Preparing for surgery can be stressful. It’s important to keep calm and be positive as the day to your appointment approaches. Your body will be undergoing a great deal of physical stress during the surgery. Doctors are going to want to make sure your body is well-prepared and as healthy as it can be before you check-in. To prepare, you will be asked a series of questions that will help assess your health condition and uncover any potential risks the medical team may need to be ready for and prepare accordingly. Here are just a few of the main topics you’ll be asked about before the day of your surgery.
Health History: If anything concerning comes up in your health history your doctor may ask you to meet with a specialist for a specific screening, such as a cardiologist, or have additional tests done, such as a blood test.
Drug Allergies: It is critical for your medical team to know what you are allergic to. If you are allergic to any medications you may be asked to wear a color-coded wristband to alert everyone on staff that you have an allergy. If you are allergic to anesthetic agents your anesthesiologist will need to find another way to provide anesthesia without using medications that may be harmful to you.
Medications: You will need to let your doctor know about all the medications you are taking, including vitamins and herbal supplements. Your medications may need to be adjusted before surgery. Most of the time patients are able to take their usual medications with a small sip of water before surgery, but there be some that you will need to stop taking. Medications with the highest concern include blood-thinning medications, anxiety and depression prescriptions.
Pregnancy: Surgery on a pregnant patient may have significant implications for the fetus and patient. The surgery may not need to be canceled but anesthesia execution may need to be altered.
Smoking: Smoking can hinder your body’s tolerance during surgery. Smokers have a more difficult time breathing under anesthesia, so precautions may need to be taken. Smokers also take longer to recover. Smoking lowers blood-oxygen levels which are needed to heal wounds, making it necessary to put smokers on ventilators after surgery to help them breathe better and retain oxygen.
Alcohol: There is a great amount of bleeding that happens during surgery. Your body combats blood loss with clotting. Alcohol can interfere with this process by actually thinning the blood and creating a higher risk of uncontrolled bleeding. It is best to avoid alcohol at least 48 hours before surgery.
Overall, it is important for you to divulge as much as you can to your medical team. All information is kept strictly confidential and is needed to ensure a safe procedure. It is even a
good idea to complete pre-operative questionnaires and documentation well in advance of your surgery in case you need to have any tests done or stop any medications.