We know that when you have major surgery, it puts a big strain on your body. However, there are several ways that you can improve your fitness leading up to your surgery, which will help prepare your body for your operation and its recovery.
- Improve your fitness before a major operation
- Eat a healthy diet
- Stop smoking
- I COUGH UK
Improve your fitness before your surgery
Moderate exercise before your operation will help strengthen your muscles and build up stamina. This will allow you to mobilise earlier and reduce your risk of breathing problems such as chest infections which are common after major surgery. Depending upon your general fitness and the effects of other treatments that you may have had recently, you may currently have a limited ability to exercise. If this is the case try and go for a walk twice a day, increasing the distance you walk as you become fitter. Contact your GP or hospital Consultant if you find this brings on any new heart or chest symptoms. If you require a Cardiopulmonary exercise test [CPET] as part of your pre-operative assessment prior to your surgery, the Consultant Anaesthetist that you see will be able to give you further advice regarding exercise dependent upon your CPET results.
Eat a healthy diet
A healthy diet will help improve your recovery from surgery and in particular wound healing. If you have experienced a change in your appetite and particularly if you’ve lost weight, please discuss this with your surgeon and specialist nurse. You can be referred to a specialist dietician for advice to help improve your nutritional health before your operation.
It is very important to stop smoking as soon as possible before any major surgery. This will reduce the risk of any breathing problems during and after your operation. There are several ways to stop smoking
- CMFT stop smoking Manchester (www.stopsmokingmanchester.co.uk or 0161 205 5998)
- Make an appointment at your GP practice or health centre. There is usually a Smoking Cessation Advisor who can help give you advice about stopping smoking
- National Smoking Helpline(www.nhs.uk/smokefree or 0800 022 4 332)
I COUGH UK
I COUGH UK is a collaboration between our hospital, Central Manchester Foundation University Hospitals [CMFT] and another large hospital in America called Boston Medical Centre [BMC]. The medical team at BMC showed a reduction in patient’s lung complications after surgery with a series of simple interventions. We are now employing these interventions or all our patients having major surgery.
Prior to surgery, we will explain the steps of I COUGH. These steps will be supported by INTERNET based resources. We will also want you to concentrate on improving your fitness, eating a healthy diet and stopping smoking as set out above.
I COUGH UK steps
I - Incentive Spirometer Exercises
Instructions for Incentive Spirometer
- Place the mouthpiece in your mouth and seal your lips around the mouthpiece
- Breathe in slowly and deeply
- Remove the mouthpiece from your mouth and breathe out
C - Cough and Deep Breathing
This helps the lungs do the vital job of delivering oxygen to the tissues in your body.
O - Oral Care
We want you to concentrate on optimal dental care leading up to your surgery by focussing on:
- Brushing your teeth twice per day for 2 minutes. Make sure you brush the sides of your teeth and along the gumline, especially on the inside surfaces next to your tongue and the roof of your mouth.
- Brush the top of your tongue, as far back as you can comfortably manage.
- Cleaning in between the teeth with either dental floss or bottle brushes.
- Use mouthwash once a day to help control the dental plaque. Also gargle with the mouthwash, to clean the back of your tongue and mouth.
- Consider getting a scale and polish from your dentist
This process of good dental healthcare will continue in hospital after your surgery.
U - Understanding I COUGH
We want your pain to be controlled to help you take deep breaths and cough, do breathing exercises and make sure you get out of bed, sit in a chair and walk.
G - Get out of bed
- It is safe and very important-we will reassure and support you
- We will aim to mobilise you into your own chair at least twice per day
- Manage your pain – Pain management is very important to us and we have a specialised pain team to help us manage your pain.