How to Prepare for Surgery?

November 06, 2019

Whether elective or required, surgery is a big deal. From understanding what to expect during the procedure to healing and complications, being prepared for surgery is the best way to remain confident and have a speedy recovery. Here are some tips on how to prepare for surgery. 

Preparing for surgery

There are many ways to prepare for surgery. Being mindful of health, learning about the procedure, and knowing who will be involved in the process are ways to ensure a successful surgery and smooth recovery. 

Surgery is an intimidating process, but knowing what to expect can put the mind at ease. Find out if surgeons are qualified by asking about their experience. Make sure that the facility is licensed and accredited, and whether or not emergency procedures exist. Know if a physician anesthesiologist will be the one to administer anesthesia. An anesthesiologist will determine the appropriate dosage of anesthesia by asking about health habits and medications, alcohol and recreational drug use, and previous experience with anesthesia. This is the time to discuss any fears and concerns about going under, and what to expect during recovery. 

Getting healthy before anesthesia 

The type of anesthesia given depends on the type of surgery. Local anesthesia numbs a specific spot, regional anesthesia affects a large area, and general anesthesia affects the entire body. Some forms of anesthesia are inhaled while others are injected. Surgical guidelines recommend that patients fast from clear liquids for two hours or more prior to surgery. Clear liquids with complex carbohydrates can help reduce nausea, vomiting, and pain following surgery. 

In the weeks leading up to surgery, it is important to consume plenty of protein. Eating 1.2 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight every day can boost immunity, promote healing, and support muscle mass. Eating plenty of fiber will reduce the chances of constipation common with pain medications and reduced physical activity. Fruits and vegetables are high in anti-inflammatory compounds known as phytochemicals. These compounds help the body naturally heal itself post-surgery. 

Smokers should refrain from smoking at least two weeks prior to undergoing surgery. Smoking decreases blood flow, which increases the chances of post-surgery complications like heart attack, shock, stroke, and even death. Increasing physical activity in the weeks before surgery can help prevent blood clots and speed up recovery. Follow doctor’s instructions before and after surgery about nutrition. 

What to Expect 

Determine the costs of the surgical procedure beforehand. Check with insurance to find out what percentage of costs will need to be paid out of pocket. If the cost is an issue, talk with the physician about financial options. Common costs include: Surgeon’s fee, hospital fees, and fees for other services such as anesthesia, physician assistants, and medical consultants. 

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Every surgery poses risks for complications. Common complications include: Shock, hemorrhage, wound infection, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary complications, urinary retention, and reaction to anesthesia. Treating post-surgical complications depends on age, overall health, and medical history. The severity of disease, type of procedure, and medication tolerance are also factors. 

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