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Surgery preparation

Steps to help ease the way

When you're going to have surgery, it's understandable to be nervous. But there are some steps you can take to ease your worries. Understanding the process and planning ahead a bit can help pave the way for a smoother time and a faster recovery.

For starters, be sure to ask your doctor about anything you don't understand. Your doctor will want you to have your questions answered before your surgery.

Taking care of yourself

Giving yourself a little extra care now can help prepare your body to handle surgery. Get plenty of rest and eat a well-balanced diet. Your doctor may suggest a daily multivitamin as well.

Some additional steps from leading health authorities:

If you are a smoker, you can do yourself a favor by quitting - or at least cutting back - before surgery. Smoking delays healing.

Ask your doctor if you should stop taking aspirin or other medications before surgery. Tell your doctor about any prescription and over-the-counter medicines or dietary supplements you use.

Before dealing with details

Before your surgery, you'll be given any special instructions - they will likely include not eating or drinking anything after the previous midnight.

Other general advice:

  • Ask your doctor about home health care if your recovery may be extensive.
  • Consider having someone help with household tasks while your recover.
  • Arrange for transportation to and from the hospital.
  • Leave any valuables at home.

Getting better

To help your recovery, a nurse or other medical professional will help you start walking as soon as possible after surgery - walking aids healing. Pain medication may help you feel more comfortable.

Once you are home, you can help speed your recovery by following your discharge instructions, which give advice about your diet, activities and symptoms to watch for. And as always, don't hesitate to call your doctor if you have questions.

A few questions worth asking

Preparing for Surgery - Our surgical team is here and ready to answer any of your questions

If you are scheduled for surgery weeks or days in advance, take advantage of the time by asking your doctor any questions you have. Here are some good questions you may ask

  • Why do I need this surgery?
  • What are the risks and benefits?
  • Are there any alternatives - medicines or other treatments that can help?
  • Should I get a second opinion?
  • What will happen during surgery?
  • What will happen if I don't have the operation?
  • What kind of anesthesia will I be given?