The Stress of Surgery
Needing a surgery is stressful. There are multiple doctor’s visits, waiting in the waiting room, then in the office, then even the line at the pharmacy! Having a surgery also puts stress on the body. So, how do we set ourselves up for the fastest most uneventful recovery possible?
There could be volumes of books written on this topic, so let’s just cover some high yield information.
Key Word: Prehabilitation
Prehab is like rehab, except before the surgery. Did you know that lying in bed, even for a couple of days can really decrease your overall strength? The medical term is called debility. Debility describes the weakness that results from not using your muscles, especially when you’ve gone through a body stressor like an illness or surgery.
Prehab seeks to build up your muscles and flexibility before surgery so that you can go through the recovery process more quickly without losing too much of your strength. Often with joint replacement surgeries we have people up and walking the next day. It is helpful when patients are able to build up their strength ahead of time so that after the surgery they can get moving as soon as possible!
Physically moving your body is more important than you might think. When we aren’t moving and are stuck in bed, bad things can happen!
Protein for Healing
Your cells are made out of lipids (fats), carbohydrates, and protein. Protein is one of the most significant requirements needed for your body to repair itself. Literally protein is required to make more protein!
Protein is so important that surgeons will sometimes get a lab before surgery that measures how much of a specific protein called albumin or prealbumin. That lab measures how much albumin or prealbumin you have circulating in your blood which can help the surgeon decide if you’re malnourished or not.
A common misconception is that individuals who carry extra weight are not malnourished. You can in fact, be overweight and still malnourished. How is this possible? There will be future posts explaining this further, but if a diet is unbalanced and consists of too many calories and not enough protein, then that individual could have deficiencies that affect their ability to heal.
If someone is determined to be malnourished, sometimes the best option is to delay surgery. Other times diet changes can be made to help improve those numbers and give your cells the building blocks necessary to heal.
There will be specific directions for you during your recovery time after surgery. For example, whether you should shower or not shower, how much weight you should put on your leg, or if you should keep your splint on or not…etc. Those directions are very important and can prevent numerous problems from happening!
When your surgeon or someone from the surgical team discusses the directions, it is important to take notes and pay close attention. It seems simple, but we’ve seen numerous cases where individuals did not follow directions and had a poor outcome that delayed them from getting back to doing what they enjoy. If you have questions, just ask or call your surgeon’s office.
Overall, you can take matters into your own hands to help you through your surgery. This website is meant to provide you with the resources for you to be able to do just that! Our goal is to really help people live better and do what they love despite going through the stressors of surgery! Let us know what questions you have in the comments.
Disclaimer: No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.