Table 4: Dietary Considerations Post-Surgical Procedures

Points to Consider Reasoning Approach

Nutrition Educate the patient on the importance and the way to achieve the DRI
Wound healing may require higher intakes of some foods Consider multivitamins or other supplements, keeping in mind the Upper Tolerable Limit (UL)
Maintaining a balanced intake of nutrients by using supplements as needed, i.e., Vitamin C may promote healing Promote intake of nutrients that may accelerate healing
Consider pre-existing medical conditions (e.g. diabetes) and interactions with medications
Offer referrals for nutritional counseling

Ease of intake The consumption of food should be as painless as possible without damaging or aggravating the wound site Educate the patient to evaluate the texture, consistency, and temperature of food that is appropriate to their stage in healing (i.e., Crunchy foods should be avoided; foods such as cooked potatoes can be crushed or mashed to varying degrees; chilled or cold foods may be more soothing to the wound site)
Consider different food processing methods to maintain proper nutrition and introduce variety to keep the patient motivated
Encourage the patient to chew slowly and carefully
Consider medications that may modulate food intake

Palatability Food that is appetizing encourages lasting healthy eating habits and an adequate intake of nutrients to promote wound healing Consider texture or consistency, odor, color, temperature and taste of food
Consider the patient’s food habits prior to surgery
Aim to introduce as much food variety as possible without compromising nutrition and the healing process

Frequency and size of meals Drastic changes in rate and level of food intake may upset the body’s metabolic system especially after surgery Educate the patient to return to a regular eating schedule as soon as possible
The frequency and size of meals are determined by patient’s tolerance and comfort level Aim to establish an eating schedule that achieves adequate nutritional intake
Consider pre-existing medical conditions e.g. diabetes

Ease of preparation Food choices that are more readily available and easier to prepare would encourage good food selection choices and healthy eating habits that may optimize healing Suggest the patient to prepare certain foods prior to surgery for the day(s) immediately post-operation for the ease of consumption
Encourage the patient to establish a support network of friends and family to assist with food preparation
Propose preparation methods that require little steps and technique
Offer referrals for nutritional counseling

Fluid intake Dehydration may impede recovery, and this may be exacerbated by vomiting. Patients on certain medications have a greater risk of developing xerostomia. Educate the patient on the importance of being well hydrated
Consider pre-existing medical conditions and interactions with medications