The number of diabetes diagnoses in America has risen substantially over the past several years. This has created a particular need for attention in all sub-specialties, including surgery. The effects of diabetes on the tissues of the body and on the body’s natural healing response present a challenge for surgeons. Therefore, it is vital that we discuss the particular precautions that may be needed for diabetic patients who need surgery. The objective of these precautions is to minimize the risk of complications during and after surgery.
Spinal Surgery Risks for Diabetic Patients
Surgical procedures have inherent risks for all patients. However, individuals with existing conditions like diabetes are more susceptible. This is why a thorough health history with full disclosure from the patient is vital to optimal surgical outcomes. Think of it like this: the more your doctor knows about your current health status, health history, and your lifestyle, the more detailed your treatment plan can be. A comprehensive treatment plan that is customized to your health needs is the best possible scenario. Generally speaking, surgical complications are uncommon. However, statistics suggest that diabetic patients have a higher risk of:
- Blood clots
- Extended hospitalization after surgery
- Pressure sores
Research has also demonstrated an increased risk of heart problems or death in the event of surgical complications which extend surgery time. A comprehensive health history allows your doctor to carefully analyze and control your particular risks and, ultimately, achieve the predicted outcome from surgery.
The Key to Surgical Success
If you have diabetes, the key to surgical success may come as no surprise to you. Statistics indicate that getting blood sugar well under control before any medical procedure dramatically improves the likelihood of success. The value of regulated blood sugar is so high that many surgeons will postpone surgery if a patient’s blood sugar is too high or has not maintained a steady norm for the weeks before surgery.
Blood sugar levels can be managed by taking prescribed medications as directed, eating healthy foods that are low on the glycemic index, and exercising on a regular basis. These lifestyle habits are very effective, and they are relatively easy to implement and sustain.
The Hospital for Special Surgery in New York seeks to improve the success rate of spinal surgery for patients regardless of extenuating health circumstances. Learn more about our treatment protocols or schedule a consultation with Dr. Albert at 212-606-1004.