It is common for a person to worry about a variety of things when told by the doctor that a surgical procedure is required to treat the underlying medical condition. Whether the required surgery is major or minor, people usually get stressed-out and become fearful both about the surgical procedure and its consequences. Many people get scared even on thinking about the anesthesia given before the surgery. If it is the first time that you are about to be operated, then it is normal that you are much tensed up and are unable to carry out your normal routine in a relaxed manner. To face the surgery successfully, you have to acquaint yourself with the surgical procedure that you are going to have and prepare yourself both mentally and physically. Following are some helpful tips to prepare for a surgery that you can adopt before going under the knife –
Seek a Second Opinion – Is Surgery the Only Option?
If your physician or surgeon has advised a surgical procedure, then don’t hesitate to consult other physicians or surgeons before going under the knife. It might be that surgery is not required at all and your medical condition is treatable through medicines only. Also, there might be a simple surgical procedure available instead of the major surgery recommended by your surgeon. Moreover, you can also try various systems of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) like Homeopathy, Ayurveda, herbal medicine, etc. before finally deciding in favor of surgery.
Gain Confidence by Knowing About the Surgical Procedure
Before going for a surgery, you should obtain all the required knowledge about the surgical procedure by asking your physician, anesthesiologist and surgeon. You should ask your surgeon how the procedure is performed, how much time it takes, what are the side effects of the procedure (adverse effects or side effects of surgery), what are the risks involved (risks of surgery), what are the complications of surgery, how will you manage the pain after the surgery (pain management), what changes in your daily life will be required after the surgery, etc. You can also get adequate amount of information from the internet. This knowledge will usher confidence in you to face the surgery.
Disclose Pre-existing Medical Conditions
If you are suffering from any medical condition including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure (hypertension), arthritis, drug allergies, etc., or have dental fittings, then you should tell your anesthesiologist and surgeon beforehand.
Tell About Your Current Medications
Don’t forget to inform your anesthesiologist and surgeon about the prescription medicines, over the counter medicines, illicit drugs / recreational drugs / substances of abuse, vitamins, minerals, nutritional supplements, and herbal formulations that you are taking. Some of these can lead to serious adverse effects during surgery. You may be asked to stop certain medications days or weeks before the scheduled surgery.
Prepare Yourself Emotionally
You can make yourself emotionally stronger during the days or weeks before the surgery by practicing deep breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, and meditation. You should think positively and visualize a positive outcome from the surgery.
Prepare Yourself Physically
Preparing yourself physically not only increases your chance of having a successful surgery, but also a speedy recovery. During the days or weeks before your scheduled surgery –
- Quit smoking
- Stop consuming alcohol and recreational or illegal drugs
- Take healthy diet as it will help in timely healing after the surgery
- Prevent dehydration and drink recommended amount of water
- Avoid shaving or waxing as this can increase the chance of infection
- Ask your doctor about the exercises that you can perform before and after the surgery
Arrange for Aftercare from Family or Friends
When you will be discharged from the hospital after the surgical procedure, you may require aftercare from your family or a friend. You should arrange for such support from family or friends beforehand.
Follow the Last Minute Instructions
You should follow exactly the specific instructions, given by your anesthesiologist and surgeon, about how to prepare yourself the day and night before the surgery. This will include the things you can and can’t do the day and night before your scheduled surgical procedure. If these instructions don’t include what you can eat or drink the night before surgery, don’t forget to ask your doctor.