I didn’t shave not being very hirsute but once I got into the lab a nurse gave me a quick pass with the clippers. I was sedated by that time so didn’t care! Good luck I hope it goes well.

I'm a bit of a barber with doing a number one haircut on myself every month so a number zero down the bottom should be ok. I think.

I was told to shave at home the day before. But I got carried away and shaved my chest too as I once remember the doctor having difficulty sticking ecg tabs on my chest.!! I purchased a bottle of hibiscrub and showered the evening before and again in the morning before setting off to hospital. Clean as a new whistle.👍

hibbi scrub

Just wanted to wish you good luck!

I had my ablation three weeks ago now. The soap and nasal gel, I was told, is to ensure you are not carrying MRSA into the hospital. Yes, do it all at home, as thoroughly as you can. I get the 'not using a blade' thing, as they don't want to see any scratches or wounds in the area they are going to make their insertion, and also will need to put dressings on afterwards. For the ladies, I suspect a quick once over with a lady shaver should do. I was told to only do the right side, but I personally chose to trim back the left (not too close) as well, to prevent stray hairs causing problems.

It's still itching as it grows back.

Shower, shampoo at home, they'll disinfect whatever they need.

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