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Testing, Testing 123: Phlebotomy Basics

When my mother underwent chemotherapy, we spent a lot of time visiting the phlebotomy lab for blood testing. I was always impressed by how easily the phlebotomist was able to find and puncture a vein to draw blood on the first try. I knew there had to be a method to it, and was astounded by how effortless and painless they made the process. It led me to research a lot about blood tests, from drawing to the actual screening. I've created this site to share what I've learned in the hopes of teaching others. The more you understand, the more control you can have over your own health care.



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Testing, Testing 123: Phlebotomy Basics

Preparing For Colorectal Surgery: What You Should Know

by Francisco Arnold

Whether you're having some benign colon polyps surgically removed or are scheduling a colorectal surgery that's a bit more extensive, you may be concerned about the prospect of undergoing an operation on your digestive system. Careful preparation can make recovery much smoother; however, it's important to begin this process early, if possible, so that your digestive system is in the best possible shape before your surgery. Read on to learn more about preparing for colorectal surgery and what you can do to make the process as easy and pain-free as possible.

The Week Before Surgery

A week or so before you undergo your surgery, it's a good idea to focus on your diet. While you'll be given some laxatives to help empty your digestive tract just before surgery, this process will be less onerous if you've done as much as you can to clean your colon earlier in the week.

This means keeping an eye on fiber intake, avoiding too many fried or fatty foods or red meat, and reducing your dairy and cheese consumption to reduce the risk of constipation. If you're tempted to dramatically increase your fiber intake pre-surgery, you may want to reconsider; while insoluble fiber can help clean the colon walls of foreign material, upping fiber consumption too quickly can actually have a constipating effect. Instead, it's best to gradually increase the amount of fiber you eat over the course of a few weeks or even a few months.

The Day Before Surgery

Your exact pre-surgery instructions will depend upon your overall health, your age, and the type of surgery you're having. Some individuals may be on diet restrictions up to a week before surgery, while others might be instructed only to avoid eating or drinking after midnight the night before surgery. While many individuals are able to use an over-the-counter laxative or enema to clean their colon before surgery, because of the relatively high sodium content of these bowel preparation materials, they're not always appropriate for those who have high blood pressure or kidney problems. 

In most cases, someone preparing for bowel or colon surgery should plan to spend most of the day before surgery in (or near) a restroom. You'll need to take a dose or two of a fast-acting laxative, sometimes in conjunction with an enema, to ensure that your lower bowel is fully emptied so that the surgeon can see what he or she is operating on. This process can be uncomfortable, but shouldn't be painful. To help the time pass more quickly, have a few good books or games and puzzles on hand to distract yourself. 

For more information about preparing for colorectal surgery, contact medical professionals like those at Surgery Group SC.