If you are scheduled for a surgical procedure, your surgeon may require you to obtain preoperative clearance from a primary care physician. Preoperative testing for surgery is used to determine if you are healthy enough to undergo a surgical procedure. If you have a chronic illness, this type of testing can help determine if you are at risk of developing complications during or after the procedure. If you are at risk for complications, your healthcare team can take the necessary steps to protect you.
Preoperative Exam Procedures
If you are generally healthy, you may not need more than a physical examination before your surgery. If you have a chronic condition such as heart disease, liver disease, diabetes, iron-deficiency anemia, or kidney disease, you may need additional tests to determine if you are healthy enough for the procedure. Your primary care doctor might order a blood test to assess your kidney function or determine how well your blood clots. If there is any chance you might need a blood transfusion during the surgery, your doctor might also have your blood typed and cross-matched. You may also need a chest X-ray or electrocardiogram to make sure your heart and lungs are healthy enough for surgery.
The complete blood count is a blood test commonly performed before major surgery. This test tells your doctor how many white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets are in your blood. It also tells your doctor if you have a normal hemoglobin level. Hemoglobin is the protein that carries oxygen in the blood, so it is very important for your body. Too many white blood cells can indicate the presence of infection, and abnormal platelet levels can signal a problem with clotting, so it is important that your doctor has this information before you undergo a surgical procedure.
During a preoperative examination, your primary care provider will check your blood pressure, pulse, and respiration rate. She will also conduct a thorough physical examination and make note of anything that needs to be checked again at a later date. The pre-operative examination does not take long to complete, but you should have the exam at least two weeks before your surgery. This gives your doctor plenty of time to review your test results and order any additional tests.
If your test results come back normal, you will be able to have your surgery as planned. Your doctor might recommend rescheduling the surgery if the tests show the presence of an infection or other minor medical problem. If you have abnormal test results, you might need to delay your surgery until you can have more tests or see a specialist.
At Chapel Hill Primary Care, we are committed to providing high-quality care in a professional setting. Whether you are a new or established patient, you will be treated with compassion and respect. If you need clearance before undergoing a surgical procedure, contact us to schedule a comprehensive preoperative examination.