09:30 AM

5 Things to Know Before Having Surgery

No one wants to have surgery. But when it’s a necessary step toward feeling better, you want to do everything you can to have a positive experience.

“Surgery is a team effort,” says trauma and general surgeon David Scaff, DO, with LVPG General and Trauma Surgery–Plaza Court in East Stroudsburg, part of Lehigh Valley Institute for Surgical Excellence. Your surgeon has the training and experience. Your job is to come prepared.

“Being physically and mentally ready for surgery can help ensure the best possible outcome,” Scaff says. These pre-surgery pointers can help you set yourself up for surgery success.

Take Notes

Before surgery, you’ll meet with your surgeon. Ask questions and jot down notes at this meeting. Also, bring a support person who will be with you during your recovery and healing. A second set of eyes and ears can help ensure you don’t miss important information, like signs of complications. Your appointment buddy also can ask questions on your behalf.

Power up Your Diet

Five to six days before your operation, eat plenty of lean protein (such as fish or chicken) – 1.2 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. For a 150-pound person, that translates to about 4 ounces of protein per day. “Protein will provide your body with the building blocks to heal and recover after the procedure,” Scaff says.

Quit Smoking

If you smoke, stop smoking at least five days before surgery. “Smoking has harmful effects on blood vessels and slows healing by decreasing blood flow to wounds,” Scaff says.

Follow Discharge Instructions

If instructions say to shower daily, then shower daily. “If someone else tells you something different than what’s written, call your surgeon to clarify,” Scaff says.

Be Prepared for Constipation

It’s a common side effect from anesthesia, pain medication and decreased physical activity. An over-the-counter stool softener can help prevent it. “Abdominal pain from constipation is a primary reason patients come to the emergency department after an operation,” Scaff says.