As It Turns Out – Maybe!

Let’s face it, any type of medical procedure, especially surgeries and operations, can certainly instill intense feelings of anxiety for the patient about to undergo a major surgery. With an endless list of things to worry about and have anxiety over, it’s definitely not an easy task to simply turn it all off and brush those fears aside as irrational thoughts. Because at the end of the day, are they really irrational thoughts?

Even basic questions like, “Who’s going to take care of my dog while I’m recovering?” or “What if I can’t get back to work right away and have to spend more time recovering and rehabilitating? Will I love my job?” These are both very real and very common thoughts that can create intense feelings of anxiety and apprehension among patients about to go into surgery. And as it turns out, doctors at the American Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Society Annual Meeting say that pre-surgery anxiety can potentially increase post-operative pain.

Managing Pre-Surgery Anxiety = Less Post-Operative Pain?

According to the study presented at the American Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Society Annual Meeting this past summer, Dr. Sandra Klein, M.D., announced that, according to the study, patients with higher levels of pre-surgery anxiety reported higher levels of post-operative pain, in addition to less function and mobility after elective foot and ankle surgery.

This really is an astonishing finding, because pre-surgery anxiety seems virtually inevitable for most people. At the end of the day, who wouldn’t have some feelings of anxiety before going under?

In terms of the study itself, it was conducted between May 2016 and December 2016 with 88 patients who received elective foot and ankle surgery during that period of time. The study’s team analyzed patients’ PROMIS anxiety scores, pain interference, physical function, and depression scores before and after surgery. The study ultimately found that the patients who reported higher levels of pre-surgery anxiety actually reported higher levels of post-operative pain, and lower levels of overall function, although all patients reported an improvement in pain and function over time.

What Can I Do To Prevent Pre-Surgery Anxiety?

Before you scramble and give yourself more anxiety trying to find ways to prevent it prior to your foot and/or ankle surgery, you should be sure to know that pre-surgery anxiety is as common as having anxiety before a big job interview – although the feelings are probably a bit more intense. But know this, you are certainly not alone!

You can try to prevent pre-surgery anxiety by talking regularly with your doctor or surgeon so that you can feel as prepared as possible before going under for your surgery. Read up about your particular ailment, read online forums to see how others have recovered and how they have prepared. In addition, you can always lean on some family and friends for some support. Make a game plan for the day of surgery and your day of release from the hospital, so that you can ensure that everything is prepared. Give yourself a sense of control by preparing all of this in advance. It should ultimately help to lower your pre-surgery anxiety enough so that you can go under confidently, knowing that everything is going to be just fine!

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