What you need to know when preparing for urologic surgery

Nov 01, 2023
What you need to know when preparing for urologic surgery

Preparing for an upcoming surgery is far different than say, preparing for a family vacation.  Vacation prep includes choosing your destination, what to wear, what to do, with eager expectations of having fun and taking time off. 

Surgery preparation may or may not be as eagerly anticipated but the details of improving the odds of a successful outcome, are just as important.

For anyone, man or woman, who has a urologic surgery scheduled, it helps to be prepared in the days and weeks leading up to this event. By learning about and becoming more familiar with the procedure, you will feel more at ease and ready for when the day arrives. 

Here’s how to prepare for urologic surgery:


  • Deal effectively with pre-surgery anxiety


Pre-surgery anxiety is very common. Fear of the unknown, being put to sleep, losing personal identity, and losing control, is just a few reasons why patients may feel tension, uneasiness, and stress. To combat anxiety, first trust your medical team. Talk to them about what you’re feeling and ask questions on anything you want to know. Make use of relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises, meditations, or getting a massage a few days before the procedure. Listen to all the instructions your medical team provides and have your home in order so when you come back, you can easily rest and recover where you feel most comfortable.

  • Know your surgeon

All urologists are surgeons and they are the experts on all urologic surgeries. Ask them specific questions on any aspect of whatever surgery you are having. Are there other options you could consider for treating your condition? What type of surgical technique will they do for your surgery?  The more you know, the more confident you’ll feel in your surgeon and yourself.

  • Become familiar with the hospital or the outpatient clinic where the surgery will be performed

Know exactly where your surgery will be conducted and which entrance is best to arrive at. Do you know where you need to go or speak to once you arrive? Is the facility licensed and accredited? Do you know what the surgical or recovery room looks like?  Is there a waiting room family members can be at during your surgery and do you know the location? These are important questions to ask making the actual day of surgery go smoother.

  • Physician anesthesiologists do more than just put you to sleep

Your anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist, along with your doctor, will recommend the best anesthesia option for you based on the type of surgery you’re having, your overall health, and your individual preferences. It’s highly recommended that patients are seen by the anesthesiologist before surgery to work with them on preventing complications paving the way to a faster and more comfortable recovery.  

Anesthesiologists will talk to you about when to start avoiding food and drink right before the surgery. They’ll do a thorough review of medications you take and make recommendations if you need to stop taking any of them before the surgery to avoid complications. Be sure to tell your anesthesiologist of any vitamins, minerals, or herbal supplements you take that may affect the outcome of the surgery.  If you have diabetes and take insulin, be advised on what dosage to take before the surgery. 

  • Know what surgical costs are covered by your health insurance

When scheduled for surgery you likely have many concerns about the overall cost. From a hospital stay (if necessary), to the surgeons fee to cost of mediations used, these fees quickly add up. To avoid any “surprise” medical bills, it’s helpful to contact your health insurance company to see what is covered. Most people only know the bare bones of their health insurance policy. But before planned surgery, have a conversation asking questions with your health insurance manager to understand the nitty-gritty details of what matters. Will you have a co-pay or deductibles? Do they require you use an “in network” facility and surgeon for the surgery? Knowing these answers and others can make a big difference on knowing what to expect. 

  • Lead a healthy lifestyle

A healthy body is more likely to have a safe surgery and quicker, uncomplicated recovery. A healthy lifestyle includes eating your vegetables and fruits, exercise, getting enough sleep, and taking steps to reduce stress. Control other medical conditions you may have such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol. If you smoke and your surgery is not for a month or more, quitting smoking improves lung function and oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood as well as a myriad of other benefits. Body weight before surgery matters too. A healthy body weight makes access inside the body safer, makes the body better able to tolerate the positioning, makes surgery safer and faster, decreases the risk of complications during surgery, and decreases the risk of wound infection and speeds healing. 

Taking good care of yourself is important for avoiding getting a cough or cold prior to the surgery which could result in having to reschedule when you are healthy. 

Essentially, taking good care of yourself throughout your life makes a huge difference in outcomes in regards to surgery. 

Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy.  Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.