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What to Know When You Are Preparing for Surgery

January 19, 2022

Millions of Americans undergo surgery each year. If you happen to be one of them, there may be a lot of thoughts running through your head. You may be feeling anxious, confused or scared. While these emotions are normal, there are ways to feel more comfortable with your upcoming operation. Besides calming your nerves, there are things you can do to prepare yourself for surgery.

Being a good patient means being well-informed. Knowing what to expect, you’ll be able to go through surgery with a minimum of stress. Your healthcare provider should clearly explain the surgical procedure. Make sure you understand how this may improve your medical condition. All surgeries have risks and benefits. It’s important to understand the risks and benefits before surgery. 

Some Do’s and Don’ts for Before Surgery…

The Do’s

  • Check with your doctor regarding which of your medications you should take the morning of your surgery as well as any you may need to suspend before surgery. 
  • Arrange for someone to drive you home and stay with you for the first 24 hours after surgery. 
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing that is easy to put on. 
  • Leave jewelry at home.
  • Shower or bathe the morning of your procedure. Do not use body lotions, oils or perfumes.

The Don’ts

  • Don’t drink alcohol after 6 p.m. the day before surgery.
  • Don’t eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your surgery. 
  • Don’t smoke or use chewing tobacco after midnight the night before your surgery.
  • Don’t take aspirin, coumadin, or any anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen or Celebrex. If you take any other over-the-counter medications regularly, check to see when and if you should stop taking them. This includes vitamin supplements.

Besides the basic instructions that your physician will provide you with, here are some pre-surgery prep tips that can also help you get through the procedure and hopefully back on your feet soon. 

Having a positive outlook can help speed your recovery. 

In the weeks or days leading up to your surgery, drink at least six eight-ounce glasses of fluid per day, preferably water. Being well-hydrated can help control nausea.

Eating enough protein before your operation helps support your immunity, promotes wound healing and assists in maintaining muscle mass. 

The combination of pain medications and reduced physical activity post-surgery can often cause constipation. You will be more comfortable and have a speedier recovery if you engage in activities that promote intestinal motility before and after surgery. Such habits and activities include avoiding narcotic pain medicine, walking and eating plenty of fiber

Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, yogurt and nuts are healthy foods with plenty of fiber. Vegetables and fruits also contain compounds called phytochemicals that reduce the risk for inflammation, which can help your body heal from surgery. 

Research suggests that people who smoke right before their surgery have a greater chance of developing a surgical site infection (at the point of incision) than nonsmokers. Smoking also decreases the body’s blood flow, which can lead to complications. Conversely, individuals who stop smoking have a better chance of a successful surgery, according to research published in 2020 by the World Health Organization and the World Federation of Societies of Anesthesiologists. The study shows that every tobacco-free week after four weeks improves health outcomes by 19%, due to improved blood flow throughout the body to essential organs.

Taking nutritional supplements in the weeks before the operation can help patients load up on the nutrition they’ll need to recover. Research suggests that omega-3s are beneficial for reducing inflammation during the recovery period, and arginine is important because it’s immune-enhancing and helps support metabolic processes that are important in tissue repair.

Keeping your body in shape can help you bounce back after the operation. In the week before your surgery, make a point of walking at least 30 minutes every day. If you have a favorite form of exercise continue your usual exercise regimen

Being at a healthy weight helps your chances of avoiding postoperative complications. Research suggests that patients do better overall when they are at a healthy weight, according to a meta-analysis published in the Annals of Gastroenterological Surgery in 2018. The risk of wound infection decreases and the ability to move around and speed up your recovery is so much better when the patient is closer to an ideal body weight.

If surgery is something you are facing, West Tennessee Medical Group Jackson Surgical Associates specializes in giving the West Tennessee community the best in general surgical care. Find a Provider.