Surgical Clearance is an examination that determines whether a patient is an appropriate candidate for surgery. By performing an examination and running the necessary tests, doctors can ensure that a patient will be able to tolerate the surgery safely and obtain successful results. At Dr. G’s Urgent Care, we perform specialized physical examinations to ensure a patient is healthy for surgery or medical treatment. We treat patients of all ages, and there’s no appointment necessary, so you can walk-in as soon as necessary. We can also expedite surgical clearances so that you can get the results your doctor needs as soon as possible.
About Surgical Clearance
If you have a surgery scheduled that involves anesthesia, your surgeon may require that you have an examination and testing prior. Preoperative testing can include chest X-rays, electrocardiograms, and baseline laboratory studies, such as bloodwork and urine analysis. This gives your surgeon more information than just your clinical history and physical examination findings. These tests provide additional information, which can be essential for high-risk patients. This helps anesthesiologists prepare the patient for surgery and improve their outcomes. (1) Preoperative laboratory tests are an important part of preparing for surgery. Blood tests are crucial, even for elective surgical procedures in healthy patients.
Tests aid in the detection of abnormal findings that would be otherwise unknown and could place the patient at risk during surgery and delay recovery if left undetected. (2)
Every surgery comes with risks. A surgical clearance examination helps your surgeon and anesthesiologist identify risks that your health condition may pose and strategize how best to avoid those risks.
Questions for Candidates
To determine whether you’ll be able to handle the risks that surgery poses safely, you’ll be asked questions about your health and lifestyle. One of the first and most important questions that you’ll be asked is also the most simple- your age. It’s more than just a number: studies have found that the older the patient, the bigger the risk of surgery. Unfortunately, the mortality rate for most surgical procedures increases with age because the rate of health conditions and diseases also increases with advancing age.
You’ll also be asked whether you have a history of:
- Heart diseases, irregular heartbeat, or rheumatic fever
- Asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema
- Chest pain or angina
- Hypertension or hypotension
- Shortness of breath, cough
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Thyroid, liver, or kidney problems
- Weakness or numbness in your limbs
- Seizures or blackouts
- Bleeding disorders or blood clotting abnormalities
- Arthritis or joint pain
You’ll also be asked about whether you have any allergies to food or medication and what medication or supplements you are currently taking. The doctor will also need to know if you’ve had previous medical conditions or undergone surgeries or anesthesia in the past. If you’re female, your doctor will need to know whether you’re pregnant or if there’s the possibility of your becoming pregnant prior to your surgery.
You’ll also be asked questions about your lifestyle, like whether you exercise or smoke, and if so how often. Because there is an increased risk for postoperative complications in patients who regularly misuse alcohol, you’ll be asked about your alcohol use. The doctor examining you will also ask about your family history of health conditions before finally performing a full physical examination.
If you are a certain age, weight, or have a family history of heart issues, you may be given an electrocardiogram. An electrocardiogram (EKG) test tells your doctor about the health of your heart. EKG’s are used to detect:
- Abnormal heart rhythm
- If your arteries are blocked or narrowed and whether you have coronary artery disease, which can cause chest pain or a heart attack
- Whether you have had a previous heart attack
- How well certain heart disease treatments, such as a pacemaker, are working
What Does a Blood Draw Test For?
When your blood is drawn during your examination, the sample that is tested can tell the doctors a lot about your overall state of health. It reveals how well your kidneys and liver are working, whether you are at risk for diabetes, and can predict side effects or complications that you may have from certain drugs.
Your blood sample will usually receive the following tests:
- Lipid Profile: These tests help your doctor decide if you are at risk of developing heart disease. Depending on your results and other risk factors, your doctor may develop a plan of treatment & follow-up care.
- Thyroid Test(s): Thyroid Function Tests check the thyroid gland located in the front of the neck. This gland makes hormones that play an important role in regulating your body’s metabolism. This is also an important test for patients who are taking hormone replacement medicine.
- Complete Blood Count (CBC) with or without White Blood Cell (WBC) Differential: A CBC with or without a WBC differential is often done as part of a routine medical exam. The test measures the types and numbers of white blood cells (WBC’s) for fighting infections, red blood cells (RBC’s) for carrying oxygen throughout your body, and platelets for stopping bleeding.
CBC is used to:
- Check for anemia or blood loss
- Diagnose infections
- Detect diseases like leukemia and sickle cell
- Check the response to some types of drug or radiation treatment
- Monitor the health of patients receiving chemotherapy
Your blood test will also include a Prothrombin Time (PT) with INR & Activated Partial Thromboplastin Time (PTT). This test helps measure the ability of your blood to form a healthy clot, which is essential before undergoing surgery.
- Make sure your anticoagulant or “blood thinning” medicine is at the correct level.
- Check for some bleeding disorders that are genetic, like hemophilia
- Make sure your blood can form a clot
- Check for other problems such as liver disease or vitamin deficiencies
You may also be required to give a sample of urine. A urinalysis can detect metabolic and kidney disorders as well as urinary tract infections.
A urinalysis measures:
- The acidity of your urine (pH)
- The concentration of your urine
- Presence of red or white blood cells
- Bacteria or yeast
- Crystals or casts
- Sugar, protein, bilirubin
Preoperative medical evaluations are excellent opportunities for patients to gather more information about their health status and to improve it. A medical exam may also provide an early warning sign of something serious.
The term “clearance” is a subject of debate in the medical community. Some doctors argue that it implies that the patient is cleared and free of risks. While no patient is free of risk, your surgical clearance examination will determine the level of risk that your surgery will subject you to. And it will allow your doctor to identify opportunities to avoid other risks. The decision about whether to proceed with the surgery should be carefully considered, and a surgical clearance exam can help you and your doctor make a well-informed decision. (3)
How Much Does a Surgical Clearance Examination Cost in South Florida?
The cost of your surgical clearance examination will depend on what tests your surgeon has ordered. This will depend on your unique medical condition, your age, and what risks the surgeon believes may impact your surgery and recovery. To get a better idea of what your surgical clearance examination will cost, call (561)990-3918, or fill out the convenient online form, and one of our helpful staff members will be able to answer your questions.
Surgical clearance determines that a patient can safely undergo surgery.
To determine what risks the patient might face, doctors perform a physical examination and may order tests like an EKG, blood tests, X-rays, or a urinalysis.
The tests you receive will depend on your age, your health, and the kind of surgery that you’ll be having. A blood test and urinalysis can tell doctors how well your organs like liver and kidneys are working, and an EKG can reveal the health of your heart.
If your surgical clearance examination indicates that you aren’t eligible for surgery, you’ll need to discuss other options with the doctor that ordered your clearance exam. There may be other options or alternatives to surgery that would pose fewer risks and still deliver successful results.
- Pike A, Mahoney K, Patey AM, et al. Protocol for assessing the determinants of preoperative test-ordering behaviour for low-risk surgical procedures using a theoretically driven, qualitative design. BMJ Open. 2020;10(5). doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2019-036511
- Kaur TS, Chatterjee BP. “Too much information with little meaning,” relevance of preoperative laboratory testing in elective oral and maxillofacial surgeries: A systematic integrative review. National Journal of Maxillofacial Surgery. 2020;11(1):3-9. doi:10.4103/njms.NJMS_60_19
- Davidson, MJ, CPHRM D, Feldman MD, MBA, FACS DL. Why Medical Clearance Is Really a Preoperative Evaluation. www.thedoctors.com. Published 2021. Accessed March 29, 2021. https://www.thedoctors.com/articles/why-medical-clearance-is-really-a-preoperative-evaluation/