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 Rx: Preparing for Surgery 
The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Mind Body Health by . View all columns in series

Should I continue taking my usual medications before or after surgery?

How long before surgery should I not eat or drink?

Who else will be involved on the surgical team?

How long will recovery take?

What can I do to speed it?

Will I be able to return to work and normal activities?

When will you or other members of the surgical team visit me in the hospital?

What will the operation cost?

What complications should I report to a doctor?

Resources for More Information on Preparing for Surgery

Bennett, Henry L and Elizabeth A. Disbrow: "Preparing For Surgery And Other Medical Procedures," in Mind/Body Medicine, edited by Daniel Goleman and Joel Gurin, Yonkers, NY: Consumer Reports Books, 1993. Excellent review chapter by pioneering researchers in this field.

Bradley, Edward L.: A Patient's Guide to Surgery. Yonkers, NY: Consumer Reports Books, 1994.

Huddleston, Peggy: Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster: A Guide of Mind-Body Techniques. Cambridge, MA: Angel River Press, 1996.

Inlander, Charles B. and Ed Weiner: Take This Book to the Hospital With You. New York: Pantheon, 1991. The People's Medical Society's consumer guide to surviving a hospital visit.

Inlander, Charles B: Good Operations, Bad Operations. New York: Penguin Books, 1993. A detailed consumer's guide to the risks, benefits and controversies of 100 of the most common surgical and diagnostic procedures from the staff of the People's Medical Society.

Lewis, John: So Your Doctor Recommended Surgery. New York: Henry Holt, 1990. Discusses in plain language common surgical procedures.

Macho, James and Cable, Greg: Everyone's Guide to Outpatient Surgery. Kansas City, Missouri: Somerville House Books, 1994. Excellent discussion step by step descriptions of scores of surgical procedures telling the patient what to expect, what to ask, and how to best work within the system. Each section written by experts or teams of experts.

Youngson, Robert M.: The Surgery Book: An Illustrated Guide to 73 of the Most Common Operations. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1993. Covers why have the operation, goals of the operation, step-by-step how it is done, immediate and long-term effects. Illustrated with line drawings.

Audiotapes: Huddleston, Peggy: Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster: Relaxation/Healing Audio Tape. Angel River Press, Box 1038, Cambridge, MA 02140-0009 (Tel: 617-497-9431). An audiotape with imagery, suggestions, and relaxation exercises.

Naparstek, Belleruth. Health Journeys: Surgery Audio Cassette. Image Paths, Inc., 2635 Payne Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44114. Beautifully produced relaxation and imagery tape for surgical preparation with soothing background music.

Patient Comfort, Inc., 141618 Tyler Foote Rd., Nevada City, CA 95959, (800)-213-3223. Provides a selection of audiotapes and materials for surgical preparation including tapes by psychologist Henry Bennett giving specific body instructions for recovery.

Rodgers, Linda. P.I.P. Surgical Audiotape Series (70 Maple Avenue, Katonah, NY 10536, Telephone: 914-232-6405). A series of tapes for use before surgery, during surgery and after surgery with general information, reassurance, and positive suggestions with soothing background music.

Excerpted with permission from the Quarterly Newsletter, Mind/Body Health Newsletter. For subscription information call 1-(800)-222-4745 or visit the Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge website.

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 About The Author
David S. Sobel, M.D., M.P.H., is a practicing physician in adult medicine and Medical Director of Patient Education and Health Promotion for Kaiser Permanente Northern California. He is physician lead for the......moreDavid Sobel MD
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