Home » Our Practice: Dr. Emily Pollard » Preparing for Surgery

Preparing for Surgery

Good general health and nutrition are integral parts of your recovery. The healing process that takes place after surgery is affected by your nutritional intake before surgery. Swelling, edema, bruising, discoloration, scar formation, redness, and the time to heal – all are influenced by your diet, especially in the weeks prior to surgery.

Many of our patients who closely adhere to these dietary suggestions report that, in addition to the healing benefits they enjoyed, they experienced weight loss, higher energy levels, and increased mental clarity. In fact, many patients continue a healthful diet as part of their lifestyle postoperatively.

Our suggestions are based on the Zone Diet, which seeks to achieve a metabolic state of optimal health in which your body works at peak efficiency. The diet’s biochemical underpinning is the maintenance of ideal levels of the hormone insulin through a dietary balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

Here’s a summary of our recommendations based on the Zone Diet:

  • Drink plenty of water per day. (Our bodies are 70% water, and all of that water needs to be continuously and aggressively replaced.)
  • Drink eight ounces of water 30 minutes before each meal.
  • Eat five times a day: three meals and two snacks.
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals with fewer calories.
  • Eat small amounts of low-fat protein at every meal or snack.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables and less pasta, breads, grains, and cereals.
  • Make sure most of your carbohydrates come from fruits and vegetables, and use grains, breads, and pastas sparingly, as condiments only.
  • Do not eat any more protein than fits in the palm of your hand.
  • Eat double the amount of favorable carbohydrates (whole grain) than protein at each meal.
  • Never let more than five hours go by without eating a meal or snack
  • Always eat breakfast, and do so within one hour of rising.
  • Always have a small snack before bedtime.
  • Always have a small snack a half hour before exercising.

For more details, read The Zone Diet by Dr. Barry Sears, or visit www.zoneperfect.com

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Drugs to Avoid

Eliminate cigarette smoking and second-hand smoke completely before and after surgery. Do not use any herbs or supplements unless cleared by Dr. Pollard’s office. And eliminate alcohol and drugs such as steroids, marijuana, cocaine, and amphetamines.

Cigarette smoke (including secondhand smoke) affects your lungs, heart, blood vessels, and the way in which wounds heal. It changes the way an anesthetic drug works during surgery and can have a profound impact on your surgical results.

While some herbs and supplements can contribute to a healthier, longer life, new evidence proves that their benefits are derived mainly by functioning as blood thinners. Using a blood thinner will complicate your anesthesia, surgery, and healing. It is imperative that you do not take any dietary supplement, vitamin, or herbal or homeopathic medicine for at least two weeks prior to surgery and that you tell Dr. Pollard about any drugs you have taken within the past month.

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Take Approved Supplements

Two weeks before surgery, start taking 500 mg of Vitamin C once or twice a day. Vitamin C promotes healing and is a free-radical scavenger. Look for Vitamin C that is time-release and pure (that is, not mixed with any bioflavonoid or anything else).

Take Arnica Montana (30c dosage) the night before your surgery. (Arnica Montana is available in health food stores. You should purchase 30c tablets. Obtaining the correct dosage is important as it reflects the dilution. A 30x dosage is ten times more concentrated.) Take two tablets, three times a day, for the first three days after surgery. Place the tablets under your tongue about 15 minutes to 30 minutes before eating.

Take 500 mg (or 100 GDU) of Bromelain two times on the day before surgery and continue for five more days after surgery. This pineapple enzyme, which decreases bruising, is available in health food stores.

Please Note: The above is a program recommended by Dr. Pollard. Whether you follow all, part, or none of this program is entirely your choice, based on what you deem best for your own health. If you do not intend to follow this plan; however, it is important that you notify Dr. Pollard of your decision.

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Preoperative Checklist

THREE WEEKS PRIOR TO SURGERY

Depending on your age and medical history, you may need medical clearance. Please see your primary care doctor to have a full physical and then have the results faxed to 610-667-5171. Failure to do this will delay or cancel your surgery.

  • Have your lab test results faxed to our office at 610-677-5171.
  • Stop taking all aspirin and blood thinning supplements and vitamins.
  • Stop all anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen, Motrin, Aleve, and any medications that contain aspirin.
  • Stop taking Vitamin E, except as included in your multivitamin.
  • Stop smoking and avoid all secondhand smoke. Either form of smoke can cause serious problems with the healing of wounds.
  • Submit a list of all medications, vitamins, supplements, herbals, and over-the-counter medications for our review and recommendations. If you have any questions about medication you are taking, please call our office.
  • Maintain a healthy diet.

TWO WEEKS PRIOR TO SURGERY

  • Stop excessive use of alcoholic beverages, as they can thin the blood and cause bleeding.
  • Start your supplements and vitamins as recommended by Dr. Pollard.
  • If you are having major liposuction, begin taking an iron supplement.
  • Follow the preoperative diet outlined above.
  • Fill your prescriptions.

ONE WEEK PRIOR TO SURGERY

  • If you desire, color or perm your hair.
  • Make arrangements to have someone accompany you to and from surgery.
  • Get proper nutrition and rest. Do not stay up late or work long hours.

THREE DAYS PRIOR TO SURGERY

  • If you are having facial surgery, wash your face thoroughly twice daily. Also wash behind the ears.
  • Stop all skin creams, Obagi, and Retin-A. Use cleansers only.
  • Stop exercising.

THE NIGHT BEFORE SURGERY

  • Do not eat or take anything by mouth after midnight. This includes water, black coffee, mints, gum, lozenges, or cough drops.
  • Shower and wash and condition your hair as usual. Do not use hair spray, hair gel, or mousse.

THE DAY OF SURGERY

  • If you wish, shower in the morning and wash and condition your hair. Do not use hairspray, hair gel, or mousse.
  • Do not wear makeup, lipstick, deodorant, hairpins, or moisturizer.
  • Do not wear contact lenses. Bring a case for your glasses.
  • Do not wear any jewels or valuables.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing, button-up shirts, elastic waist pants, and slip-on shoes.
  • If you are having facial surgery, bring a scarf, sunglasses, or hooded sweatshirt to wear after your surgery.
  • Brush your teeth and rinse with mouthwash. Do not swallow any water or other liquids.
  • Do not drive your own car or take a cab to or from surgery.
  • All specimens removed will be submitted to the pathology department. You will receive a separate bill for this.

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