Best Ways to Prepare Yourself for Surgery

Nearly everyone finds themselves in the position of needing some kind of surgery at some point in their lives. We are fortunate to live in a time when surgery can often fix what ails us. But before we are wheeled into the surgery room and see all the doctors and nurses in their surgical gowns, there are things we can do to prepare our bodies for surgery to put ourselves in the best position possible for a positive outcome. Here are the best ways to get your mind and body ready for surgery.

Preparing Emotionally

Surgery can be scary, especially if this is the first time you’ve ever had to deal with a surgical situation. While you probably won’t get rid of all your nerves before your surgery date, there are some things you can do to put yourself in a positive place mentally to cope with the uncertainty that surgery fosters. Whether you’re undergoing a minor or major surgical procedure, taking the time to prepare yourself emotionally can help you keep yourself calm in the days before your surgery date.

  • Practice relaxation techniques including breathing deeply using your diaphragm.
  • Think positively and focus on the positive outcomes of your surgery.
  • Use visualization techniques to imagine how your life will be better following a successful surgery
  • Ask your doctor about ways to manage your pain after surgery (include both medication and non-medication options)
  • Ask your doctor any questions you have about the surgery and share your concerns. Talking about your fears will allow your doctor the opportunity to allay them.
  • Review the pre-surgical instructions from your doctor and surgical facility.

Preparing Physically

How much you’ll be able to prepare your body for surgery physically will depend on the type of surgery you’re having. For example, if you have a broken leg that needs to be set, you won’t be able to do much exercise prior to the procedure. But, there will still be things you can do to prepare your body for surgery no matter what type of surgery you’re having. 

  • Eat healthy foods. You’re not going to change your body’s makeup in the time leading up to your surgery, but you can make sure you’re giving your body enough vitamins and minerals to help you heal as quickly as possible after the surgery is over. This is not the time to diet or try new foods that could have an adverse effect on your body’s digestive system. On the day before your surgery, you may not be able to eat anything for up to 12 hours prior to your surgery time.
  • Stay hydrated. Hydration aids the body in healing so you should be drinking at least six 8-ounce glasses of water every day leading up to surgery. 
  • Practice the post-surgical instructions your doctor or surgical facility has given you to make sure you’ll be able to follow them without difficulty after your surgery is complete. If anything is unclear or difficult for you to do, consult with your physician before your surgical date arrives.
  • Take all medications your doctor says are safe to take before surgery and discontinue those that aren’t.


No one wants to undergo surgery, but there are things you can do to get your mind and body ready for a surgical procedure to help increase the odds of a positive outcome. No matter what, always follow your doctor’s recommendations and let them know immediately if you’re experiencing any complications.

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