Preparations for surgery depend on your diagnosis. Your physician will discuss with you how to prepare for your surgery. However, if you want the most optimal outcomes there are a few thing you can do.
Prepare your mind and body.
1. Eat a cleaner diet
In the days before surgery, eat foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals. Diets focused heavily on fruits and vegetables are best. Overall inflammation goes down when you eat vitamin-rich foods. Try to avoid processed foods, red meat and other foods which are more difficult to break down. Avoiding these things will decrease inflammatory markers.
2. Exercise regularly
Among other benefits, getting more exercise in the weeks before a surgery will increase your chances of walking sooner after the surgery.
“Even if you’re not an athlete, patients can train their bodies during the weeks leading up to surgery,” says Dr. El-Hayek. Even something as simple as parking farther away from the door where you work or shop can help.
“Shoot for 5,000 to 10,000 steps a day to increase your stamina. The main thing is that, undoubtedly, one of the discharge criteria you’re going to have to meet before you go home is getting close to your preoperative level of activity,” he says.
3. Kick bad habits
Use the time before surgery to quit smoking, stop drinking or using “any mood-altering substances that can affect your sleep or anxiety levels leading up to surgery,” Dr. El-Hayek says.
“Certainly in the few days leading up to surgery, alcohol and smoking can really affect the anesthesia.”
On the positive side, patients absolutely should engage in “meditation, prayer and things that are important to help people through the trauma that they’re about to undergo,” Dr. El-Hayek says.
4. See your internist
If you have two weeks or more before surgery, it’s especially important to check in and let your doctor know what’s coming up.
“Your primary doctor might want to make changes in your medications to optimize surgery,” Dr. El-Hayek says. “Your blood pressure and blood sugar need to be well-controlled. From a wound-healing standpoint, the better the sugars are controlled, especially for diabetics, the better recovery you’re going to have.”
And he mentions one other reason: “Your primary care physician is going to be the one who sees you afterward, who is going to be managing the changes that happen due to surgery.”
5. Find out about supplements, vitamins
Be sure to ask your doctor about vitamins and supplements, because some of them can interact with other medications, particularly anticoagulants.