Surgery Preparation

Steps to help ease the way

When you're going to have surgery, it's understandable to be nervous. But there are some steps you can take to ease your worries. Understanding the process and planning ahead a bit can help pave the way for a smoother time and a faster recovery.

For starters, be sure to ask your doctor about anything you don't understand. Your doctor will want you to have your questions answered before your surgery.

Taking care of yourself

Giving yourself a little extra care now can help prepare your body to handle surgery. Get plenty of rest and eat a well-balanced diet. Your doctor may suggest a daily multivitamin as well.

Some additional steps from leading health authorities:

If you are a smoker, you can do yourself a favor by quitting - or at least cutting back - before surgery. Smoking delays healing.

Ask your doctor if you should stop taking aspirin or other medications before surgery. Tell your doctor about any prescription and over-the-counter medicines or dietary supplements you use.

Before dealing with details

Before your surgery, you'll be given any special instructions - they will likely include not eating or drinking anything after the previous midnight.

Other general advice:

  • Ask your doctor about home health care if your recovery may be extensive.
  • Consider having someone help with household tasks while your recover.
  • Arrange for transportation to and from the hospital.
  • Leave any valuables at home.

Getting better

To help your recovery, a nurse or other medical professional will help you start walking as soon as possible after surgery - walking aids healing. Pain medication may help you feel more comfortable.

Once you are home, you can help speed your recovery by following your discharge instructions, which give advice about your diet, activities and symptoms to watch for. And as always, don't hesitate to call your doctor if you have questions.