6 Tips for Speedy Recovery After Surgery

by Dr. Maurice Leibman on March 1, 2015

Hospital RoomWe’ve all been there.  Your doctor is recommending you for some sort of surgery, and the idea of how you will recover scares you. The good news is that prepping for the surgery in advance can help speed up recovery.

Here are 6 things you can do:

1)   Build Strength – By increasing your fitness before surgery, you may be able to decrease the length of your hospital say and reduce your risk of postoperative complications.  Exercises may include regular walking or cycling and strength training with resistance bands or free weights.

2)   Stop Smoking – Smoking can cause many complications post surgery including problems with the incision, infections, pneumonia and cardiovascular problems. This is because compounds in cigarettes can constrict small blood vessels – and you really need your blood flowing freely through your vessels when healing a wound.  If you can’t completely quit smoking, research shows that just stopping three or four weeks before surgery can make a difference.

3)   Control Blood Sugar – If you have diabetes getting your blood sugar under control before surgery can help reduce complications. 4)   Manage Sleep Apnea – Sleep apnea can increase your risk of post-surgery breathing and blood oxygen problems.  If you have sleep apnea, make sure your surgeon knows about it as it may change the type of anesthesia your receive during the procedure.

5)   Improve Your Diet –  If you’re about to have surgery, having a healthy weight is better than being underweight or overweight.  Try to increase your protein intake,  but reduce the amount of fat, sugar and salt you consume.

6)   Manage Stress – Learning stress management skills can help you cope with anxiety about your upcoming surgery and the recovery period.  Deep breathing, guided imagery and other techniques might help reduce the need for pain medication and enhance your immune system.

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