How to Prepare for Surgery
Surgery is often easier than the recovery. Whether you are having joint replacement surgery or another type of surgery that will correct a skeletal issue, you will need to prepare for the tough road of recovery. Your chances of success depend on it.
Two primary areas in your life need attention prior to your surgery date: your health and your home. Health influences healing. And your home is where you will need to recuperate safely. Without these two important aspects of your life optimized, your road to recovery will be rough.
As soon as you know that surgery is in your future, start improving your health. Stop unhealthy habits like smoking and drinking soda. Start eating lots of fruits and vegetables; also take a multivitamin including extra vitamin C. Good nutrition can dramatically improve your body’s ability to heal, control pain and limit inflammation after surgery.
After surgery, you will likely be lying down a lot and/or putting extra stress on other parts of your body as the injured part heals. Therefore, you need to improve your strength and stamina now, before the surgeon cuts you open and limits your ability to move for a while. For example, if one leg will be compensating for the other leg’s inability to bear your full weight, start practicing standing on one leg, start strengthening your quadracep muscle, and start improving your balance. Going into surgery with better health and fitness will greatly improve your chances for a speedy recovery without complications.
Prior to surgery, you also need to pay attention to your home environment. In the past, people covalesced in the hospital for weeks. Now, you are sent home immediately after surgery, and often the day of surgery. So, your home needs to be ready for your return from the operating room. Because your safety is of upmost importance after surgery, places like the bathroom, where the most accidents occur, need to be evaluated. Getting a shower chair, installing a grab bar or two, and/or purchasing some non-skid mats will reduce your likeliness of a slip and fall.
Falling is probably one the worst things that can happen after surgery. In order to help prevent falls, a variety assistive devices are available depending on the anticipated need. Those that are having back or shoulder surgery might want to consider getting a reaching tool that can assist you in grabbing things off the floor. Those that will have limited use of a leg will want crutches, a cane, a walker or even a wheelchair. All types of assistive devices are available to help you and the ones that will be caring for you too. Purchasing what you need before your surgery is a great way to prepare.
With the proper preparation, your recovery will be easier and smoother. Your health and your home matter most for healing quickly and safely. As soon as the surgery date is set, let the surgery preparation begin.
Christina Lasich, M.D., wrote about chronic pain and osteoarthritis for HealthCentral. She is physiatrist in Grass Valley, California. She specializes in pain management and spine rehabilitation.