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Pre-& Post Surgery Care

Skin Conditions, General | May 10, 2018 | Author: Naturopath

Skin conditions, surgical

Pre-& Post Surgery Care

If you or are a loved one are planning on going under the knife, there are some things you can do to promote a faster recovery. Certain nutrients and herbs can boost immunity—preventing you from picking up a secondary infection. They can also provide pain relief and encourage quicker wound healing.

Nutrients to aid recovery

Below is a list of recommended nutrients to assist in pre and post-operative care.


Zinc is a key mineral that is involved in healthy immune system function. It promotes healing both inside and out while preventing secondary infections which are commonly acquired in a hospital setting. It is recommended you take zinc for as long as you can before surgery and afterwards, at a dose of at least 25-30mg per day.

Vitamin C

Nutrients to aid recoveryIn a similar way to zinc, vitamin C can boost immunity and promote wound healing. It is an antioxidant which helps to scavenge free radicals, preventing cellular damage. Vitamin C does have a mild blood thinning effect and to be safe supplementation should be ceased a few days prior to surgery but can be resumed shortly after. For optimal results take 500mg two to three times daily and with bioflavonoids.


Having levels of healthy gut bacteria can ensure healthy immunity. Supplementation with probiotics prior and post-surgery can reduce your chances of picking up a nasty bug. This is particularly beneficial in people who are undergoing gastrointestinal surgery—where the risk can be substantially higher.


An anti-inflammatory enzyme that is found in high concentration in the stem of pineapple plants. Bromelain helps to reduce muscle and tissue swelling especially following a surgery. What the evidence shows is that bromelain seems to be particularly helpful for improving the quality of life following dental surgery.


Supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids before and after surgery can provide protection against infection, assist wound healing and provide a more positive outcome in cardiovascular disease, diabetes, organ transplant rejection and other inflammatory conditions. For optimal results omega-3 fatty acids can be combined with L-arginine but should be used in caution in those with low blood pressure. It is also recommended that high doses of fish oil be avoided in the few days leading up to surgery due to potential blood thinning.


Glutamine is an essential amino acid which supports healthy digestive function. In addition to this research shows that it can reduce the risk of infection after surgery or injury. During recovery, it is recommended to take between two to five grams of glutamine twice daily.
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Nutrients to aid recoveryExtracted from the herb turmeric, curcumin has potent, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving qualities. It can be safely taken in conjunction with traditional pain medications or individually for more minor pain complaints. Recommended curcumin dosages will differ based on several variables such as a person’s weight, reason for use and different product types.
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Dietary and lifestyle suggestions

In addition to supplements, making changes to your diet, following your surgeon’s advice and incorporating relaxation techniques can assist with healing and pre-surgery anxiety.

Eat a clean healthy diet

Leading up to your surgery and post operatively eating a healthy, balanced diet will assist in a speedy recovery. Your body needs a range of vitamins, minerals and amino acids to repair and replenish the body. Focus on light, easy to digest meals that are steamed, not fried. Try to include oats, wholegrain cereals, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, garlic, turmeric, broths and cold-pressed juices.

Following your surgeon’s recommendations

There are many different types of surgeries, performed on thousands of Australians each year. The recommendations for each will vary and it is important to follow the advice of your surgeon. Generally, after a laparoscopic surgery activity needs to be limited for three to five days. In certain surgeries such as an appendectomy, a few weeks rest is essential. During recovery move around slowly and avoid lifting or carrying heavy objects.

Healing incision sites

Nutrients to aid recoveryDepending on the type of surgery there may be small or large incision sites to heal or none at all. With any kind of wound it is important to keep the area clean and dry. Once the wound has closed over you can start to apply a topical treatment to assist faster healing and to prevent infection and scarring. Examples of things to apply topically include rose hip oil or calendula, tea tree or vitamin E creams.
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Guided imagery

Having high anxiety levels before a surgical procedure is common. Incorporating guided imagery techniques is a simple and effective way to relax the body and mind before surgery and can be utilised afterwards to help with pain levels. The process involves listening to someone’s voice to relax the breathing and consciously direct the ability to imagine. For best results incorporate 2-4 sessions before surgery, especially in children.  Australia’s best online discount chemist


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Braga M, et al. Oral preoperative antioxidants in pancreatic surgery: a double-blind, randomized, clinical trial. Nutrition. 2012 Feb;28(2):160-4

Pollock GRVan Way CW 3rd. Immune-enhancing nutrition in surgical critical care. Mo Med. 2012 Sep-Oct;109(5):388-92.

Correia MI, et al. The role of probiotics in gastrointestinal surgery. Nutrition. 2012 Mar;28(3):230-4

Majid OWAl-Mashhadani BA. Perioperative bromelain reduces pain and swelling and improves quality of life measures after mandibular third molar surgery: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2014 Jun;72(6):1043-8

Alexander JWSupp DM. Role of Arginine and Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Wound Healing and Infection. Adv Wound Care (New Rochelle). 2014 Nov 1;3(11):682-690

Zhu Q, et al. Antinociceptive effects of curcumin in a rat model of postoperative pain. Sci Rep. 2014 May 12;4:4932

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