Most frequent questions and answers and helpful resources

Should I get vaccinated?

Vaccination is simply the best tool we have to prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death due to COVID-19.  While the vaccine is not risk free, look at the number of deaths in unvaccinated patients – it is staggering.  For your sake and for all of the people you love, keep them safer – get vaccinated, wear masks and stay 6 feet apart.  


Should I get vaccinated before elective surgery?

Yes, after surgery, your body will be working hard to heal.  You do not want to try and heal from surgery AND fight COVID-19 at the same time.  Death and complications (more blood clots in the lungs, more infections and more lung complications) are more common in patients who have COVID-19 and have surgery.

Learn more:  Abate, S.M., Mantefardo, B. & Basu, B. Postoperative mortality among surgical patients with COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Patient Saf Surg 14, 37 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13037-020-00262-6


Should I get tested for COVID-19 before surgery even if I am vaccinated?

While the data are still out, earlier research showed that patients with COVID-19 have worse outcomes.  While vaccinations will not eliminate the possibility of a COVID infection, these patients typically have milder cases of COVID.  If you can avoid it, don’t have surgery if you are COVID positive.


Is my surgery considered “elective”?

American College of Surgeons. COVID 19: Elective Case Triage Guidelines for Surgical Care. Available at: https://www.facs.org/-/media/files/covid19/guidance_for_triage_of_nonemergent_surgical_procedures.ashx.

Should I try to get off my opioids or wean down my dose before surgery?

DO NOT STOP TAKING YOUR OPIOIDS COLD TURKEY!  Work with you primary care doctor or  Pain Medicine doctor to discuss how to reduce or get off of opioids before surgery.


Why should I get off my opioids before surgery?

Opioids that you may receive in the operating room or recovery will likely work better if you or off or an a lower dose of pain medications before surgery.

Print out the references below and talk to your PCP or Pain Doctor before surgery




Am I at risk for opioid addiction just because I have surgery?

Six to 6.5% of surgical patients – (about 21/2 million patients a year!) that take opioids after surgery become persistent opioid users. About 670,000 of these patients will develop addiction or Opioid Use Disorder.

To learn more:  JAMA Surg 2017 Jun 21;152(6):e170504. doi: 10.1001/jamasurg.2017.0504.

CDC 2017: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Opiold Overdose: U.S. Prescribing Rates Map. Available at https:llwww.cdc.govfdrugoverdose/maps/rxrate-maps.html. 

Why should I stop smoking before I have surgery?

Smokers have more infections (think multiple returns to the operating room, IV antibiotics for weeks or months), slower wound healing, more heart attacks, more blood clots and often, more pain than non-smokers.

Ideally, you want to quit for 8 weeks before surgery. But, even quitting on the DAY OF SURGERY is better than not quitting at all

To learn more:  https://www.health.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0035/439784/smokingsurgery.pdf

1-800-QUIT-NOW is free – check it out!