4 Things No One Tells You About Surgery: Surgery Scheduling & Prep Tips for Better Outcomes & Faster Recovery
Going under the knife is something most of us will experience at least once in our lives—and it tends to be an experience we all dread. According to data from the American College of Surgeons, Americans undergo an average of 9.2 surgical procedures per lifetime, which is why it’s so important that we know everything there is to know when it comes to proper surgery scheduling and prep. Today, then, we’ll cover four major surgery prep tips, including:
- Why you schedule your surgery for the morning
- Why you should avoid weekend surgeries
- Which month is the worst for surgery outcomes
- Why fasting before surgery is outdated (and how to safely nourish before surgery instead)
Now, let’s dig in…
Ready for a behind-the-medical-curtain look at surgery prep tips no one tells you? We’ve rounded up our top four tips for patients preparing for surgery below. Read on for some seriously empowering knowledge for that upcoming procedure.
- Mornings are Best
When it comes to surgery scheduling, the time of day you choose can make a huge difference in your surgical outcome and recovery. In fact, researchers conducting a 2006 Duke University study found that surgeries scheduled between 3 and 4 p.m. had a higher rate of post-op vomiting, nausea, and pain. That same study found that patients experiencing anesthesia-related problems increased from just 1% at 9 a.m. to 4.2% at 4 p.m.
There are two main reasons researchers speculate this is the case—the first, according to a CNN article, has to do with your body’s natural circadian rhythms, which regulate your sleep/wake cycle and brain activity. These rhythms dip between 3 and 5 p.m. every single day (think of that all-too-familiar mid-afternoon crash so many of us experience at the office). You certainly don’t want your body “crashing” during surgery—the natural sleepiness we experience during that time frame every day, researchers suspect, could play a role in the poor outcomes of late-afternoon surgeries.
Many suspect the second reason for poor surgical outcomes during this time frame has to do with medical professionals changing shifts. Nurses, anesthesiologists, and other members of surgical teams typically start their shift around 6:30-7 a.m. This means they switch shifts right around the 3 p.m. mark—often in the middle of surgery. Unfortunately, these shift changes can lead to miscommunications or important information getting lost in translation. There’s also the theory that surgeons are simply tired after a long day of back-to-back surgeries and, as such, are more prone to making mistakes as the day goes on. Whatever the reasons, though, the research is clear—mornings are the absolute best time to schedule your surgery.
- Avoid Weekend Surgeries
In addition to the time slot, the day of the week you schedule your surgery for can make a huge difference in your outcome and recovery as well. According to a British Medical Journal study, patients who underwent surgery on Fridays were 44% more likely to have complications than those who underwent surgery on a Monday. Medical professionals and researchers have speculated this is due to the fact that hospitals tend to be understaffed on the weekends—as well as the fact that experienced doctors with seniority tend to opt for a regular weekday work schedule, leaving the weekend shifts for their less-experienced, “newbee” counterparts.
- Steer Clear of the Month of July
The worst month to schedule your surgery for? According to researchers from Johns Hopkins: July. Their study of nearly 3,000 surgeries found a higher rate of post-op complications during July than any other month of the year. Why exactly is July such a bad month for surgery scheduling? Researchers speculate it could have to do with that fact that July is the month when that year’s graduating medical students begin working as residents. So, we recommend you opt for a bright beach vacation instead of the operating room during this sunny, summer month.
- Fasting Before Surgery is Outdated
Fasting before surgery is a no-brainer, right? Not so fast—according to modern medical research, fasting before surgery isn’t exactly your friend. More and more medical studies are confirming that preparing for surgery with the right preop drink (rather than abstaining from all liquids and nourishment) actually makes for a safer, more comfortable experience before, during, and after surgery—which is why so many medical professionals are changing their tune when it comes to fasting as part of surgery prep. The outdated “no food or drink after midnight” rule has actually been shown to have adverse affects on a patient’s ability to recovery quickly—after all, it makes sense that heading into a physically stressful event starved and dehydrated would be a recipe for discomfort, stress, and an increased hospital stay.
Top-rated hospitals and doctors across the world are now recommending patients prepare for surgery with a clear, complex carb-rich beverage like ClearFast. This allows a patient to safely hydrate and nourish before surgery—a simple step that has been proven to reduce pre-surgery stress, reduce post-op nausea and vomiting, decrease the risk of post-op infection, and ultimately shorten the time between going under the knife and getting to go home.
Overall, setting your body up for surgery success comes down to being proactive. Take care when scheduling your surgery—opt for early time-slots and try to schedule for the beginning of the week if possible (and always avoid the month of July). With your doctor’s approval, you can also work ClearFast into your surgery prep routine for a simple and easy way to get a major leg up on the dreaded recovery process. Order your ClearFast Preop Drink here, or reach out to the ClearFast team at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about the process at all.