Surgery Secrets Every Patient Should Know

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I perform about 15 surgeries per week and I love doing it because I know that I'm truly giving my patients another shot at life. But I realize from a patient's standpoint that they often don't want to go through it. So if you have to go under the knife here are some secrets I've learned over the years to make it the best possible experience.

1. Have Surgery on a Friday:I think it's the optimum day because you will have the weekend off to recover. All surgeries have different "down time" so check with your doctor about how long you'll be out of commission.

2. Schedule Surgery in the Morning:Doctors, this one included, are notorious for running behind schedule. I can only speak for myself, but I like to spend as much time as possible with a patient to make sure he/she is comfortable. And sometimes surgeries are more involved than we previously thought so it could take longer. So my advice is to schedule your surgery in the morning that way it is less likely to be delayed.

3. Skip July: If you're having elective surgery with hospitalization at a teaching hospital, you may want to skip July. That's when residencies start which means new interns fresh out of medical school will be tolling the halls looking for surgeries to do. Nothing against interns, I was once one myself, but it's just common sense - they don't have as much experience.

4. Be Honest About Medications: Make sure you tell your surgeon about all your medication including vitamins, natural herbs and supplements. Some of these can have an effect on bleeding.

5. Hand Washing:Make sure nurses and hospital staff wash their hands before they touch you. You can only imagine the kinds of germs lurking around a hospital. To have the best possible chance of avoiding infection, be sure to kindly ask if they could wash their hands before an exam. Most of us do it automatically but it can slip your mind.

6. Request Pain Medication Early: After if you are admitted, start asking for your pain medication when your pain is starting to come back. It may be a while before they bring it to you, so to avoid being overcome by pain, ask early.

7. Get Up and Move: Moving around as soon as you can will help your recovery. Make sure you clear it with your doctor first but walking around after surgery will decrease your recovery time and decrease your chance of getting blood clots and pneumonia.

Dr. Cynara Coomer is an assistant professor of surgery specializing in breast health and breast cancer surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. She is a FOX News Health contributor providing medical expertise on a variety of topics in cancer research with a focus on women's health, breast diseases and tips for healthy breasts at any age. If you have a question email her at