Patients usually approach surgery with mixed emotions. Many times they feel relieved that a troublesome or perhaps serious problem will be resolved, and at the same time, they are anxious about the prospect of anesthesia, being cut, and the pain that follows the procedure. Following a few simple guidelines can help people calm pre-surgery nerves when they arise.
Often, fears and anxiety that are experienced pre-operatively are founded in the unknown. The spine surgeon and the rest of the health care team in the office and at the hospital or surgery center have a wealth of information that they are ready to share. Whether a patient is concerned about wound cleaning or having trouble managing pain, the knowledgeable staff can thoroughly explain how different aspects of care are typically handled.
The internet is full of articles related to health issues, and reading up on the procedure can help give patients a good understanding about what happens before, during, and after surgery. It is a good idea to stick with well-known, reputable sites that are run by universities, health care practitioners, and established organizations in order to ensure the facts are reliable. Additionally, most physicians, hospitals, and surgery centers have professionally prepared pamphlets and other materials that give good overviews of specific operations.
Verbally expressing fears and concerns about surgery with supportive family members and friends often provides a welcome release from excessive nervousness. Loved ones can share their own experiences and help allay anxiety by offering encouragement and positive suggestions.
Taking slow, deep breaths and consciously relaxing muscle groups from the head down to the toes is an effective calming tool for many patients. Other people find comfort listening to their favorite music or a recording of ocean waves, and some individuals are able to unwind by visualizing themselves in a serene setting.
If a person is still nervous after unsuccessfully attempting to regain a sense of calm, the surgeon or anesthesiologist may prescribe a mild sedative. Benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Valium are commonly used for pre-operative anxiety.
If you’re unsure about your surgery and would like a second opinion regarding your specific case, call (310) 828-7757 to schedule an in-person consultation with Dr. Hyun Bae, Medical Director of The Spine Institute. Dr. Bae specializes in minimally invasive spinal surgery, as well as spinal fusion procedures and non-invasive spine treatments. Reach out today. We are here to help.