Medical surgeries are among the most delicate procedures inside any hospital, and they come laden with their own sets of risks. Cutting up the body carries the risk of things going wrong at times. Therefore, a lot of preparations go into effect before a patient ends up on the surgeon’s table.
Preparations involve both the doctors and the patients. They not only encompass pre-surgery but also cover the things a patient should do after the completion of the procedure.
Being trained professionals, surgeons have a code of ethics that guides their work and allows them to respond quickly to a situation as it changes. Our focus here is on the patient.
There are things that you, as an individual with a scheduled operation, can do and either jeopardize or boost your chances of walking off the table alive. Here is a breakdown of the things one should do and not do before and after surgery.
What to Do Before Surgery
Organize a Reliable Form of Transportation
As a patient going in for surgery, you have no business driving yourself to the hospital. Ordering a cab or having a family member drive you there is recommended. At that moment, you are sick, and you could be in pain, which may affect your driving. Always have someone accompany you in case something happens along the way. Many hospitals are known to cancel surgeries if the patient shows up alone.
Get Your Finances in Order
Surgeries don’t come cheap, and being in a position to handle the cost relieves pressure. If you are covered by health insurance, get in touch with your insurers in advance and work out all the details at least 48 hrs before you are due in. The last thing you want is to have to deal with surprising bills that you cannot handle.
Eat Lots of Proteins
Contrary to an old popular belief that stipulated avoiding food for 24 hrs before surgery, consuming protein-rich food before an operation boosts immunity, enhances healing of wounds, and promotes muscle building. All these will come in handy in the first 12 hrs post-surgery, where you will most likely be immobilized.
Take Nutritional Supplements
Going into surgery with a robust immunity could make a huge difference, and the quickest way to enhance that is by taking supplements. Regularly taking them weeks in advance can help you stock up on the necessary nutrition for recovery afterward. Supplements like Omega-3, which reduces inflammation, come highly recommended by many experts.
If your condition does not stop you from free movement, you are encouraged to ramp up your physical activities. A brisk 30-minute walk every day or a jog can help you bounce back much quicker compared to being inactive. Going into surgery after being dormant for too long carries the risk of developing complications like blood clots, which are deadly.
Keep in Touch with Your Doctor
Surgery doesn’t commence when the scalpel cuts into your flesh; it begins much earlier than that. Being in touch with your doctor allows them to monitor you as much as possible, which reduces the risk of surprises during surgery. Things like high blood pressure and sugar levels can cause problems if left unchecked.
Know Your Blood-type
Blood losses and the need for transfusions are not uncommon during surgical operations. Knowing your blood group type and lining up potential blood donors from your family is a wise thing to do. Anything can happen in the surgical room, and it is best to have all your bases covered.
Remove All Make-up
Jewelry pieces like earrings and nose rings are not allowed into surgery as they could fall into the body accidentally and cause new complications if undetected. Avoid nail polish at all costs since nails are used by clinicians to tell your oxygen levels during recovery, therefore you need to have them clear.
What to Avoid Before Surgery
Drinking Alcohol or Smoking Cigarettes
Alcohol weakens the immune system and slows down the pace of healing afterward. Alcohol also doesn’t mix well with anesthesia. Doctors recommend that you keep off alcohol for 24 hours before the operation, but it is better to steer clear of any alcoholic drink a week before your surgery for the best results.
Taking Aspirin or Anti-inflammatory Medication
It is essential to inform your doctor of any medication you may be taking before going into surgery. Stop taking aspirins and anti-inflammatory drugs in advance. Here is a list of all the medicines you need to stop taking before scheduling a surgery. Most of these drugs work against anesthesia and other medications administered during surgery.
Do Not Shave the Surgery Site
You may think you are helping by clearing the area you think will be opened up, but you are not. Shaving the site area is a prerogative of the surgeon and should remain so.
What to Do After Surgery
Follow the Written Prescriptions
Recovery is the second most important thing after surgery. To recover fully and quickly, you must follow whatever the doctor prescribes religiously. The body is usually weak after a surgical operation, and it will require medication to ward off opportunistic infections.
Minimize Your Movements
The stitches holding your wounds can come undone if you make sudden rough movements. Use pain to know your limits and stay put until you recover fully. It will take a clean bill of health from your doctor to resume normal activities.
Increase your intake of proteins, vitamins C and D, and calcium to speed up your recovery as well as boost your body’s immunity. You will also need enough energy for your body to deal with the side effects of medication properly.
Maintain High Levels of Hygiene
As long as incisions made during surgery have stitches, they are potential entry points for germs and bacteria. You will have to maintain a high level of cleanliness around you to reduce that risk. Change your bandages as regularly as you can.
What to Avoid After Surgery
Staying in Bed Too Long
Bed rest is vital for recovery, but overstaying in bed can be counterproductive in the long run. As soon as you get cleared by your doctor to move, then move. Staying immobilized for too long can lead to blood clots forming up, weak muscles, and pulmonary embolisms.
Physical therapy is a critical part of the post-surgery routine. Many patients dismiss it as it takes their time, but it is known to speed up recovery. Surgery can be hard physically and mentally, and getting into post-surgery programs helps address these issues.
Reverting to Unhealthy Habits Immediately
Cigarette smoking and drinking of alcohol shortly after coming off surgery are dangerous. Give your body some time to heal first because alcohol is known to interfere with medication.
Do Not Drive
Until you get cleared by your doctor, do not operate a car or any other heavy machinery. That means taking time off work to recover. Even if it means depending on other people around the house, your health should be your priority.
In conclusion, surgery, like any other form of treatment, is half the journey. Full recovery will depend on what you do after you leave the hospital. One mistake, and you may find yourself back on the table worse off than before.