When preparing for colorectal surgery, it is important to begin the process early. This gives you plenty of time to learn more about the procedure, become more confident, and make sure you supply your doctors with all the information they need to do the best job they can! The following steps should be taken during the month before your surgery.

Talk to Your Doctor

Make sure you talk to your doctor about what you should do to prepare for surgery. You should also make sure they are clear about your medical history and your lifestyle. For example, you should let them know if you take a blood thinner or any prescription medications. If you are allergic to any materials such as latex, let them know ahead of time.

Stop Drinking and Smoking

Another important thing to discuss is how much alcohol you drink. Be open and honest. Stop drinking once you plan the surgery. If you go through any symptoms of withdrawal, let your doctor know immediately. If you stop drinking right before surgery, you could be at risk for complications.

Smoking can also cause problems during surgery. If you smoke, you should stop before surgery. The earlier to quit the better, but even stopping just a few days before your surgery will be beneficial.

Presurgical Testing

Normally you’ll have to go through presurgical testing (PST) during the month before your surgery. Although it is still important to clarify with your doctor beforehand, generally you are allowed to eat and take your normal medications the day of your appointment. Your appointment will include meeting with the nurse practitioner who will be working closely with the anesthesiology staff to go over your medical history. You will also complete a variety of tests including an electrocardiogram, x-rays, and blood tests.

Choose a Caregiver

Choosing a caregiver is an important task. You will want to do this sooner rather than later. That way they have plenty of time to learn about your condition, procedure, and can have the doctor answer any questions they may have. They will be responsible for taking care of you at home once you’ve been discharged.

Fill Out a Healthcare Proxy Form

Another important step is to complete a healthcare proxy form. This form is a legal document that identifies your healthcare agent, or the person who will make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to communicate for yourself.

By completing these steps during the month before your surgery, you will be on your way to helping make your surgery a successful one!