Ask an expert about fitness for surgery 

Dr Robert Stephens fitness for surgery web chat

We know that patients in good health recover better after an operation and have fewer complications. By taking care of yourself beforehand, you can reduce the risk of complications (such as Increased risk of blood clots; lower oxygen levels during surgery; increased risk of wound infection; and increased breathing problems) and help you heal as quickly as possible.

Harms caused by smoking and obesity are potentially preventable and referral to support services prior to surgery offers an opportunity for you to improve your health and reduce the risks of surgical complications. There are other lifestyle behaviours which are good for your health like being active and reducing your alcohol intake.

Our expert is Dr Robert Stephens, consultant anaesthetist whose particular interests include anaesthesia for major surgery, clinical trials, enhanced recovery and the role of the immune system following surgery. He runs the Cardiopulmonary Exercise laboratory at UCLH and is an investigator in two studies examining how to improve the quality of recovery after major surgery.

Dr Stephens was here to answer any questions you had about getting fit for surgery. The conversation covered what you should avoid ahead of surgery and what you should be proactive in doing to optimise your health before an operation.

Live Blog Ask an expert about fitness for surgery

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