If you or anyone you know has a surgery in their future, there are a few things to know before any patient signs up for surgery:
- Where you live determines what surgeries doctors recommend! According to Dartmouth University, people who live in areas with a lot of surgeons are 10 times more likely to be advised to have operations. In fact, one hospital chain performed unnecessary heart surgery on patients who didn’t have heart disease – simply to make money! So, before you agree to surgery, get a second – or even a third – opinion.
- Surgery is safer in the morning. A study in Quality and Safety in Health Care compared surgeries starting at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. The result? Late-in-the-day procedures are 4 times more likely to lead to complications. Why? You might guess ‘shift changes and tired staff’ – but that’s only part of it. The main reason afternoon surgery is riskier is because patients have to wait all day before it starts. And by late afternoon, they’ve spent all day worrying about the operation – so their blood is full of stress hormones. That makes them less tolerant of pain and more susceptible to infections.
- Start prepping two weeks ahead. Over-the-counter drugs, supplements and prescription meds can complicate surgery - like vitamin E, fish oil, and St. Johns wort, which can cause bleeding. So, make sure your doctor knows everything you’re taking – and stop anything that’s iffy 2 weeks before surgery. It’ll also improve your odds if you stop smoking and drinking at least 2 weeks before surgery.
- Shower the day of surgery with anti-bacterial soap. It prevents unnecessary infections, since you’re showing up with a lot fewer germs.