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When Surgery is Needed, Preparation Supports Peace of Mind, say Danbury Hospital Surgical Experts

Monday, July 23, 2012 - Danbury, CT

Robotic Surgery Team

Did you take your Girl Scout or Boy Scout oath seriously as a child? If so, to this day you’re sure to pack what you need before a hike: a map, a compass, a first-aid kit, water and some healthy snacks. You want to know what the terrain is like and where the trail ends, so you can get home on schedule.

When it comes to surgery, studies have shown that the “be prepared” principle can ease anxiety, reduce your hospital stay and speed recovery. If you or a family member needs to prepare for an operation, learn as much as you can beforehand.

Over the past 10 years, Danbury Hospital has been “on a journey to transform the scope and quality of our healthcare services, growing our institution from a very good community teaching hospital to a premier regional health network,” said Keith Zuccala, MD, FACS, Interim Co-Chair, Department of Surgery, and Chief, Section of General Surgery at Danbury Hospital, which is comprised of Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital and their affiliated organizations. “This transformation can be seen in everything we do, including the many advances in our surgical capabilities. We now compete in surgical quality and talent with the best urban medical centers in the Northeast.”

Supporting these advances, the most telling evidence is the number of nationally recognized, board-certified and fellowship-trained surgical subspecialists who have trained at major academic medical centers to join our endeavors. Danbury’s eight-year-old cardiac surgery program boasts some of the best outcomes in Connecticut. Similarly, its Center for Weight Loss Surgery excels as an American College of Surgeons A1 level Center of Excellence, having completed more than 2,000 procedures and performing 100 percent of them laparoscopically.

Robotic surgery, minimally invasive techniques and advanced laparoscopy (microsurgery) are also commonly used at Danbury Hospital. Additionally, intra-operative technology is used prevent open surgery, where it is not required, and a highly skilled team provides advanced care for safe and effective anesthesiology and pain management.

John Borruso, MD, FACS, Interim Co-Chair, Department of Surgery, said, “Surgical site infections, which can occur after surgery in the part of the body where surgery took place, are an excellent indicator of an institution’s commitment to quality. We continue to maintain our high level of performance year after year through rigorous tracking, achieving very low infection rates and very low overall patient mortality when compared to other hospitals of our scope and size. We also work to minimize other surgical complications after discharge with meticulous 30-day follow-up to identify potential issues before they become more serious. ”

In 2008, 2009 and 2011, Danbury Hospital was recognized by the American College of Surgeons as one of 25 National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) hospitals in the U.S. to achieve “exemplary” outcomes for surgical patient care. This first nationally validated, risk-adjusted outcomes-based program to measure the quality of surgical care is currently used by more than 400 hospitals nationwide to assess more than 130 variables that may affect outcomes for patients undergoing major surgical procedures. Additionally, four endowed chairs support continuing advances in surgical programming and continuing education for physicians – thereby raising the bar on surgical skills and patient outcomes.

If you are a candidate for surgery, here are some ways you can make the time before, during and after surgery run more smoothly. Knowing what to expect can defuse stress and help you approach surgery day with a calm head.

Do Your Homework

To make informed decisions about your care, ask your physician these questions:

  • What will happen if I decide not to have the surgery?
  • Do I have any nonsurgical treatment options?
  • What should I expect this procedure to accomplish?
  • What are the chances that this will turn out as expected?
  • What are the risks?
  • What were the outcomes of other patients who underwent the same surgery?
  • How will I feel after surgery? Are there any special preparations I should make?

Before your Procedure

  • Follow instructions about refraining from smoking, eating and drinking before the procedure.
  • Ask your physician about taking aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs before surgery. Because they are blood thinners, these medications may cause excessive blood loss.
  • Tell your doctor which prescription and over-the-counter drugs you take, including vitamins and herbal supplements, which can extend the effects of anesthesia or create other complications.
  • You won’t be allowed to drive after the procedure, so make reliable transportation arrangements.
  • Organize your home before surgery. Make sure you have groceries or frozen meals on hand. If climbing stairs will be a problem, make sleeping arrangements downstairs.
  • Practice relaxation techniques which will help calm you and speed healing.

During your Hospital Stay

Your cozy robe or a favorite photo will warm your surroundings and soothe you. Having family and friends visit will bolster you, but don’t be afraid to set limits: You’ll need some time to recuperate, and this includes sleep and time to yourself.

Home Again

A little help from your friends can come in handy. If worries about housework or bills are nagging at you, ask someone to take care of these chores. In the meantime, the relaxation methods you used before surgery can help you feel better now, too. With guided imagery, you can picture yourself in the near future doing something you enjoy, such as taking a vacation or an invigorating walk in your neighborhood.

For information about our surgical services, visit us online at, or call 1-800-482-1387.

About Western Connecticut Health Network

Western Connecticut Health Network is the region’s premiere, patient-centered health care organization serving residents of Western Connecticut and adjacent New York. The organization is anchored by two nationally recognized hospitals, Danbury Hospital and New Milford Hospital, as well as their affiliated organizations. In addition to the two hospitals, the continuum of care offered includes the following affiliates:

Western Connecticut Health Network has centers of excellence in women’s health, cardiovascular and cancer services; minimally invasive and joint and spine surgery; digestive disorders and radiology and diagnostic imaging. It also offers specialized programs for neonatology with a Level IIIb neonatal intensive care unit and accredited sleep disorder centers. Both hospitals also maintain active clinical research programs, offering clinical trials for patients with cancer and other health concerns.

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