Dr Arthur Richardson - Hepato-Biliary, Upper Gastro-Intestinal and General Surgeon Associate Professor,University of Sydney
 
Dr Arthur Richardson
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Preparing for Surgery

Once you and your doctor decide that surgery will help you, you'll need to learn what to expect from the surgery and create a treatment plan for the best results afterward. Preparing mentally and physically for surgery is an important step toward a successful result. Understanding the process and your role in it will help you recover more quickly and have fewer problems.

Working with Your Doctor

Routine tests, such as blood tests and x-rays, are usually performed a week before any major surgery. Most patients will have been seen in the preadmission clinic and will have been assessed by the anaesthetists.

  • Discuss any medications you are taking with your doctor and your family physician to see which ones you should stop taking before surgery.
  • If you are overweight, losing weight before surgery may help with your recovery.
  • If you are taking aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications or warfarin or any drugs that increase the risk of bleeding, you will need to discuss this with your doctor.
  • If you smoke, you should stop to reduce your surgery risks and improve your recovery.
  • Have any tooth, gum, bladder or bowel problems treated before surgery to reduce the risk of infection later.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet, supplemented by a daily multivitamin with iron.
  • Report any chest infections to your surgeon. Surgery may need to be postponed until this is resolved.

If you are having Day Surgery, remember the following:

  • Have someone available to take you home, you will not be able to drive for at least 24 hours.
  • Do not drink or eat anything in the car on the trip home.
  • The combination of anaesthesia, food, and car motion can quite often cause nausea or vomiting. After arriving home, wait until you are hungry before trying to eat. Begin with a light meal and try to avoid fatty food for the first 24 hours.
  • Take your pain medicine as directed. Begin the pain medicine as you start getting uncomfortable, but before you are in severe pain. If you wait to take your pain medication until the pain is severe, you will have more difficulty controlling the pain. Discuss any concern about pain relief with your anaesthetist pre-operatively.
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