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Post-Operative Nutrition

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Post-Operative Nutrition
June 12
18:07 2016

Eating Right Is The Best Way To Take Charge Of Your Health

Proper post-operative nutrition is the key to a holistic recovery, as the body needs nutrients to build itself up again. In particular, patients who have difficulty managing their weight must rely on a nutritious diet to rebuild their strength and reclaim a sense of well-being. Even uncomplicated and flawless procedures can lead to scars, swelling and tenderness. Clean, healthy eating habits after a procedure help to improve the outcome and speed up the recovery process.

The most common advice given by doctors post-operation is to stay away from known neurotoxic substances like alcohol, MSG or caffeine for at least 72 hours. However, much more important than what you don’t ingest is portion control on what you do. The Women’s Sports Medicine Center at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York insists that while recovering,

“calorie needs are greater than usual, because your body requires energy from nutritious foods to fuel the healing process.”

Whole, fresh foods are preferred over fried, oily or salty foods. Dr. Robert Tornambe, a celebrity plastic surgeon at Madison Plastic Surgery in New York, wrote in the Huffington Post article, The ‘Plastic Surgery Diet’ that an effective recovery diet is one with lots of fruit, grain and lean meat. Vitamins and fiber are essential, but not all fats are helpful with recovery.

Dr. Tornambe writes, “unhealthy fats increase inflammation, while healthy ones decrease it.”

Inflammation is the body’s way of protecting against infection, and saturated fats and hydrogenated oils increase the amount of stress on the patient’s heart, leading to inflammation.

While overweight patients frequently see the recovery period as a chance to lose weight, a nutritious, controlled diet is the key to an optimal recovery, which is more important than weight loss. Nutrient pills and multivitamins are not substitutes for food, and while exercise contributes to good health, Dr. Paul Pin, a plastic surgeon with a private practice in Dallas, recommends on his website to wait at least six weeks before vigorous exercise, as exercising too soon after surgery can lead to complications like swelling. Nutrient and vitamin supplements should only be pursued after consulting a nutritionist or family physician, as a mega-dose of any nutrient or anti-oxidant can lead to malnutrition or overdosing.

Despite being the most primary influence on healing quickly, proper post-operative nutrition is hard to plan due to possible changes in appetite or nausea. In the article, Practice Advisory on Pain Management and Prevention of Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons claims,

“nausea… is the most common reason for poor patient satisfaction in the postoperative period.”

While it is the doctor’s responsibility to outline a proper diet plan to help with recovery, the onus is on the patient to ensure that the instructions are followed. A balanced diet is important but it is only one of many factors in influencing recovery after surgery, and so diets must be tailored to suit the specific needs of the patient. Pre-existing afflictions and weaknesses must always be taken into account.

Though a well-planned, balanced diet is crucial to a fast recovery, it is equally important to prepare oneself psychologically for the recovery process. Effective nutrition is the key to looking and feeling good, and a full recovery relies heavily on positive attitude and the support of loved ones as well.


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