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Pre- and Post-Surgery Health

Also indexed as:Perioperative Health, Surgery (Health Before and After)
The road to recovery starts with understanding what your body needs before, during, and after surgery. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
Pre- and Post-Surgery Health: Main Image

About This Condition

Major surgery causes serious stress to the body. The body’s immune system is weakened and gastrointestinal function is changed after major surgery, leaving the body vulnerable to infection and in a state of nutritional insufficiency.1 Steps can be taken using natural approaches to strengthen the body before and after surgery, enhance defenses, prevent complications, and speed recovery.

Healthy Lifestyle Tips

Smoking compromises overall health and is associated with poorer outcomes of many types of surgery.2, 3, 4 Smoking may lessen the nausea and vomiting commonly experienced after surgery due to effects of anesthesia, according to a preliminary study,5 but the disadvantages far outweigh this single possible benefit.

Holistic Options

Acupressure can be used to prevent nausea and vomiting. Wristbands designed to apply pressure to acupuncture points on the forearm were shown to effectively prevent post-operative nausea and vomiting in seven controlled trials6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and were as effective as an antinausea medication in another.12 One controlled trial found no benefit from acupressure wristbands.13Acupuncture14 and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) of a wrist acupuncture point15 have also been shown to be effective for post-operative nausea and vomiting in controlled trials. A controlled comparison study found that electroacupuncture of the wrist points controlled post-operative nausea and vomiting as well as antinausea medication and better than TENS, but both electro-acupuncture and TENS helped more than no treatment.16 A comprehensive review of research on acupuncture, electroacupuncture, TENS, acupoint stimulation, and acupressure for post-operative nausea and vomiting found these techniques to be more effective than placebo and as effective as commonly prescribed medications in adults but not in children.17 However, laser stimulation of the acupuncture points on the wrists both before and after surgery was effective for children in one controlled trial.18

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.

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