These days, Americans train to get in shape for marathons, weddings and backpacking trips. So why not train for surgery? Tens of millions of surgeries are scheduled each year in the United States, and each can result in complications such as shock, infection or pulmonary issues: A 2012 study citing hospital data from the American College of Surgeons on 551,510 general surgery patients found a complication rate of almost 17 percent.
I recently wrote about training for surgery for The Washington Post, and interviewed several doctors to explain why it can be helpful. Posting about the topic here in the name of blog updates. (I promised I’d be back.)
Providers at several hospitals believe better preparation could help patients awaiting elective surgeries—those planned in advance, such as hip replacements or cosmetic procedures, rather than done in an emergency—avoid those problems. They designed programs to help ensure that patients enter surgery in the best condition possible, with preparation including physical and mental components.
If you’re planning a surgery, or know someone who is, please check out the story online. You’ll see the four training steps to consider and discuss with your surgeon, even if your facility doesn’t offer a formal program.