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How to prepare for your upcoming surgical procedure

Surgery! Certain conditions, or the severity of your condition, may necessitate a surgical intervention. This can be a very stressful time. But with proper preparation, you can feel more comfortable and confident, and be able to heal properly. These are a few of my tips:

  • Write down your questions. Contact the office before your appointment to get some of your answers over the phone. There are many things that are common to all procedures.

  • Talk to the PA or nurse- they often have more time to spend with you and are a great resource. Don’t underestimate their value!

  • Bring a friend to help you remember what was said in pre-op meetings, or get an audio recording!

  • Review written materials carefully. Again, write down any questions you have.

  • Consider “pre-habilitation.” The stronger you are before an orthopedic surgery, the easier it will be for you to rehabilitate afterwards.

  • Do your homework! Home exercise programs provided by your surgeon and physical therapist are a critical part of your recovery.

  • Get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, and eat a nutritious diet. Your body needs nutrients and rest to help heal.

  • Avoid smoking. Smoking limits the amount of oxygen that can be transported by your circulatory system, which increases the amount of time it takes you to heal.

  • Use your support system. Family, friends, and your community can lend a hand with everything from driving and food preparation to child and pet care.

  • Be patient with yourself. Every surgery, no matter how minor, takes time to heal. You are likely to feel more tired as a lot of your energy is going toward tissue repair and recovery.

  • Arrange for any needed physical therapy as soon as you know your surgical date. Depending on the procedure and your individual circumstances, you may need to spend additonal time at a hospital, at a rehabilitation facility, or with home physical therapy. However, in many cases, you can start outpatient physical therapy within a few days after your procedure.

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