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Health and Fitness News

Ready, Set, Surgery!

How to prepare your mind, body, and home for surgery day.

Whether minor, major, inpatient, or outpatient, surgery is a big deal. Both mentally and physically taxing, it’s helpful to prepare for the big day. This requires you to eat the right foods, strengthen your body through exercise, learn about the procedure, follow doctor’s orders, and get your home ready for post-operation recovery.

A little planning ahead can increase your chances of a successful surgery and a speedy recovery. In the weeks, days, and hours before your surgery, here are seven things you can do for the best experience and recovery.

1. Know Your Doctors

You’ve known for a while that you need knee surgery, but who is going to do it, who will assist, and where will it be done? Do your homework to find a qualified, experienced surgeon and a physician anesthesiologist who come with trustworthy recommendations.

Always plan to have your surgery at a hospital, outpatient facility, or doctor’s office that is licensed, accredited, and equipped to handle emergencies.

2. Get Insurance Pre-Approval

Many insurance companies require pre-approval before covering big medical procedures. Check with your insurance to make sure your surgery is covered and that your doctors are in-network. Recovering from surgery isn’t always easy. You don’t want to make it harder with unexpected medical bills afterward.

3. Be Honest and Up-Front

Come to your pre-surgery appointment with a list of questions and a pen to write down answers. Be honest and clear about your medical history, current medications, your lifestyle, any past surgeries, and your prior experience with anesthesia. Doing so may be uncomfortable, but it ensures success.

4. Follow Doctor’s Orders

For your own safety, be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions regarding the day of surgery. If undergoing general anesthesia, you’ll likely be told not to drink or eat anything after midnight before your surgery. Guidelines regarding if and when you’re able to drink in the hours before surgery are changing. Some clear liquids may be acceptable and even recommended, but check and follow your doctor’s advice.

Know when to check in at the hospital and plan accordingly. Arrange for a friend or family member to pick you up from the hospital post surgery and take you home. Wear loose, comfortable clothing that’s easy to put on, and leave all valuables at home.

5. Strengthen Your Body

A strong, healthy body is able to heal faster and is better able to ward off infection after surgery. In the days and weeks leading up to your operation, you’ll want to eat plenty of protein and fiber-rich foods including fruits, vegetables, fish, poultry, whole grains, and dairy. For exercise, get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days a week. This could be walking, swimming, cycling, playing tennis, or dancing.

6. Ready Your Home

Depending on what type of surgery you are going to undergo, you may need to prepare your home for your return. Will you be able to cook meals? If not, make some casseroles and freeze them for later. Will you be able to get around easily? If not, move the furniture or purchase the necessary equipment you’ll need to get around. Most likely you won’t feel up for cleaning house following your surgery, so leave your home clean and in order before heading to the operating room.

7. Quit Smoking

If you can’t bear to give up smoking for good, at the least don’t smoke the day of your surgery. Patients who smoke the day of their surgery are more likely to develop infection at the site of their incision. Smoking also reduces blood flow, which increases your risk of heart attack and stroke after surgery.