10 Pre-Surgery Tips to Boost Recovery
Getting the right nutrition leading up to your surgery can have a major impact on your recovery and getting back on your feet. Your medical team will provide detailed instructions on what you can eat before surgery and how many hours before the procedure you can consume food. More broadly, you should have a strategy to consume the right nutrition,
drop or pause unhealthy habits,
and boost your exercise in the weeks leading up to surgery to promote
post-op healing and recovery
. Experts recommend these 10 tips:
Drink clear, carbo-loaded liquids before your surgery
Examples of clear liquids that are acceptable to drink before surgery include
, fruit juices without pulp, some beverages with carbonation,
and black coffee. Consuming clear liquids that contain complex carbohydrates can help reduce nausea, vomiting, and pain after surgery. Such drinks can also help reduce the short-term insulin resistance experienced by many patients who fast before surgery, which can increase complications and pain.
Consume plenty of protein
Include fiber in your pre-op eating regimen
Many doctors require a patient who's undergone surgery to have a bowel movement before being discharged. Eating
plenty of fiber
before the operation should keep the gastrointestinal tract moving, which will help the patient have the required bowel movement.
Eat plenty of plant-based foods
Avoid sugary and highly processed foods
In addition to causing constipation,
sugary and highly processed foods
can worsen blood sugar control. Research suggests that higher preoperative blood sugar levels are associated with increased post-op complications like infections.
People who smoke
right before their surgery have a much greater chance of developing a surgical site infection (at the point of incision) than nonsmokers, according to a study published in 2017 in JAMA Surgery, a monthly professional medical journal.
Consider taking nutritional supplements
Undergoing surgery disposes patients to immune dysfunction and places them at higher risk for infection.
Increase your physical activity
Patients who are active should continue to be active, and those who have a low level of activity of should increase it. Keeping your body in shape and accustomed to physical activity can help you bounce back after the operation.
Unless you're at your optimal weight or underweight, losing about about 10 pounds before surgery will improve your surgeon's visibility during the operation and allow him or her to operate more quickly and efficiently. You'll spend less time under anesthesia, which cuts down the odds of post-op complications.
Follow your doctor's orders
Before (and after) your surgery, follow your doctor's orders regarding nutrition and what you should be eating and doing. Any general health tips (including these!) should not supersede recommendations from your physician.
Read the full text of
from U.S. News & World Report.