What Diabetics Should Know About Orthopaedic Surgery

Diabetes is a serious, chronic disease that affects the ability of the body to produce or use insulin. Unless treated properly, this results in unstable blood glucose levels, and may lead to complications such as nerve damage. Another problematic aspect of diabetes is that it can complicate orthopaedic surgery . Diabetics will need more careful preparation before surgery than most other patients.

Potential Risks of Surgery

Your orthopaedic surgeon will help you understand the ways in which diabetes can affect your health during and after surgery. Due to inhibited blood circulation, diabetics tend to heal more slowly, and they may be at an increased risk of infections at the surgical site. There is also an increased risk of:

  • Heart problems
  • Kidney problems
  • Fluid and electrolyte problems
  • Poor blood glucose control before, during, and after surgery

Effective Approach to Blood Glucose Management

With careful planning, it’s possible to minimize these risks. Your surgeon may coordinate with your primary care doctor or endocrinologist to plan a safe surgery for you. You will need to:

  • Inform the surgeon of all of your medicines
  • Inform the surgeon of any diabetes complications you may have
  • Discuss whether you need to temporarily discontinue diabetes drugs
  • Follow a strict plan to control blood glucose during the week prior to surgery
  • Take the recommended dose of insulin the night before or day of surgery

Expect to have your blood glucose checked when you arrive at the orthopaedic surgery center. If it’s too high, your surgery may need to be rescheduled. Otherwise, the anesthesiologist may give you insulin during your surgery, as needed.

Considerations for Post-Operative Recovery

Follow your doctor’s recommendations for checking your glucose after the surgery. During this time, the following factors can affect your blood glucose control.

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Difficulty eating
  • Reduced physical activity
  • Stress
  • Post-operative medications

Call your doctor right away if you notice signs of an infection, or if you have problems with glucose control.

At MK Orthopaedics , the safety and well-being of our patients are our highest priorities. Our orthopaedic surgeons in Joliet have plenty of experience working with high-risk patients who have multiple medical issues, and we can develop a surgery plan that’s right for you. Get in touch at (815) 741-6900.

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