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Ways to prepare for your orthopaedic surgery

18th March 2015

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

Orthopaedic problems can often result in the need for surgery and reactions to this can vary from person to person, ranging from a relaxed approach to severe anxiety. If you are scheduled for surgery, no matter how you feel about your future operation, there are a number of things you can do to prepare beforehand in order to make sure your body is in the best shape possible to deal with the added stress of the procedure. Here are a few recommendations which will help both your general health and recovery time following the orthopaedic surgery.

Prepare your body by eating healthily

It is important to be as healthy as possible before undergoing surgery so that the body is in the best condition to cope with the procedure. One way to ensure that your body is prepared is to ensure that you are eating a balanced diet full of anti-oxidants, probiotics, and easily digestible foods. It is also recommended that you drink plenty of water, with the NHS advising that women should aim to drink 1.6 litres and men 2.0 litres of fluid a day.

If you are overweight, it is highly likely that your surgeon or doctor will encourage you to lose a few inches before your operation, which can be done by eating healthily. Here are some great easy recipes for making meals packed with nutrients, which will contribute to the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a person should consume each day.

Now is the time to give up smoking

Smoking has been proven to change blood flow patterns, which can delay healing and increase the period of recovery time from an operation. So, if you know that you are going to be undergoing surgery, it is seriously worth considering giving up the unhealthy habit. Although it will be difficult, an operation can be great motivation for quitting and will improve your chances of a speedy recovery and better health in future.

Exercise

Another great way to get fitter before an operation is by exercising. Web MD recommends that adults should exercise for half an hour each day, so even if this is just getting out in the fresh air for a walk, your body will reap the benefits. Similarly to healthy foods, it will reduce the risk of chronic diseases, as well as improve mood, sleep quality and energy levels. Exercise has also been proven to reduce the risk of stress, which is an important factor if you are worried about a looming operation.

However, if you are going to begin exercising in preparation for an operation, make sure to avoid any movements which put strain on the area of your body which is waiting for surgical attention.

Ensure that your home is ready for your return

After an orthopaedic operation, your needs may have changed and you may need some assistive equipment in the home. These can range from sock aids and crutches to comfortable rise and recline chairs or stairlifts. These should be organised prior to your surgery so that you can remain stress free after the procedure, which will also help with your recovery time. You may like to prepare and freeze meals before you are admitted to hospital so that cooking is easier upon your return home.

Leave valuables at home

When you are admitted to hospital, it is likely that your relatives will be asked to leave until you have come round from your operation. Therefore, it is advised that you leave items such as expensive jewellery and technology such as mobile phones at home, as there will be nowhere to put them in safe keeping. The hospital staff will ensure they have a contact number for your next of kin, and the member of family or friend that will be taking you home following surgery.

Inform relatives of your surgery

It is important to let the relevant people know that you will be undergoing surgery in order for them to assist you during the process. This can be a relative, close friend or neighbour who you can confide in with any worries prior to your operation, as well as rely on for transport and aftercare. If this is not possible, your doctor or surgeon will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and will have alternative suggestions for assistance following your operation should you need it.

Notify your surgeon if you experience illness

It is also important to alert your surgeon of any illnesses that occur in the lead up to your operation, such as fevers, colds and flu, so that you can discuss symptoms which may affect your surgery.

The NHS offers further information about what you should do to prepare for a surgical procedure here.

Image Credit: Phalinn Ooi, blair_25, Hern