Before a scheduled surgery, I council patients on using therapeutic nutrition and activities that support immune health, connective tissue repair and stress management. Therapeutics should always be individualized and take into account a person’s medical history, lifestyle, allergies, medications and surgical plan of care. Since individual needs are diverse, the purpose of this article is to share a few examples of some of the evidence-based therapies that may be considered as part of a pre-surgical supportive care plan:

1. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: Implementing a pre-operative (before surgery) exercise regimen may reduce a number of complications during surgery, reduce the length of stay in hospital and improve post-operative (after surgery) symptoms/recovery. Exercise recommendations will vary between individuals and should be discussed with your health care provider prior to initiating.

2. STRESS MANAGEMENT: Studies in both humans and animals have demonstrated that psychological distress can delay surgical wound healing and compromises immunity. Pre-surgery emotional distress, has been linked to subsequent post-surgery side effects such as pain, nausea, anxiety and fatigue. Naturopathic therapies to mitigate stress vary and may include: deep breathing, mediation or other mind body medicine approaches, therapeutic nutrition, adrenal support, acupuncture, aromatherapy, auriculotherapy, botanical medicine, targeted supplementation and exercise. A naturopathic medical approach to anxiety has been shown to significantly reduce anxiety levels in randomized controlled trials.

3. NUTRITIONAL IV THERAPY: Pre-operative intravenous nutritional therapy is a favorite of many of my patients. Trials have suggested that vitamin C infusion may decrease post-operative pain and might reduce morphine consumption in the early post-operative period. Studies in patients undergoing cardiac surgery show that intravenous vitamin therapy may reduce complications and duration of hospital/ICU stay after surgery. In addition to supporting connective tissue repair, antioxidant status, vascular health, immune health and post-operative healing, high-dose intravenous vitamin C has also been shown to improve quality of life in cancer patients and demonstrates an excellent safety profile.

4. DIET: Ensuring adequate nutrition prior to surgery is important because poor nourishment (malnutrition) is linked to increased risk for infection, delayed healing and complications after surgery. Adequate iron, amino acids (ex. arginine and glutamine), omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc may all help to reduce wound infectious complications & post-operative hospital stay after surgery.

5. EDUCATION: A important part of pre-surgical care and integrative medicine is knowing what supplements are safe to take within the days leading up to surgery. It is critical to follow your surgeon’s instructions for pre-surgical care and to ensure that you are not taking any supplements that could cause blood-thinning effects or interact with medications, such as anesthesia.

As indicated, I also utilize hydration, sleep support, botanical medicine, homeopathic medicines, acupuncture, and targeted supplementation as part of a pre-surgical plan of care. Common treatment goals include connective tissue repair support, immune support, stress management and reducing risk/incidence or severity of scar tissue formation.

For more information on pre-surgical support or how to live your healthiest life, I invite you to come and work with me! Call to schedule (604) 670-0590 or click to book.

… Stay tuned for “Part Two: Post-surgical support”

In good health,

Dr. Jessica Moore, ND



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