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    Getting yourself healthy before surgery

    Even if you have seen many doctors, you are likely to know more about your symptoms and health history than anyone else. Your doctors and nurses will depend on youto tell them things they need to know.

    Tell your doctor(s) about:

    • Reactions or allergies you have had to medicines, foods (such as shellfish), tapes, iodine, or latex
    • Your use of alcohol (drinking more than 1 or 2 drinks a day)
    • Problems with surgery or anesthesia before
    • History of blood clots or bleeding problems
    • Recent dental problems, such as infections or dental surgery

    If you smoke, you need to stop. Ask your doctor or nurse for help. Smoking will slow downyour healing after surgery.

    Always let your doctor or nurse know about illnesses such ascold, flu, fever, or herpes breakout, or you may have before your surgery.

    You may not be able to have dental work for 3 months after some surgeries (such as joint replacement or heart valve surgery). You will need to have planned dental work before your surgery.

    Preoperative Exam

    Before your surgery, you will need to have a history and physical exam done.

    • This may be done by your surgeon or your primary care doctor.
    • You may need to visit a specialist who takes care of problems such asdiabetes, lung disease, or heart disease.
    • Try to have this checkup at least 2 or 3 weeks before your surgery. That way, your doctors can take care of any medical problems you might have.

    Some hospitals will also have you visit with a nurse at the hospital before surgery.

    • You will be asked many questions about your medical history.
    • You may also have a chest x-ray, some lab tests, or an EKG during this visit.

    Find Out How You Should Manage Your Medicines

    Bring a list of medications you are taking with you every time you see a doctor or nurse.

    • This includes medicines you bought without a prescription and medicines you do not take every day.
    • Write down the dose and how often you take your medicines.
    • Tell your doctors and nurses about any vitamins, supplements, minerals, or natural medicines you are taking,and any alternative treatments you have had.

    Two weeks before surgery you mayneed to stop taking medicines that make it harder for your blood to clot. These include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve), and other drugs.

    Ask your doctor whichmedicines you should still take on the day of your surgery.

    Manage Your Medical Problems

    If you have diabetes, heart disease, or other medical problems, your surgeon will have you see the doctor who treats your for these problems. Your risk of problems after surgery will be lower if you have diabetes and other medical conditions under control before surgery.

    Tell all of your health care providers that you are having surgery. They may suggest a change in your medicines before your operation.


          A Closer Look

          Talking to your MD

            Self Care

            Tests for Getting yourself healthy before surgery

              Review Date: 12/10/2012

              Reviewed By: Robert A. Cowles, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

              The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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              St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
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