Nutrition and Surgery

Nutrition is an important to your health, and can have an impact on your surgery.  Research has shown that approximately 30% of patients undergoing hip or knee replacement surgery are malnourished. It is important to understand that malnourished means that a person is not receiving the enough of the healthy foods and nutrients that we need to heal the wound or to participate in physical therapy and strengthen their muscles.  Many Americans suffer from obesity which is a result of too many calories in their diet.  Many obese pateints, despite over-eating, are still malnourished because the foods they are eating (in over obundence) are not the healthy fruits and vegetables that our bodies need.

Dr. Bright recommends that his patients who are obese should concentrate on eating healthy foods while at the same time eating less high calory foods.  Eating healthy (fruits, grains, fish, chicken, and whole grain products) can help patients achieve a healthy body weight because healthy foods such as whole grains are metabolized slower and stay in the stomach for a longer period and help us to feel full for a longer period of time.  Unhealthy highly processed foods (such as white bread, cereal, white pasta, soda, and processed sugary foods) pass quickly through the stomach and result in us being hungr again very quickly.

There is some early intriguing research on inflammation and arthritis that suggests that healthy foods can help us fight the pain and inflammation and swelling that we feel with arthritis (and pain from surgery).  The suggested foods currently include the most colorful fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries and kale and strawberries and tomatoes.

Before surgery, patients should attempt tro maintain a healthy body weight, and should NOT fast or go on a diet.  Patients should also drink water (and maybe gatorade is actually better) up until 2hours before surgery.  In the past, pateints were told to avoid eating or drinking anything after midnight, but new research has shown that drinking water or gatorade 2hours before surgery CAN help us recover from surgery better.

Lastly, there is some very limited data that suggests that there are a few nutritional supplements (HMP, Argnine, and Glutamine) that can help us maintain or improve muscle mass and healing with surgery.  This data is still very early, and has yet to be conclusively demonstrated.