What can I do to optimize my outcomes?
To optimize your recovery from surgery, patients can undergo a process known as prehabilitation, where you can modify your nutrition, exercise and stress levels in order to strengthen your body for your procedure.
Recovering from surgery requires your body to work significantly more than it normally would, as it heals. To do so, ensuring a proper diet that maximizes high protein intake, especially in the two weeks preceding surgery has been found to reduce the length of recovery afterwards. This can be done by using high-protein supplements in addition to having nutritionally balanced meals during the period leading up to your surgery. You should aim to add 20-25g of protein to your diet every day; a dietician may help you tailor your meals so that your total intake of necessary nutrients is ideal.
There is evidence to show that better fitness levels improve outcomes after surgery. With regular exercise, your body is able to cope better with the stresses put on it as a result of surgery. Even if you have low activity levels, you can improve your fitness in as little as four weeks by attempting regular exercise.
Your pre-admission team can discuss with you the level of exercise that would be safe for you. Regular physical activity provides an opportunity for you to get fitter before your operation and improve your chances of a quicker post-surgical recovery since your body will be better suited to deliver oxygen to healing tissues.
Smoking can significantly hinder your healing after surgery. By stopping smoking before your procedure, you will improve wound healing while reducing the risk of surgical site infections. Your anesthesiologist will also highlight the value of smoking cessation prior to surgery, particularly if you are managing any respiratory conditions. Ideally, smoking should be stopped 6 weeks before your surgery if possible.
Reducing stress prior to your surgery can impact the length of your recovery as well as your perception of pain during this time. In addition to being well informed about your surgery using this website or by meeting with your healthcare team at your pre-admission consult, you can also practice relaxation techniques such as music or massage therapy to reduce stress levels that may stem from anxiety about your diagnosis and treatment. If you find that you are having difficulty managing any stress you may be experiencing, or that your mood has been lower than usual, please discuss this with your surgical care team as well as your family doctor. There may be additional options to help you cope in preparation for your surgery.
Undergoing surgery can alter how you manage your other conditions temporarily. You should schedule to meet each of the specialists you’re followed by, prior to your procedure in order to discuss how this may affect your other treatment plans. For example, your diabetic specialist will help you alter dosing of your diabetes medications in the period before and after your surgery.