Most of us would prefer to avoid surgery, when possible. However, sometimes surgery is the recommended procedure for correcting a medical issue. Surgery may be the best choice when beneficial outcomes outweigh any risks. All surgery has risks associated with it. Risks vary depending on the type of surgical procedure. The surgeon, anesthesiologist, and other medical personnel do everything possible to reduce the risks for patients. In addition, the patient can take steps to minimize their risks by managing their other medical conditions. Here are five things patients can do to reduce their possible risks and prevent unnecessary complications. Four steps can be taken before surgery, and the fifth one is done as a follow up.
Many of us carry around extra weight. Ideally, we should try to shed a few pounds prior to a surgical procedure. People who are overweight may have problems with the anesthesia. Obesity can present several challenges including inserting breathing tubes and determining correct dosages. Excess weight can negatively affect incision healing. Obesity increases the patient’s risk of having a heart attack, stroke, and deep vein thrombosis.
Smokers may have chronic lung disease, which can affect their breathing during and after surgery. They have an increased risk for developing pneumonia. Studies have shown that smokers are at increased risk for infections following surgery, and they may have more complications with anesthesia. Smokers are also more likely to suffer heart attacks. Surgeons and anesthesiologists strongly recommend patients quit smoking before a surgical procedure.
Manage Blood Sugar
Controlling blood sugar is important for diabetics because it decreases their risk of complications due to infections. Diabetics often have poor or slow wound healing. High blood sugar levels can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis, which can cause serious complications including heart rhythm problems, kidney damage, fluid in the lungs, and swelling inside the brain.
Control Blood Pressure
Anticipating surgery can cause anxiety, which may affect blood pressure. Controlling blood pressure is critical when undergoing anesthesia. Severe hypertension can lead to complications such as stroke, heart attack, and congestive heart failure. It’s important to follow your doctor’s recommendation about taking any medications for hypertension prior to surgery. The anesthesiologist will carefully monitor blood pressure during the surgical procedure.
Follow the doctor’s instructions when caring for the incision. Use special precautions when changing the bandages. If antibiotics are prescribed to reduce infection risk, take as directed. Avoid seeing any visitors who are ill, as your resistance may be lowered.
The Best Outcomes
Following these five steps not only reduces the risk for surgical complications but leads to better overall health for the patient. A few lifestyle changes can make a significant difference in outcomes. The neurosurgeons at Atlanta Brain and Spine Care are experienced in performing a number of spinal surgeries, including minimally invasive spinal surgery. They are happy to discuss surgical options and risks with patients and strategies for minimizing the risks. Contact us today for more information.