Your Steps to Surgery

In the spirit of Memorial Day, I thought it would be interesting to reflect on the enormous strides we have made in the realm of surgery since the Revolutionary War days. Yes, surgery existed at this point in history when doctors still thought natural spas cured illness. Antibiotics hadn’t even been invented yet, much less anesthesia. Patients felt the entire procedure. Surgery is much different today. In this next series I will walk you through a typical workup prior to your operation. The first step is the history and physical exam.

Your surgeon, or your primary care physician will ask you questions about your current illness/injury, your surgical history, family history of disease, social history like if you smoke, drink, or exercise, and any medications or allergies. Pay particular attention to the allergy section. If you have a penicillin allergy, which is very common, your doctor needs to know so he does not give you an antibiotic in the penicillin family. The most common pre-op antibiotic, cefazolin, although not technically in the penicillin family, can cause cross-reactivity in 10% of people. This means that 10% of people who take cefazolin will experience the same allergic reaction as if they took penicillin.

The physical is not as comprehensive as your annual physical. A podiatrist will not have you turn and cough. However, it is very important to listen to the heart and lungs prior to undergoing anesthesia. Certain heart or lung issues may cause a patient to fall into cardiac arrest while under anesthesia.

After assessing heart and lungs, it is pretty standard to get a complete cell count (CBC) prior to surgery. This ensures you are getting enough oxygen in your blood and that you don’t have an anemia. It also ensures that you don’t have an infection somewhere in your body. Lastly, a basal metabolic panel evaluates the levels of important chemicals to your body, including sodium, potassium, chloride, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, creatinine, and glucose.

At Cast a Foot Podiatry in Hempstead, we will give you all the information you need during your surgical consultation visit in order to prepare you for any upcoming surgery.

Nicole M. Castillo, DPM 

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10:30 am-5:00 pm


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