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St. Petersburg Health & Wellness

Nutritional IV Therapy Before Surgery
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Why should you get IV nutritional therapy if you are having surgery?

Insufficient nutrition impairs wound healing and leaves surgical patients more susceptible to post-operative complications.  By providing optimal IV nutritional supplementation before and after surgery we can positively influence your surgical outcome. The risk of complications also increases from other medical conditions, which increases the importance of optimal perioperative nutrition.  Patients who are poorly nourished, overweight, and/or have diabetes or other health problems are particularly prone to surgery-related complications, including wound infection and poor healing.

Most Americans consume diets too high in calories and deficient in essential nutrients.  We are known as a malnourished and overfed population.  More than 70% of American adults do not even get two-thirds of the RDA for 1 or more nutrients and the RDA is only enough to prevent a deficiency disease (i.e., Rickets, Beriberi, Scurvy) but not enough for your optimal healing.  The Standard American Diet (SAD) is notably poor in the consumption of fruits and vegetables – foods with high micronutrient density.  American meals, loaded with packaged, processed, nutrient-poor foods, contribute to nutrient deficiencies that result in a shortage of micronutrients and antioxidants – particularly important to surgical patients undergoing anesthesia, trauma, and wound healing.

Deficits in micronutrients such as zinc, selenium, vitamin B6 & D (to name a few) negatively influence the immune response.  Perioperative IV supplementation can have a significant and measurable effect on your surgical outcome by favorably affecting 4 primary mechanisms:  reduction of oxidation generated by surgery and anesthetic agents, enhancement of immunity, reduction of bruising, swelling, and inflammation, and promotion of wound healing.  Beneficial antioxidants can deactivate unstable free radicals resulting from trauma or surgery, thereby playing an important role in the prevention of further damage.  Vitamins, minerals, and nutrients such as carotenoids, vitamin A and C, selenium, bioflavonoids, and glutathione act as antioxidants. Specific amino acids are needed for tissue building and others to increase healing. Specific nutrients stimulate anabolic (“building”) hormones and reduce catabolic (“breaking down”) hormones. Zinc, selenium, vitamin B6 & D and other nutrients mobilize and improve immune function while decreasing inflammation.

This is important because during surgery it has been documented that the blood and tissue levels of nutrients decrease while the body’s requirement for them increases. What are you often told to do before surgery? Fast (i.e., nothing to eat for up to 8 hours before surgery) – so you are nutrient depleting an already nutrient deficient body and brain. In addition, you are also told to stop all vitamins and supplements 2 weeks before surgery.  To prevent bleeding, you are being even more nutritionally compromised. Yes, there are certain nutrients you do not want to take before surgery since they can increase bleeding risks, but many others are essential to healing.

IV pre- and post-operative nutrition is the solution to optimal perioperative nutrition and can decrease bruising, swelling, inflammation, pain, scarring, and infection rates.  It will also significantly improve wound healing and recovery time.

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Les Cole, MD, ABAARM, ABIHM

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