It is very common for anyone about to undergo foot surgery to have questions and concerns, since setting out on a plan of corrective foot or ankle surgery can be a huge decision in one’s life. The best physicians and surgeons will not only evaluate and diagnose your foot and ankle, but will also discuss the procedure with you, addressing any concerns you may have. However, you can also make your surgery a success and speed your recovery by following a few of the following simple tips.
1. Schedule Your Surgery
Although this should go without saying, one of the first steps in making your surgery a success is scheduling it properly. While you may have some preference in mind for when you would like to have your surgery and when you plan to recover, a good rule of thumb is to avoid surgery within three months of any travel plans you may have. While you may prefer mornings to afternoons and evenings, or vice versa, usually the actual time in which the procedure will occur is not set until a day or two before the procedure.
2. Pre Operative Visits
Pre-operative visits are crucial to making sure that your surgery is a complete success. The purpose of these visits is multi-fold. For one, your surgeon will review your general health to make sure you are healthy enough for surgery, and will give you information and a detailed plan about the procedure. He or she will also give you instructions for things you should do both before and after the surgery. Likely, this is when you will also be prescribed any pain medications for after the operation, so that you can have them ahead of time. You can make the most of these visits by being very forward and open about your health and medical history.
3. Check Your Existing Medications
Another thing you need to be completely open about with your surgeon is any medications you are currently taking. The reason for this is that some medications can have a negative effect on certain anesthetics and medications, or can cause excessive bleeding. Avoid any blood thinners or aspirin, as these are known to thin the blood. Additionally, you will want to stop taking anti-inflammatories, any corticosteroids, methotrexate, Enbrel, plaquenil, or any chemotherapy medications, as these have been shown to slow the healing of bone and wounds.
4. Lay Off Alcohol and Smoking
If you smoke or enjoy a drink here and there, you will likely want to put a stop to these habits prior to the surgery and not resume until well after you have healed. The reason for laying off the vices is that they can increase your risk of complications in the heart and lungs for cigarettes, and because alcohol can have adverse effects when mixed with many post-operative pain medications. Additionally, both of these vices interfere with your body’s absorption of the nutrients and minerals you need to recover fully.