Preparation for surgery is a complicated process that consists of several phases.
Phase 1: Making the Decision
In many cases, surgery isn't the only option available to a patient. Thus, you should start with determining whether choosing this invasive form of treatment is indeed best. To do this, you will have to ask your doctor the following questions:
- What are my other options?
- What are the chances of full and successful recovery after surgery? How are they different from other available treatments?
- What are the possible complications?
- What are the chances of these complications arising considering my age and current state of health?
- When does the surgery have to take place?
- How much time will I spend in the hospital, and how much time will it take for me to recover fully?
- What other procedures will be necessary to facilitate my post-surgery recovery?
- May I require another surgery in the future?
- What kind of anesthesia will be used during the surgery? What are its side effects and risks?
- How much will the state of my health improve after the surgery? Will these changes be permanent?
It will be best to look for a second opinion on the matter. Your insurance company may also demand for you to confirm the necessity of the surgery with another doctor.
Phase 2: Emotional Preparation
Surgery, no matter how minor, is a stress. Thus, it triggers the release of stress hormones into your brain. This may result in:
- Increased blood pressure
- Weakening of the immune system
Simple stress management techniques, like visualization of positive outcome and meditation should help in regaining your emotional balance. If the surgery is serious and high-risk, you may require several sessions with a professional counselor.
Your inability to cope with the stress of the surgery emotionally will have negative effect on your overall health and complicate your recovery.
Phase 3: Physical Preparation
Preparing your body in advance will make the surgery easier on you and facilitate the process pf recovery.
- Reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke daily or quit altogether. Avoid drugs and alcohol.
- Discuss all the medications, herbal remedies and supplements that you are currently taking with your doctor. You may need to drop some of them or, on the contrary, add several ones For example, vitamin C can enhance the process of tissue regeneration reducing the recovery time.
- Don't take aspirin or any other blood thinning medication for a week before the surgery, unless ordered otherwise by your doctor.
- Discuss your workout routine with the health care specialist. If you haven't been physically active recently, you may need to start exercising to strengthen your body.
- Start following a healthy well-balanced diet. Bear in mind that you should discuss your eating habits with the doctor and ask what kinds of products you can eat during the days before the surgery.
In some cases, you may be required to fast before the operation.
Phase 6: Prepare Your Life
As you will be away from home for several days, you must make all the necessary arrangements to have your property looked after.
Depending on the type of surgery, you may need to call a friend or a relative to assist you with daily activities until you are fully recovered. Some furniture in your house might need to be rearranged to cater to your needs better.
Don't forget about legal considerations. Prepare all the necessary documents, such as a living will and directions as to who will be your health care proxy. Consult both your doctor and lawyer before signing any forms.
No one wants to think about bad things before the surgery, but you should be prepared for any emergency.