For certain medical conditions or situations, you may have a significant amount of time to plan for an upcoming surgery. If you are planning to undergo a tubal ligation, for example, you may have to abide by a waiting period before scheduling the surgery. During the wait, you may have time to make some changes that will help reduce the risk of developing complications during and after surgery. Upon completion of your surgery, you also have the ability to facilitate continued healing without complications. Here are four smart things you can do to prevent surgical complications and facilitate a quick recovery.
Reach A Healthy Weight
Obesity is one of the leading risk factors influencing the development of complications during and after surgery. Operations on obese individuals can take up to twice as long due to the way fat impedes the surgeon's efforts. As a result, obesity often increases the risk of excessive blood loss and anesthetic-related complications during surgery. Healing times are also extended, which can increase the risk of developing an infection during recovery.
If your body mass index, or BMI, is above 30, you are considered obese. Luckily, you can work on losing weight before the scheduled surgery to drastically reduce your complication risks. Even reaching the BMI category for overweight individuals, which runs between 25 and 29.9, can have a positive effect on your recovery.
A recent study revealed that smoking cigarettes increases the risk of developing complications by as much as 30%. Only 20% of the group that quit smoking developed complications, while 50% of the current smokers suffered from ongoing complications after surgery. Smoking complicates the process of controlling oxygen saturation and breathing rates while administering anesthetics. Smokers also exhibit reduced heart and lung function, which can slow healing throughout the recovery period.
Although quitting a year in advance completely eliminates the increased complication risk, there are benefits to quitting a month, or even less, before the surgery. Your circulatory and respiratory systems immediately start recovering after you stop smoking, so your wound healing will not take as long as it would if you continued to smoke. The benefits of not smoking will also continue well after you fully recover from surgery.
Wash With Antibacterial Soap
Bacteria on your body can enter the incision sites during surgery, so it is important to wash with antibacterial soap before entering the operating room. Your pre-operative nurse will likely provide a surgical scrub for you to use the night before and morning of your surgery.
If not, you can use ordinary antibacterial bar or liquid soap in the shower. You do not need to use the antibacterial products on your hair, just your body. Make sure to avoid shaving as well since the resulting nicks and cuts could potentially allow bacteria in the hospital infect your system.
Walk As Instructed
Although you might feel the urge to decline, take your nurses offer to walk with you up and down the hall after waking up from surgery. Your nurse will not offer this activity until it is safe to take the initial walk. You always have the ability to decline if pain, dizziness or nausea makes walking unbearable.
If you can slowly get on your feet and start walking, however, you dramatically decrease the chance of developing harmful complications, such as blood clots and slow wound healing. When you walk, you jumpstart your bodily systems normally slowed by the anesthetics used during surgery. Your respiratory, circulatory and gastric systems will all benefit from your short walk.
Reporting Back To Your Surgeon
If you do suspect you are experiencing any surgical complications, contact your surgeon right away. Your surgeon may need to prescribe antibiotics, perform an additional procedure or provide a different treatment option for the suspected condition. You may even need to remain in the hospital for observation, depending on complication type. Your surgeon will perform a thorough exam and diagnostic tests to determine the best course of action for your situation. In most cases, however, you and your surgeon's combined efforts will help prevent complications and facilitate a quick, unremarkable recovery.
If you need more tips or information about your upcoming general surgery find out here.