9 Tips for a Successful Surgery
Having a surgical procedure performed by expert hands can be a positively life-changing experience, often lengthening active years, providing increased mobility, and enhancing overall quality of life for many people. If you are considering having surgery that your physician has recommended, it’s important to keep a few tips in mind to help you be as healthy as possible before and after the procedure. Dr. Dean Cione, medical director of minimally invasive surgery at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano and a general surgeon on the hospital’s medical staff, shares a few best practices he has learned in his years as a surgeon:
- Be a “know-it-all.” Learn everything there is to know about your procedure, including how it works and what other treatment options may exist for your condition. The more you know, the better the questions you can ask your physician.
- Inquire about minimally invasive surgery. Many traditional surgery procedures can now be performed using minimally invasive surgery techniques. Cione leads the da Vinci® General Surgery Epicenter at Texas Health Plano, and trains surgeons from around the country on how to perform minimally invasive surgeries, which have been shown to reduce infections and can result in a shorter hospital stay, less scarring and a faster return to your daily activities. So ask your surgeon if your procedure has a minimally invasive option.
- Be transparent. It’s vitally important that your care team knows everything about you, including your medical history and what prescriptions and over-the-counter medications you take. It’s important to tell them if you have been a smoker, have heart or lung disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, have recently had dental work, or have a history of reactions to any medications or anesthesia. They need to know ALL of it.
- Don’t let supplements surprise you. In addition to telling your physician about the medications you take, it’s also important to tell them about any supplements you take. Supplements such as ginko biloba, ginseng, garlic, echinacea, fish oils and vitamins may increase surgery risks. Your physician may ask you to stop taking certain supplements prior to surgery.
- Ask for help. Prior to your procedure, discuss with your physician what kind of at-home help you may need from a professional caregiver, family member or friend post-surgery. Stock your freezer and pantry with food and wear loose clothing to your procedure that can be easily taken on or off. Arrange for someone to drive you home once discharged and make arrangements for someone you trust to stay overnight with you if needed.
- Adopt a healthy lifestyle, now. People who lead a healthier life often heal faster after surgery. Talk with your physician about changes you can make now, including stopping smoking, limiting alcohol, increasing your fruit and vegetable intake, or adopting a walking program.
- Stay on top of pain, and limit infection risk. Discuss with your care team what pain you may experience as you are healing and get clear, written instructions on what medications you are to take before and after your procedure. Have a member of your care team show you how to clean the wound and what things to watch for as you heal. Ensure you have a way to contact your medical team in case something doesn’t look or feel right. Your surgeon and their nursing team will be able to supply you with a contact you can call.
- Be a compliant patient. Make and keep appointments with your doctor. Take medication as prescribed. Limit your activity to what your physician tells you that you can do, and when. If it is recommended that you do physical therapy post-procedure, make and keep those appointments, as well. Compliance is key.
“We are using amazing advancements in medical technology to give patients the best outcomes possible with surgical procedures,” Cione said. “But nothing replaces a patient being an active participant in his or her care before and after the procedure. It is vitally important to the healing process.”
For more information about minimally invasive surgery at Texas Health Plano, visit TexasHealth.org/Plano-Minimally-Invasive-Surgery.
Physicians on the medical staff practice independently and are not employees or agents of the hospital or Texas Health Resources.