5 Steps To Help You Prepare For Surgery January 15 2015

Preparing for a scheduled or a necessary surgery can be stressful and being prepared can help limit the stress that surgery can cause. Here are 5 steps that can help you prepare for surgery they include deciding on surgery, emotionally preparing, physically preparing, preparing for life, and preparing for the day before. 

1. Deciding on surgery

Learning and understanding the surgery procedure is important to make sure that it is the right form of treatment compared to other forms of treatment. Understanding the surgery either by talking to your health care provider or getting a second opinion from another doctor, can help make sure that this surgery is the right option over other forms of treatment.  

Questions that you could ask your health care provider: 

  • Why do you think surgery is the best treatment?

  • What risks are involved?

  • What will my care instructions be and my limitations after the surgery and for how long?
  • Could more surgery be necessary?

  • How will the surgery improve my health or quality of life?

  • What is the time frame in which I should have the surgery?

  • What risks are involved?

  • Does my health or age create a higher risk for complications?

  • What's the risk for death with this surgery, in general? For me, considering my age and health?

  • What sort of complications might arise? What are the chances of these complications happening to me?


2. Preparing emotionally 

Going into surgery can cause fear and anxiety, which is very common. However, understanding the procedure and all other options can help reduce stress and can also help with the overall recovery. 

It has been found that people who practiced relaxation techniques such as meditation or breathing exercises have shown that they recovery more quickly. 

For example, here is a breathing exercise from Vanderbilt University Medical Center 

This exercise helps your diaphragm (a muscle between your abdomen and your chest which contracts to let you breathe).

  • You should sit in a chair to do this exercise.
  • Sniff twice, hold your breath for 2-3 seconds.
  • Tighten your stomach muscles, and then blow out slowly.
  • Repeat this exercise 10 times.
  • Do this exercise 10 times a day.

3. Preparing physically

Preparing physically such as eating healthy and exercising can help you with recovery time and for a successful surgery.

Eat a well-balanced diet, including plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and water. Many surgeons recommend nutritional supplementation before the surgery. Ask your health care provider before using any supplements. 

Make sure that you check with your health care provider for what exercise routines are recommended.

4. Preparing your life

Make sure that all "life" concerns are in order such as making sure there is someone to take care of your children, family pet, work, or other commitments. Preparing all the little details before surgery will help with reducing stress and help recovery time.  

Also knowing what your health insurance covers with the procedure will help in making plans on how to cover costs of the surgery. 

5. Preparing the day before 

Your surgeon and anesthesiologist should give you specific instructions about what you can and can't do the day and night before your surgery. Follow them exactly; failure to do so could be life-threatening.

Finally, get a good night's sleep and be ready to arrive at the hospital in the morning with a family member or trusted friend who can be a source of strength and calm.

Source: http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=1&ContentID=2565