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Navigating the Surgical Journey: A Guide to Stress-Free Preparation

Jun 24, 2024

Undergoing surgery can be intimidating, triggering a cascade of emotions ranging from anxiety to fear. However, a well-prepared patient is better equipped to handle the physical and emotional challenges of undergoing surgery. By understanding the process, familiarizing yourself with your medical facility's policies, and taking proactive steps, you can minimize stress before surgery and shift your focus to healing.

Knowledge is empowering
A comprehensive understanding of your procedure is key in alleviating stress before surgery. “Understanding the ‘what,’ ‘why’ and ‘how’ of your surgery can empower you, dispelling the unknowns that often contribute to anxiety. No question is too small to ask your surgeon.” said Catherine Mavroudis, M.D., a general surgeon at Inspira.

Start by engaging in open and honest conversations with your surgical care team. Ask questions about the procedure, its purpose, potential risks, and expected outcomes. Ask about any tubes, lines, or drains that may be in place when you wake up from surgery. Clarify any doubts or concerns you may have. Being well-informed allows you to feel in control, reducing stress and, promoting a positive mindset.

Understanding policies 
Beyond understanding the intricacies of your surgical procedure, familiarize yourself with the policies and protocols of your health care system. These facilities often have specific guidelines on preparing for surgery, admission procedures, and postoperative care.

“I recommend that patients familiarize themselves with facility policies when they go for preoperative testing,” said Dr. Mavroudis. “This includes knowing the admission and discharge procedures, required pre-surgery tests, and the COVID-19 protocols if applicable. This helps patients know what to expect when they arrive for surgery.”

Personalized, proactive preparations
Taking a proactive stance in preparing for surgery can significantly reduce stress levels. Consider the following personalized strategies to ease your surgical journey:

Create a support system: Surround yourself with a network of supportive friends and family. Having emotional support can be invaluable during the pre-operative period and beyond.

Organize logistics: Plan the logistics of your surgery day well in advance. Confirm transportation arrangements, childcare if needed, and any accommodations for an overnight stay. Bring a long phone charger, so you can easily get in touch with loved ones if your stay is longer than anticipated.

Prepare at home: Before your surgery, set up a comfortable recovery space at home. Stock up on groceries, prepare meals in advance, and ensure your environment is conducive to rest and healing.

Follow pre-operative instructions: Adhere to any pre-operative instructions provided by your health care team. These may include dietary restrictions, medication adjustments, and other specific guidelines tailored to your needs.

By taking these steps, patients can navigate the surgical process with a sense of preparedness and control, ultimately reducing stress and promoting a smoother recovery.

“Preparation should help you equip yourself with the knowledge and support needed to face the surgical journey with confidence and resilience,” said Dr. Mavroudis.

Inspira Health offers a comprehensive range of surgical services and resources to guide you through every step. Learn more about surgery at Inspira or schedule an appointment

Topics: Surgical Services