Surgery During the Holidays 

Holiday Hints:  Tips for Success

Although the holiday season is not a time when people are known to practice moderation, those who must undergo surgery at this time should watch how they indulge for more than just the obvious health reasons. According to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA), for those undergoing surgery before or after the holidays, it is extremely important to be honest with the nurse anesthetist during the pre-operative interview in order to help ensure a trouble-free anesthesia experience.

The AANA offers the following tips to those undergoing surgery near the holiday season:

  • If surgery is planned, it is best to practice moderation in food and drink. Follow advice on food and liquid consumption prior to surgery.
  • Patients should be prepared to reveal pertinent facts during their pre-operative conference with their anesthesia provider, if not sooner. Even confidential or personal information should be discussed. For example, "closet" alcoholics or users of recreational drugs who conceal this information may be putting their lives in jeopardy. Anesthesia providers can take steps to lessen the patient's risk, such as reducing the dose of anesthetic or altering the type of anesthetic administered. 
  • Senior citizens should be especially vigilant in sharing information. Many seniors take medications for various age-related health problems and may forget to mention a particular medication simply due to volume. 
  • Make a list and check it twice. If you are traveling, carry a list of all prescription and over-the-counter medications, including herbal products, you are taking. Also list any allergies you have. This is critical information in emergency situations.

Whether a patient is undergoing a planned or emergency surgery, the more information a patient, family member or friend can provide to the nurse anesthetist, the safer the anesthesia experience will be.