Are there steps you can take to reduce your risk of complications from surgery?

Dr. J. Scott Wilcher discusses what you can do to reduce your risk of complications from surgery. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

Are there steps you can take to reduce your risk of complications from surgery?

In people who are frail, there are things you can do to help mitigate some of those risks. You can do pre-operative physical therapy to try to increase muscle mass, to try to increase strength. You can work with them on nutrition to try to get them so that they aren't in such a malnourished state. If a person is a smoker you could have them stop smoking at least 6-8 weeks before surgery. If they're diabetic you can work with them to get their diabetes under control so that their Hemoglobin A1Cs are less than 7-7.5 so that their sugars are under control so that they don't get quite as many complications.

So yes, there are things that, between the surgeon and the family doctors and other doctors, we can do to help get you better prepared for a major operation.


A medical care team can help frail patients prepare before surgery to reduce their risk of complications after surgery, say Premier Physician Network (PPN) physicians.

Some steps that can be taken include:

  • Pre-operative physical therapy to improve strength and increase muscle mass
  • Improved nutrition to provide the body the energy it needs
  • Smoking patients need to quit at least six to eight weeks before surgery
  • Patients with diabetes need to get their condition stable

Talk to your doctor for more information about what can be done before surgery to reduce the risk of complications for a frail patient after surgery.