Know what to expect.
Even when it’s something that will likely be beneficial, surgery isn’t something most people look forward to having. But knowing what to expect and having some sense of control over the situation can be helpful.
Being prepared both physically and emotionally can also make the process less stressful. You may even have a more productive recovery if you’re as prepared as possible before your operation.
Be as Informed as Possible
Get as much information as you can about your surgery. Your surgeon will answer all of your questions at your appointment. Keep contact info for your surgeon or their office handy in case you have additional questions. Also take time to clarify:
- Your post-operative pain management and wound care instructions
- What type of anesthesia you’ll be given and if there are any risks
Report Any Supplements or Over-The-Counter Meds You Take
While it may not seem important, certain ingredients in supplements and over-the-counter drugs may interact with anesthesia. Also report any medications you take for other conditions to avoid interactions with meds you may need to take after surgery. You may be asked to stop taking medications such as blood thinners to minimize bleeding risks.
Be Mindful of Your Diet Prior to Surgery
Eating a balanced diet of foods like green, leafy veggies and lean proteins can help tissues heal faster. Vitamin C, in particular, promotes healthy tissue repair and healing. Foods such as nuts, tomatoes, and fatty fish like salmon and tuna naturally reduce inflammation.
Prepare Yourself Psychologically
Get yourself in the right mindset before you have surgery. If you’re naturally nervous, consider learning deep breathing and other relaxation techniques. According to one study involving more than 3,000 patients, those who were prepared psychologically for surgery went home from the hospital sooner. Further prepare yourself psychologically by:
- Bringing a friend with you to pre-surgery appointments
- Having a reliable personal support team of friends and family members
- Considering working with a therapist or counselor if you’re excessively anxious
Ditch Bad Habits
Minimize alcohol consumption and stop smoking prior to your procedures. Smoking, in particular, can cause problems with how nutrients travel to tissues within your body, which may make it difficult to heal after surgery. There are studies that suggest excess alcohol may also have an impact on tissues and circulation.
Discuss Any Concerns or Fears
It’s perfectly normal to have concerns or fears prior to surgery, even if you’re having an outpatient procedure. Don’t be afraid to speak up or initiate a dialog with your surgeon or someone from your surgical team. In many cases, medical support staff can provide much-appreciated reassurances.
If you know you’ll have to take it easy after surgery, ask friends and family members if they’d be able to help you out with tasks that involve frequent bending or lifting. It’s also wise to order any medications you may need post-surgery ahead of time so you won’t have to worry about a trip to the pharmacy. Additionally, don’t forget to make arrangements for a ride home.