The following points may help you in knowing how to prepare for surgery and what all to keep in mind before going in for a surgery
- Talk in detail to your physician about your health problem. Ask about the type of procedure involved along with the expected outcomes and the risks involved.
- Ask your physician about the numbers of days that you will need to be hospitalized and understand the duration recovery will take. Ask what activities you will be allowed to do or avoid during your recovery phase once you are back home from surgery.
- Tell your physician about your health record, any past history of diseases, strong family history of any medical condition, if you are pregnant, allergies, habit of smoking/alcohol/substance abuse and any medications you are on.
- Talk about the possible need for blood transfusion. If required, the physician will ask you to donate blood a couple of days or shortly before the surgery. This will then be used for transfusion, if necessary during the surgery.
- In case you are uncertain, feel free to get a second opinion.
- Ask your doctor about other alternatives to surgery.
- You will have to arrange for funds that will be necessary for the surgery. Also, make contingency arrangement for emergency financial aid that might unexpectedly come up after surgery. Talk to your care givers and insurance company regarding the same.
- Inform your relatives, close friends so that you feel less emotionally overwhelmed. Talking to someone who understands your fears of going under the knife can help give a significant morale boost.
- Make necessary amendments in your house by keeping things at your disposal, arranging the furniture by keeping everything handy, especially if you are undergoing an orthopedic surgery so that once you return home after surgery, working your way in the house remains convenient.
- Arrange for extra domestic help or a professional care taker if possible to make going about the daily household chores easier after discharge.
- Talk to your physician regarding the diet you need to follow before and after the surgery so that you can keep your kitchen and refrigerator stocked in advance and don’t have to rush to the supermarket on getting home post- surgery.
- You will have to arrange for transportation to go back home because you will be unfit to drive immediately after the surgery.
Pre – Operative Preparation
- Few days before the surgery you will have to undergo physical examination, laboratory tests, X Ray, Electrocardiogram, stool and urine examination etc to ensure that your heart, lungs, kidneys are functioning optimally.
- Anesthesia: your physician will discuss the types of anesthesia and depending on the need; you will be given one of the three. General anesthesia is administered when the physician needs you to be unconscious. Local anesthesia is given when a small part needs to be numbed. Regional anesthesia is given when a larger area is covered.
- You will have to fast overnight prior to the procedure. Do not consume alcohol 24 hours before the surgery.
- Your doctor will advise you what medicines can be taken and what need to be withheld before the surgery.
- Avoid shaving the area to be operated two week before the surgery to avoid any local infection.
- Things to pack for the hospital: keep your belongings basic and light, like your spectacles, extra pair of clothes, toiletries, shaving kit, dentures, contact lenses, comb, some money, contact numbers of family, friends and general physician. Do not wear jewelry, nail polish or make up.
- Prior to the surgery you will be made to sign an informed consent form that talks about you are aware of the procedure, the nature and purpose, the risks and benefit involved and agree to go ahead.
Post – Operative Care
- After the surgery, you will be shifted to the recovery room and observed for several hours.
- You might feel drowsy, confused, cold once you start waking out of anesthesia. You might experience pain and throat soreness too. This will settle soon, spontaneously.
- You will be given appropriate medication either through IV or orally as per need and time.
- Once you are stable the nurse will help you to move about and resume basic activities.
At the time of discharge
- The doctor will instruct you regarding the medications, diet, regimen to be followed at home. Understand these well and arrange a nurse to care 24×7.
- The next follow up visit will be scheduled.
Before any surgery whether minor or major, every patient is usually filled with anticipation, concern, fear of the procedure and its outcome. In order to alley this anxiety it is essential to understand all possible aspects of preparing for surgery and recovery.