In preparation for surgery, adequate nutrition can reduce the impact of surgery and actually improve recovery. 

It is estimated that more than 230 million major surgical procedures are undertaken every year worldwide.1 With modern techniques, trauma can be kept to a minimum. Still, the patient’s body has to recover: through a variety of responses, it mobilizes its existing resources to initiate the healing process. Nutrition, by providing protein and energy, can accelerate recovery, for many reasons.2

Before surgery even takes place, appropriate nutrition can facilitate a better outcome. Indeed, clinical studies have proven that supplementing the diet with special nutrients can improve the body’s responses and reduce postoperative complications, even when the patient is considered well nourished.3 Depending on the procedure, the medical team might also decide to put patients on a specialized nutrional solution to enhance their immune system, which could lead to shorter hospital stays.4

After surgery, nutrition is essential to get patients back to their normal lives as soon as possible. Whether they can eat on their own or need to be fed with the assistance of a tube, the early delivery of the nutrients required by the body is important for recovery.4 We at Nestlé Health Science are fully aware of the benefits adequate nutrition can provide, which is why, among our nutritional therapies, we have designed specific formulations for the surgical environment.

1. Weiser TG, Regenbogen SE, Thompson KD. An estimation of the global volume of surgery: a modelling strategy based on available data. Lancet. 2008;372(9633):139-44.
2. Ljungqvist O, Dardai E, Allison SP. Basics in clinical nutrition: perioperative nutrition. E-SPEN, the European e-Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism. 2010;e93-6.
3. Windsor A, Braga M, Martindale R. Fit for surgery: an expert panel review on optimizing patients prior to surgery, with a particular focus on nutrition. Surgeon. 2004;2(6):315-9.
4. Martindale RG, McClave SA, Taylor B, Lawson CM. Perioperative nutrition: what is the current landscape? JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2013;37(5 Suppl):5S-20S.

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of physicians agree that an appropriate nutritional status reduces postoperative complications.

1. Lawson CM, Daley BJ, Sams VG. Factors That Impact Patient Outcome: Nutrition Assessment. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2013;37(5 Suppl):30S-8S.

Eat right and keep weight under control


In overweight patients, the risk of surgical complications is increased. Athough losing weight may help recovery, patients should not start dieting if surgery is planned within the next month. They should just follow a healthy diet with foods that will facilitate healing (always sought a physician’s advice). 

Source: Accessed December 2014.

Back home soon: Fill up the fridge and pantry


Going shopping can be troublesome right after a surgery. So before the operation, patients might stock up on healthy foods and drinks (physicians can be asked for suggestions and the appropriate supplementation, if necessary). If time is an issue, friends and relatives can be asked to help.

Source: Accessed December 2014.

Fast before surgery


There is a good reason that patients are told to fast before operations: anesthesia can trigger vomiting during or after the surgery. To prevent choking and complications like pneumonia (if food is inhaled), doctors’ instructions about when to stop eating or drinking must be carefully followed.1

1. December 2014.

Tailor-Made Nutritional Solutions for Surgery