Monday, February 9, 2015

6 habits to improve healing after surgery

A successful surgery depends on a number of factors -- a few of them you can control.
A successful surgery depends on a number of factors -- a few of them you can control.
(CNN)The winter is surgery season.
get into skiing accidents and need to replace knees, or they slip on
ice and need to fix a hip, or they just want to get ready for bikini
weather and schedule a nip here and an enlargement there.

Surgeons are particularly busy these days, but Dr. Jamal M. Bullocks, a surgeon from the Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in Houston, has advice if you do need surgery.

A successful surgery depends on a number of factors -- a few of them you can control.

minor surgery may pose some risk that has long-term implications. So,
for those considering surgery, there are six habits you need to commit
to right now to help your body heal.

Here's how Bullocks suggests you can improve your chances of recovering more quickly if you do go under the knife:

Quit smoking

shouldn't even have to tell you this. If you smoke, you know this habit
can cause irreparable damage to your organs. It increases your chances
for heart attack and stroke.

Smoking can significantly hamper
the success of your procedure. While in surgery, the damage from smoking
to your airway and lungs makes it more difficult to control your
breathing while you are under anesthesia.

Additionally, because
smoking damages your vascular system, it can bring on complications in
wound healing that may lead to infection and wound breakdown.

you smoke and have plans to go under the knife, talk to your physician
about smoking-cessation programs and products and follow his or her

Use this surgery as an opportunity to improve your overall health by quitting smoking.

Improve your diet

Malnutrition and the effects of poor eating habits can negatively alter how your body reacts to surgery.

is a serious condition that can affect overall health and is a concern
for many older adults since senior citizens are at particular risk.

can weaken your immune system, cause muscle weakness that can decrease
cardiac and respiratory function and may negatively affect wound

Talk to your physician about your eating habits, and if
he or she determines you need help improving your diet, work with a
registered dietitian before surgery.

Consider supplements

if you eat a well-balanced diet, your diet may still be lacking in
important vitamins and protein that promote healing after surgery.

vitamins (such as vitamins A, E and C) and protein can promote acute
wound healing -- and despite looking and feeling healthy, your body may
need a boost.

Ask your physician to confirm that you are not
deficient in any vitamins and to test your protein building capacity and
work with him or her to determine an appropriate supplement regimen
before surgery.

Manage your weight

This is easier said than done.

overweight or obese raises your risk because many people with this
condition have other risk factors such as cardiovascular disease,
respiratory abnormalities, heart failure, hypertension, pulmonary
embolism and deep vein thrombosis.

If you are overweight or obese
and considering a nonurgent surgery, work with your physician to develop
a weight-loss plan and try to attain a healthier weight.

It may help improve your overall condition as well as lower your surgery risk.

Manage chronic conditions

kidney disease and hypertension are just a few examples of chronic
conditions that may increase the chances of complications during and
after surgery.

It is important to be in the best possible condition before undergoing surgery.

you have a chronic condition that is not well-controlled, work with
your care team to help improve your outcomes before an elective surgery.

Follow your doctor's orders

You've chosen your surgeon
to guide you through this experience based on a lot of things. You did
research on this procedure, and he or she came highly recommended. Such a
surgeon may have special credentials or certifications that make you
feel more confident.

You trusted your surgeon enough to start
down the path of preparing for this surgery, so why won't you listen
when we give you special instructions to follow beforehand?

are like every other kind of doctor; they want to help patients improve
their health, but they also want to minimize the risk of a condition
worsening as a result of the surgery.

This is a team effort, and
it is imperative you do your part to eliminate potential problems and
help with a successful outcome.

Follow your surgeon's instructions before surgery -- and always ask questions if something is confusing or unclear.

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