Going into surgery can be very stressful. Make sure you are prepared with these simple pre and post care tips.
Nicotine Before Surgery
Nicotine before surgery is absolutely not allowed. Six weeks before and after any procedure, patients will likely be required to stop smoking or using any other forms of nicotine. Over forty million American adults are smokers, according to the CDC. Nicotine constricts the blood vessels and raises a person’s blood pressure and heart rate.
This can be problematic before surgery, because a crucial part is a good and healthy blood flow. If something is wrong with the blood flow, things can go severely wrong and even the most simple procedure could have disastrous consequences. It is best to listen to the advice of surgeons everywhere and cut nicotine out of your life before and after surgery.
Quitting nicotine before surgery cold turkey can be hard, but there are resources that can help with that. It is worth it to quit for the suggested period so as not to put your life in danger. Surgeons would not recommend something if it did not have proper backing and they had not seen or studied what can go wrong.
Alcohol Before Surgery
Though the cutback on alcohol before surgery is not as long as nicotine, you should still avoid it. At least forty eight hours before surgery, you should be avoiding alcohol. During surgery, it could lead to increased bleeding and complications with anesthesia. Alcohol can act as a blood thinner, which becomes a problem because the body clots blood to stop blood loss. This can be a savior during surgery. Drinking alcohol lessens the chance that your blood will successfully clot, and you can lose a lot of it.
Additionally, introducing your system to anesthesia while alcohol is still in it could increase your chance of vomiting. It increases the amount of substances your liver has to metabolize successfully, and both anesthesia and alcohol suppress certain functions of the body. Both at once could be overwhelming and unpleasant.
Transportation after Surgery
Be sure to arrange for transportation to and from wherever you are getting your surgery. This may seem obvious, but it is easy to forget the “obvious” details when things get hectic. Make sure you have a plan with backup contacts as well. Confirm the plan with whoever you are relying on to take you to and from the surgery center.
If it is hard to arrange for transportation from a friend or family member, you can try using a cab company, or a ride share service like Lyft or Uber. While it would be preferable to be driven by someone you know personally, the main goal is just to get you there safely. You could even reach out to the location where you are getting the procedure done and ask them if they have any transportation options or recommendations for patients.
Even if the surgery is minimal, and you feel alright driving yourself, it is best not to for a variety of reasons. First, you may feel new sensations that distract you while you’re driving (namely pain). Second, no matter how long or short the recovery time is, exerting yourself by driving right after surgery will prolong it. Finally, you may be coming down from anesthesia or other altering chemicals, which would mean you are in no state to drive. For the safety of yourself and others, you should be transported to and from the surgery location.
Medications Before & After Surgery
This is a case-by-case scenario. As preparation, certain surgeries will require you to start a new medication, stop a current medication, or both. Similarly, you may be asked to start or stop medication after surgery.
A doctor or other professional working at your surgery center should go over these precautions with you at your consultation. Therefore, you should have this information before you even decide to commit to the surgery. If it is not provided in writing, either write it down or ask the professional to provide it to you in writing so you can go home and properly evaluate the information you have been given. Since this happens at the consultation stage, you could visit different professionals and compare their requirements. This will allow you to go with what you feel is safest and most beneficial.
Another thing to consider will be the cost of any new medications. Feel free to call your insurance company or visit your local pharmacy to ask about the cost before you have a doctor call in the prescription. You should always take prescribed medicine, but at least this tip will help you financially prepare if needed. Your recommended medication regimen can help surgery and recovery go smoothly if you follow it correctly and check in with your doctor if there are any irregularities.
Food Before & After Surgery
Many surgeries will ask you to stop eating food for a certain period before the procedure — usually hours. Additionally, you will be asked to drink only clear liquids in that period. Many times, there will be a period within the period where you cannot drink anything at all right before the surgery. This is generally recommended because of the use of anesthesia in many surgeries.
As mentioned before, anesthesia can make you throw up — but why is that so? General anesthetic temporarily stops the body’s reflexes. If there is any food or drink in your system, there is a chance you can throw it up. To minimize this risk, you have to minimize your food and drink intake before the surgery.
For some, there are no restrictions on food after the surgery. However, there are restrictions on others (for example, wisdom tooth surgery). Just like the conversation about medication, you should have a conversation with your designated professional about dietary restrictions you may have to abide by after surgery. Again, this is not meant to make your life harder. In fact, following all of these tips and having important conversations will make your surgery and recovery easier.
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