From the monthly archives:

July 2011

How should you prepare if you need surgery? Your surgeon will give you specific instructions. But here are some general guidelines.

A healthy body heals faster. So if possible, get your body into shape. Exercise and stretching programs are key. Eat less junk food, and more protein and fiber.

Several weeks before surgery, stop taking anti inflammatory drugs that could cause unnecessary bleeding, unless your surgeon wants you to. If you take herbs, check with your doctor. Some can complicate anesthesia and should be stopped. Stop or reduce smoking and alcohol consumption.

It’s important that you go into surgery in a positive frame of mind. If you are so inclined, several books are available dealing with mind-body preparation for surgery. There are relaxation techniques that can help reduce anxiety and improve the recovery process.

Talk with your family and your doctor. Stay positive.

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Are you embarrassed to ask your doctor questions? Please don’t be. It’s your body. You have a right to know what’s going on – especially if you’re having surgery.

There are some basic questions you should ask.

First, get a simplified explanation of the surgery, and why it’s needed. What outcome can you expect? Does it need to be done right away? What happens if it’s not done? Are there non-surgical options to consider?

Ask your doctor what the risks are. What kind of anesthesia will be used. What’s the recovery process? Are there preparations to be made?

Don’t hesitate to ask your surgeon how many times he or she has done this procedure. What’s the success rate? Can you get a second opinion?

And of course the big question – is it covered by your insurance?

Remember, it’s good medicine to be involved in your own care.