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Preparing for Surgery

Surgery can be a very stressful time, both physically and mentally.  It is also very important to disclose all symptoms, medications, and concern with your physician.


Surgery can be a very frightening experience with many questions and uncertainties. By preparing oneself for not only the surgery itself but for the recovery afterward, the patient can greatly reduce this stress and set themselves up for a successful outcome. In fact, being properly prepared before going in for surgery can actually help patients heal faster. There are a variety of ways that patients can prepare themselves emotionally for surgery. This may be through relaxation techniques, including deep breathing, positive thinking and visualizing a successful surgery.

It is also very important for patients to prepare themselves physically. The healthier the patient is prior to surgery, the better the outcome will be afterward. It is very important for patients to disclose all symptoms, medications, and concerns with their physicians, in addition to following doctors orders. Other ways in which patients can physically prepare themselves for surgery are:

Stopping and/or reducing smoking and excessive alcohol drinking
Eating a well-balanced diet
Exercising regularly
Preparing one’s environment, including home, office, and car, for eventual discharge from the hospital

Make sure to ask your medical team about other ways you can prepare for surgery including avoiding medications that may affect blood clotting such as aspirin.

Read Jennifer K.’s “The VHL Athlete” to see how she prepared herself for spinal surgery on page 77 of the VHL Handbook.

For more information on Pheochromocytoma Testing, check out pages 46-48 of the VHL Handbook.