Some of our patients come from another city or a faraway place. The reasons usually cited include, cost, and privacy. Even though most patients tend to have satisfying outcomes, getting surgery at a distant location has its challenges. The challenges usually relate to scheduling the surgery, arranging for a friend or relative to accompany during the surgery, and managing follow-up visits. Any postponement of the surgery can result in a lot of distress. One may need to schedule the surgery during the next vacation.
Being aware of the common reasons behind these issues can help one have a better experience. Let me list out some of the common reasons.
Even though consultation and clinical examination are the best means to assess a condition, examination of images can also give a fair idea of the treatment plan. For individuals who stay faraway, it is a good option to engage with the treatment provider with the help of emails and images.
2. Use of health supplements and smoking.
Certain behaviors can result in an increased risk of surgical complications. These include smoking and intake of non-prescription health supplements. Smoking results in increased rates of infection, wound healing problems, and increased risk of bleeding. We insist on abstinence from smoking for one month before any procedure. Non-prescription health supplements maybe associated with an increased risk of bleeding. They should be avoided for a period of 2 to 4 weeks before surgery. Use of any such supplements must be brought to the notice of the health provider early on.
3. Presence of comorbidity (other illness)
These include other diseases like diabetes and hypertension. These need not preclude a surgical procedure. However, they need to be medically optimized before undertaking any elective procedure. Some conditions may require a clearance by a medical speacialist. This helps avoid any untoward events during the procedure.
Some individuals are prone to get skin conditions like folliculitis or acne eruptions. The presence of any skin infection close to the operated site may result in the postponement of the surgery. In case one tends to get such skin conditions it is recommended to undertake treatment by a doctor or a dermatologist before the surgery. These can be carried out with the help of a physician near the patient's place of stay.
4. Possibility of drug interactions.
Some medicines being taken by the patient may interact with medicines used during anesthesia. For example, antihistamines used for allergies can influence the metabolism of lignocaine used during liposuction. We usually advise a drug holiday when there is a significant risk of drug interactions. In case an individual is taking any medicines for any related or unrelated condition, this should be brought to the notice of the surgeon.
5. Lack of a support system.
Surgery is a stressful time even for the most well-prepared individual. Hence it is important to have someone like a reliable relative or a close friend during the recovery after surgery. We usually do not schedule patients for surgery when we are doubtful about the lack of adequate support during the immediate postoperative period.
Postponement of the surgery is usually undertaken when we feel that some modification can result in better outcomes. These could mean the cessation of smoking or a drug holiday. It is also important for patients not to withhold any related or unrelated medical information because of any fear of postponement of the surgical procedure.
To summarise, some of the key points for individuals who are planning to travel to another place for surgery include, interacting with the health provider early on, disclosing any related or unrelated health conditions, and avoiding any behavior that can increase the risk of complications.
I like to keep it simple.