• Can I do anything to prepare health wise for surgery? Iam finishing my radiation treatment and I have a month to prepare for surgery

    Asked by cathy1967 on Sunday, September 9, 2012

    Can I do anything to prepare health wise for surgery? Iam finishing my radiation treatment and I have a month to prepare for surgery

    Are there any special diets, vitamins, minerals ,exercise that I can do to prepare for my upcoming surgery? I have a 50 % chance of infection according to the doctors.Any Ideas to lower my chances of infection would greatly be appreciated. Thank you

    7 Answers from the Community

    7 answers
    • SandiD's Avatar

      Good luck to you! I think the best you can do is eat healthy food containing antioxidants and vitamins, so a lot of fresh (or frozen) fruits and vegetables are in order. Get enough rest and exercise as much as you can (even just walking). You want to be as strong physically as you can, but you also need to be strong emotionally and spiritually too. Take time for yourself to find peace and joy in your life. And, try to avoid public places or being around sick people as much as you can. Let your loved ones know how important hand washing and exposure to germs is in your condition. Congrats on finishing radiation!

      over 8 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      I would hold off on any antioxidant supplements. They often interfere with other medications you may be needing to take and they also reduce the efficacy of radiation treatments.

      If you are concerned about infections, now is not the time to increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables as they are the most likely to carry bacteria and parasites. Be sure to peel, clean, and, when possible, cook vegetables well.

      Any changes in diet and exercise are not going to make a noticeable difference in a months's time. It would be better to stick with what you have already been doing rather than risk infection, adverse reaction, or injury with sudden short term changes.

      I would focus more on practical preparation for a hospital stay and recovery. Be caught up on any paperwork, bill paying, correspondence, house work, projects, etc. so you don't have those to deal with as soon as you get home from the hospital. Decide what to take with you to the hospital and what preparations you need to have when you get home (i.e. moving things to make them easily accessible, ready to eat food so you don't have to cook, any needed help with errands, child care, house work, etc.

      over 8 years ago
    • FreeBird's Avatar

      Any time we deal with hospitals or antibiotics, the week before, we start with a probiotic blend, and continue after release for a few weeks. The reason we do this is bad experiences with recurrent intestinal hospital infections and diarrhea associated with wiping out the beneficial bacteria in the digestive system with broad spectrum antibiotics. The brand we usually use is PB-8 by Nutrition Now, that's also available in vegetarian capsules if you prefer. Get the okay from your doctor before adding anything.


      In my opinion, if you feel pretty good, and strong, don't rock the boat. Keep doing what you're doing and eating well.

      over 8 years ago
    • abrub's Avatar

      Something that is more commonly recommended now is that immediately prior to surgery (as in the night before and the morning of) you take showers with Hibiclens. This has been shown to cut the risk of surgical wound infection. (Yes, shower twice.) Having had a surgical infection with one of my surgeries, believe me, it is well worth avoiding. The Hibiclens showers only started being recommended routinely when I had my 3rd surgery (no infection.)

      over 8 years ago
    • vizslagirl's Avatar

      i like most of the answers here...just give your body time to heal/deal with the RT, and just eat as healthily as you can and do what physical activity you are able to (RT certainly does bring on the fatigue). i was also told to shower the night before and the morning of my recent surgery with an anti-bacterial soap, and to scrub well so as to cut down on possible surgical infections.
      just try to take care of yourself, listen to your body, and you will be ready. don't overdo it or push yourself too hard while you are "resting" and healing after RT. being as healthy as you can be will allow your immune system to do its utmost to fight off any potential infections. and have someone watch out for you while you are recovering (especially if you have to stay overnight in the hospital)...having another pair of eyes to be watch over you and the nurses always helps!!!!
      good luck!

      over 8 years ago
    • Onoi11's Avatar

      I think homemade soups and also yogurt are beneficial.

      over 8 years ago
    • workit's Avatar

      This is a very good article, so don't let the elderly part of the title sway you. I got the full text from the author whose email address is on the page.


      Perioperative exercise training in elderly subjects.
      Best Pract Res Clin Anaesthesiol. 2011 Sep;25(3):461-72.

      The association between physical fitness and outcome following major surgery is well described - less fit patients having a higher incidence of perioperative morbidity and mortality. This has led to the idea of physical training (exercise training) as a perioperative intervention with the aim of improving postoperative outcome. Studies have started to explore both preoperative training (prehabilitation) and postoperative training (rehabilitation). We have reviewed the current literature regarding the use of prehabilitation and rehabilitation in relation to major surgery in elderly patients. We have focussed particularly on randomised controlled trials, systematic reviews and meta-analyses. There is currently a paucity of high-quality clinical trials in this area, and the evidence base in elderly patients is particularly limited. The review indicated that prehabilitation can improve objectively measured fitness in the short time available prior to major surgery. Furthermore, for several general surgical procedures, prehabilitation using inspiratory muscle training may reduce the risk of some specific complications (e.g., pulmonary complications and predominately atelectasis), but it is unclear whether this translates into an improvement in overall surgical outcome. There is clear evidence that rehabilitation is of benefit to patients following cancer diagnoses, in terms of physical activity, fatigue and health-related quality of life. However, it is uncertain whether this improved physical function translates into increased survival and delayed disease recurrence. Prehabilitation using continuous or interval training has been shown to improve fitness but the impact on surgical outcomes remains ill defined. Taken together, these findings are encouraging and support the notion that pre- and postoperative exercise training may be of benefit to patients. There is an urgent need for adequately powered randomised control studies addressing appropriate clinical outcomes in this field.

      over 8 years ago

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