Everybody knows the importance of good nutrition when it comes to staying healthy. But did you know nutrition can have an impact on your recovery following orthopedic surgery?
As a leading orthopedic surgeon in Houston, Texas, Joshua Harris, MD, is dedicated to providing his patients with optimal care at every phase of treatment — and that includes offering nutritional guidance to support a speedy and complete post-surgery recovery.
There’s no denying that surgery can cause at least some stress to your body. But what many people don’t know is that stress can begin hours before surgery, with an impact that can continue through your recovery.
Most surgeries require a period of fasting ahead of time — usually beginning at midnight or earlier the night before surgery. That means that by the time your procedure time rolls around, your body can already be low on sugars, proteins, and other nutrients.
On top of that, fasting-induced hunger and thirst sensations enhance the feelings of stress most people feel before undergoing an operation. The surgery itself involves stresses to your body, including physical stresses caused by incisions, bleeding, and tissue damage.
Your body starts its recovery process right after surgery, and if you’re already low in nutrients, the healing process can be a lot more complex and challenging right from the start.
Protein intake can be important in many types of surgery, but it’s vital for orthopedic surgery. That’s because many orthopedic procedures affect your muscles, and protein plays an essential role in rebuilding muscle tissue and connective tissues, like ligaments and tendons.
Depending on the type of surgery you’re having and other factors, Dr. Harris recommends bumping up your protein intake for a couple of weeks before surgery to make sure your muscles and other tissues are “prepped” for recovery.
A high-protein diet or protein supplements are also routinely recommended for a couple of months after surgery to aid in healing, combat muscle atrophy that can occur when activity is limited, and even potentially reduce the risk of infection.
Immediately after surgery, Dr. Harris often recommends a carbohydrate-rich drink to provide your body with a quick form of energy that can be easily digested and absorbed. When carbs are given in the postop period, it helps counteract the negative effects of fasting before surgery, once again supplying your body with the energy it needs to undergo the strenuous process of healing.
Orthopedic surgery plays a crucial role in helping patients regain function, mobility, and a better quality of life. As a top-ranked orthopedic specialist, Dr. Harris is ready to provide you with custom care and guidance aimed at optimizing your results and your recovery experience.
To learn more about perioperative nutrition and other steps you can take before and after your surgery, call 713-441-8393 or book an appointment online with Dr. Harris today.