Mentally Preparing for Surgery

By Western Berks Physical Therapy on January 20th, 2020

Mentally Preparing for Surgery

High levels of anxiety before surgery not only cause hardship on the day of the procedure, but also have a profound impact on a person’s recovery. Statistics show that 40% of all adults undergoing surgery experience high anxiety and adverse effects, both during and after the surgical event. While there is no doubt that medicine has advanced significantly over the past few decades, the challenge of high anxiety remains significant. So how do we go about managing preoperative anxiety? Here are some tips for the next time you or a loved one is preparing to undergo surgery.

  • Learn. If you are planning to undergo any type of surgery, it’s important to educate yourself on the process, from pre-surgery testing to the day of the operation, to the recovery period and beyond. Learn about the procedure in depth by talking to your surgeon and doing research using reliable medical sources. In addition, do not hesitate to voice concerns or speak up if you do not understand something about your treatment.


  • Prepare. Prepare a list of questions and review the details with your medical provider. Generally speaking, studies show that the more information you have before surgery, the less anxious you will be at the time of the procedure. Total Joint Replacement: Questions Patients Should Ask Their Surgeon can help guide your questions in your discussions with your doctor.


  • Relax. Suggestions from Psychology Today include using guided imagery, music or even pet therapy to help relax. There are ample sources on the web that instruct you on the use of guided imagery and various breathing techniques for anxiety. Practicing these methods can be extremely helpful before surgery. Music is a wonderful tool that has proven to be highly effective. Rather than worrying in the holding area, listen to your favorite music. Other techniques such as scent therapy, touch therapy, and pet therapy are commonly used as well.


  • Support. The importance of social support systems surrounding a surgical event can’t be overemphasized enough. Friends and family are crucial throughout this time. Beyond the physical impact surgery has on your body, it can also affect you mentally and emotionally. Having a family member or friend to talk to throughout your recovery can help relieve any built up emotional stress. Your support system can also provide extra motivation if the recovery process ever seems too difficult or too long.

From improving recovery times and shortening hospital stays to improving function and healing of soft tissue injuries, physical therapy is a vital key to returning you to activity. If you are in the process of scheduling a surgery, let Western Berks Physical Therapy help you prepare to have the best possible outcome before and after with convenient locations in Wyomissing, Laureldale and Robesonia.