What is pre-surgical clearance?
Surgery places your body under considerable strain. Even though the benefits of a surgical procedure can save your life or lead to marked improvements in your overall health, it’s imperative that you are healthy enough to get through surgery without serious complications.
A pre-surgical clearance is a medical exam focused on determining your risk level for surgical complications. It gives your medical team the information they need to direct the course of your care. The results also help shape your post-operative care.
What happens during a pre-surgical clearance exam?
The process begins with a routine physical exam. Basic information about your vital signs is collected, including your blood pressure, height and weight, heart rate, and breathing function. You might need to submit a blood sample for more in-depth information about your health.
Depending on the type of surgery you’re having, an electrocardiogram or colonoscopy may be recommended. Imaging tests like X-ray, ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI scan could also be involved.
How can I prepare for my pre-surgical clearance exam?
Most of the time spent during your pre-surgery clearance exam will be focused on gathering information about your health and health history. Having the details about any health issues you’ve faced and medication you’re taking can help this process.
Expect to be asked many questions about your health, including whether you’ve experienced:
These are just some of the standard questions you’ll be asked during your exam. Be as detailed as possible in your answers, and be prepared to provide details about your family health history, as well.
What if I “fail” my pre-surgical clearance exam?
If your doctor determines you have a high risk of complications, you may need to postpone your surgery while you undergo treatment for those areas of concern. That decision involves an assessment of how urgent the need for surgery is, how high your risk level is, and the potential reduction in risk that can be achieved by treating existing medical concerns.
If you’re advised to wait before your surgery it’s normal to feel a bit let down. However, you should remind yourself that the entire purpose of a pre-surgical clearance exam is to guard against serious complications during surgery.
If your exam reveals a high-risk level, then the process worked as intended. Taking some time to reduce your risk level is a small price to pay compared to the possibility of devastating complications during or after your procedure.
If you need a pre-surgical clearance exam, schedule a visit at AllCare Family Medicine and Urgent Care of Arlington today, online or by phone.