Medical Jargon: 5 Terms You Should Know Before Surgery

If there’s one thing we’re all about at ClearFast it’s empowering patients before their procedure. A huge part of that empowerment? Arming yourself with knowledge. Anyone who’s spoken to a medical professional at some point in their life knows that physicians tend to speak an entirely different language—and asking them to simplify their statements can be intimidating. To help you on your quest for surgery enlightenment, then, we’re breaking down 5 medical jargon terms you should know before going under the knife. Read on, word wizards!

  1. ERAS®

ERAS® (pronounced e-raz), stands for “Enhanced Recovery After Surgery”. ERAS programs are centered around facilitating a faster, easier surgery recovery by taking proactive steps to reduce the amount of stress the body undergoes during surgery. Ultimately, ERAS programs focus on implementing 17 key elements to ensure your surgery recovery is the best it can be (the elements of the program include everything from pre-admission counseling for patients to the use of short-acting anaesthetic agents to fluid-fasting with a preop drink in place of the traditional “no food or drink after midnight” fast). You can learn all about the elements of ERAS and how it makes for a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery here

  1. LOS

LOS stands for “length of stay” and refers to how long a patient stays in the hospital after her surgery. When it comes to medical jargon, LOS is a term patients should pay attention to, as no one likes scratchy medical sheets and—possibly even worse—bad hospital food. LOS is also important for hospitals and medical facilities, as a hospital pays a national average of $2,200 per day in expenses for an inpatient stay. On average, implementing a true ERAS® program—which includes the use of proper preop nutrition—can reduce LOS in the hospital by 1-3 days per patient, saving the hospital or medical facility money and helping the patient get back to life faster. (Talk about a win-win.)

  1. NPO

NPO stands for nil per os, a Latin phrase that literally translates to: “nothing through the mouth.” NPO refers to the instructions to fast from midnight before your surgery (no food or drink). Recently, however, modern medical research has suggested NPO be replaced with a fluid fast instead, as patients who undergo proper fluid fasts (using a clear, colorless preop drink that’s rich in complex carbs, not simple sugars) typically have safer surgeries and far easier recoveries than patients who’ve followed the outdated NPO instructions. Learn more about why patients are being instructed to fluid fast in place of traditional NPO fasting here

  1. PONV

Fourth up on our roundup of medical jargon today is the acronym PONV, which stands for “post-operative nausea and vomiting”.  PONV is a phenomenon that one in three patients experiences after waking from surgery (you can learn all about PONV here). Its causes are two-fold: first, prolonged fasting (remember the NPO medical jargon term we talked about earlier?) causes an unnecessary build-up of stomach acid, and these stomach acids are one major cause of PONV. Second, the anesthesia drugs themselves taken on an empty stomach can cause patients to get sick upon waking from their procedure. One major benefit of consuming a preop drink up to two hours before surgery instead of NPO fasting? A reduced chance of PONV. Time and time again, ClearFast patients name this as one of the best benefits of nourishing with ClearFast PreOp before they go under the knife: they don’t feel sick upon waking from surgery as they have in the past, which allows the hospital to discharge them sooner (woo hoo!). 

  1. SSI

We’re closing out our roundup of medical jargon today with SSI, which stands for “surgical site infection”. A surgical site infection occurs in the body at the site of the surgery/surgical incision. SSIs are typically caused  by germs and can be either solely on the skin’s surface or can go far deeper. Because the body and its immune system are already in a compromised state as you’re healing from surgery, infections after surgery are serious and can even be life-threatening. One thing that’s been proven to reduce a patient’s risk of developing a SSI is pre-operative carb loading with an anesthesiologist-developed drink like ClearFast—and you can learn all about why that’s the case here

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Ready to reduce LOS, reduce your risk of SSI and PONV, and kick NPO to the curb? Order your ClearFast PreOp here for the hours leading up to your procedure—and, to strengthen your body in the weeks leading up to surgery, don’t forget to pick up CF Protein while you’re in the ClearFast online shop!