Before having bloodless surgery, practice these guidelines and strategies to prepare your body.

Patients considering a no blood treatment plan, or seeking alternatives to blood transfusions should consider healthier lifestyle choices that better prepare the body for bloodless surgery or bloodless medicine.

Simple and proven strategies that may prepare the body for bloodless medicine include:

  • Adding iron and nutrients to the daily diet from iron-rich food sources to boost oxygen levels to the red blood cells

  • Discussing, reviewing and signing an advance medical directive that gives specific instructions on what blood products, medications and procedures are acceptable or unacceptable

  • Increasing vitamin C in the diet to absorb iron more effectively

  • Meeting with a nutrition specialist or registered dietician to investigate all dietary options

  • Scheduling elective or non-emergency surgery when hemoglobin levels have reached an optimal range

  • Stopping all alcohol use at least seven to 10 days before bloodless surgery

  • Stopping over-the-counter, herbal or prescribed medications (with a physician's approval) prior to bloodless surgery that hinder or inhibit blood clotting such as aspirin, ibuprofen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, anti-coagulants such as Coumadin, vitamin E, ginkgo bilboba, garlic and other natural supplements

  • Stopping smoking to improve oxygen delivery in the body

  • Taking iron supplements such as ferrous sulfate or ferrous gluconate

  • Taking vitamin supplements that help the blood such as vitamins K, B-12 or folic acid

  • Undergoing treatment for anemia or iron deficiencies in advance of surgery

People who wish to have bloodless surgery, or an alternative to blood transfusions should discuss their lifestyles and changes they can make with their physicians and care team before stopping or beginning any medications or supplements.

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