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Introduction to Care of the Surgical Patient

By Paul K. Mohabir, MD, Clinical Professor, Medicine - Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine ; Jennifer Gurney, MD, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Uniformed Services, University of Health Sciences, Bethesda

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Patient Education

Before elective surgical procedures, a thorough preoperative medical evaluation by nonsurgical consultants (eg, internists, cardiologists, pulmonologists) may be necessary to help assess surgical risk. Such consultants may also help manage preexisting disease (eg, diabetes) and help prevent and treat perioperative and postoperative complications (eg, cardiac, pulmonary, infectious). Psychiatric consultation is occasionally needed to assess capacity or help deal with underlying psychiatric problems that can interfere with recovery.

Elderly patients may benefit from involvement of an interdisciplinary geriatric team, which may need to involve social workers, therapists, ethicists, and other practitioners.