What is preoperative care for diabetic patients?

Preoperative Care for Diabetic Patients
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General pre-op for people with diabetes: Overview

Just because you have diabetes doesn't mean you can't have surgery if you need it. Surgery is safer now than ever before. But if you have diabetes, you may need to take extra care.

Before your surgery, you may need to check your blood sugar more often. Your doctor may have you do this for at least 24 hours before and for 72 hours after your surgery.

If you take insulin or other medicine for diabetes, your doctor will give you exact instructions about how to take them. It may not be the same as how you usually take them.

Each person is different. If you don't get instructions about your medicines, ask your doctor what to do. And make sure to ask about anything you don't understand.

How do you prepare for surgery when you have diabetes?

Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.

Preparing for surgery

  • You will get exact instructions about when to stop eating before your surgery. It is important to have an empty stomach before surgery. But this can also lead to low blood sugar. Be sure to talk to your doctor more about this.
  • Check your blood sugar often in the hours before the surgery.
  • Be sure you have someone to take you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine will make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.
  • Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • If you take a medicine that prevents blood clots, your doctor may tell you to stop taking it before your surgery. Or your doctor may tell you to keep taking it. (These medicines include aspirin and other blood thinners.) Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Tell your doctor ALL the medicines, vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your surgery. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the surgery and how soon to do it.
  • Make sure your doctor and the hospital have a copy of your advance directive. If you don’t have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets others know your health care wishes. It’s a good thing to have before any type of surgery or procedure.

What happens on the day of surgery when you have diabetes?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your surgery may be canceled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, take them with only a sip of water.
  • Take a bath or shower before you come in for your surgery. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
  • Do not shave the surgical site yourself.
  • Take off all jewelry and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.

At the hospital or surgery center

  • Bring a picture ID.
  • The area for surgery is often marked to make sure there are no errors.
  • You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. The anesthesia may make you sleep. Or it may just numb the area being worked on.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.