There are times when surgical procedures are necessary and beneficial to a patient’s condition. Most doctors try to prevent the need for surgery by recommending dietary changes and exercise, and by prescribing medications if appropriate. However, when the need for surgery arises, you will usually be referred to a general surgery doctor unless you have a more specific problem requiring a specialist’s care.
What Is General Surgery?
A general surgeon is a doctor who can perform surgery on almost any part of your body. If you need your appendix removed or a colectomy, then a general surgeon will perform the procedure. They can also help you with post-surgical care by recommending any further treatments or prescribe medications that can help you.
If you need to have surgery and have time to prepare for it, there are things you can do to help reduce surgical complications and promote healing.
Exercise in Preparation
Getting aerobic exercise like bicycling, walking or swimming can help make your lungs stronger, which can prevent infections that can lead to pneumonia. At least do some deep breathing exercises, such as blowing up a balloon, to help inflate your lungs, particularly the small sacs called alveoli. After being under anesthesia, the alveoli can collapse, increasing the chances of infection.
Control Blood Sugar
If you are a diabetic, it is important to get your blood sugar levels under control. High blood sugar can be toxic to cells and make it more difficult for any wounds you have to heal. To help your body feel better and heal faster, try to get your blood sugar levels between 90 and 110.
If you are a smoker, you need to try your best to drop the habit. Smoking can make it more difficult for your incision area to heal in a couple of different ways. Smoking causes blood vessels to constrict, which reduces the flow of oxygen to your wounds, and consequently slows the healing process. Cigarettes contain toxic chemicals that can interfere with healing as well.
Follow Doctor’s Instructions
It is important to follow the surgeon’s instructions before you undergo surgery. Stop taking blood thinners at least five to seven days prior to any general surgery for which you’re scheduled, and disclose any other medications or supplements that you’re taking. Get plenty of rest prior to surgery, because it is a big stressor to the body. Getting at least seven to eight hours of quality sleep a day can help prepare you.
There is no such thing as a routine surgery, so it is important to be prepared when you go to the hospital. By exercising, eating a well-balanced diet and resting, you can ensure a quicker post-surgical recovery.
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