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Life in Motion

Preparing for Orthopedic Surgery with Diabetes

Health & Prevention

There are many conditions that can make having surgery more complicated. Many patients with complex care issues are directed to New England Baptist Hospital because of our experience in handling these complicated cases. One condition that requires expert care is diabetes. NEBH partners with Joslin Diabetes Center, whose physicians coordinate patient care with the doctors, nurses and staff to optimize diabetes management during hospitalization.

In honor of American Diabetes Month, Dr. Joan Larrabee, an endocrinologist and diabetes specialist at NEBH and Joslin Diabetes Center, has the following tips on preparing for surgery if you have diabetes.

  • Talk to your doctor about the best way to get your blood sugar under control before surgery. Uncontrolled diabetes can slow the healing of your surgical wound, and put you at an increased risk for infections, and kidney and heart problems.
  • Be sure to tell your orthopedic surgeon you are diabetic and what medications you take. Some medications may need to be temporarily discontinued before you are given anesthesia.
  • Those with diabetes may be more prone to an infection. After surgery, pay careful attention and watch for signs of infection, such as a fever, or an incision that is red, hot to touch, or oozing.
  • Check your blood sugars regularly after surgery. You may have more trouble controlling your sugars because you:
    • Are having trouble eating or nauseous from pain medication
    • Are feeling stressed after your surgery
    • Are less active than usual

If you have any questions, make sure to talk to your doctor before surgery.

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