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Nutrition and Substance Use Guidelines

One of the most important things that you can do to prepare your body for surgery is to optimize your diet.  Health and strength of bones and muscle, as well as wound healing, are dependent on a balanced diet and steady stream of nutrients before and after surgery.


  • Your body burns a lot of energy during and after surgery

  • Increasing your calories from complete, nutrient-packed foods before and after surgery is therefore very important


  • After your body utilizes carbohydrate and protein stores, it begins breaking down muscle for energy

  • Muscle breakdown leads to decreased strength and can delay recovery

  • Prevent this muscle breakdown by eating the following protein-rich foods  

    • Seafood

    • White meat poultry

    • Lean Beef

    • Milk, cheese, yogurt

    • Eggs

    • Soy

    • Peanuts, almonds

    • Oats

    • Lentils

    • Soy


It is recommended that you take a daily multivitamin.  Multivitamins are pills that provide vitamins and minerals essential to a well-functioning body, that may not be obtained consistently from the food you eat.  From an orthopedic surgery standpoint, we are particularly concerned with a few of these vitamins and minerals.

  • Vitamin C

    • Necessary for the creation of collagen (main protein in bone) 

    • Deficiency leads to impaired wound healing 

    • Our recommendation: Take 500mg of Vitamin C daily the day prior to surgery and for at least one-week thereafter 

    • While your multivitamin may contain our daily recommended amount of Vitamin C, you can also obtain Vitamin C from the following foods

      • Citrus fruits

      • Strawberries

      • Tomatoes

      • Spinach

      • Cauliflower

      • Cabbage 

      • Brussel sprouts

      • Broccoli 

  • Calcium

    • Required to build and maintain strong bones

    • Important in muscle control and blood circulation 

    • If our diets are deficient, our bodies remove calcium from excess stores in bone, leading to weaker bones

    • It is recommended that all patients who undergo fracture surgery maintain a daily Calcium intake of 1200 mg per day (Combined from food and vitamin sources) until their fracture is healed 

    • Calcium-rich foods that can help you reach our daily recommended goal include

      • Dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese)

      • Leafy greens (kale, broccoli, spinach, collard greens, etc…)

      • Almonds 

      • Tofu

      • Calcium-fortified cereals and juices (most commonly orange juice)

  • Vitamin D

    • Essential for calcium absorption 

    • Body produces with sunlight exposure 

      • Use of sunblock however will block your body’s ability to generate Vit D.

    • It is recommended that all patients who undergo fracture surgery maintain a daily Vitamin D intake of 800 IU (International Units) daily

    • Dairy products (especially milk) are an excellent dietary source of Vitamin D that can help you reach your daily goal

Smoking and Vaping


  • Nicotine has harmful effects on the production of bone-forming cells

  • Consequences 

    • Bone may not heal

    • Poor wound healing

    • Increased infection risk

    • Poorer surgical outcomes 

  • You should make every effort to stop smoking and vaping to prevent these consequences


  • It is recommended that you stop smoking marijuana prior to your surgery and until fully recovered

Illicit Drug Use

  • Illicit drug use is never recommended and should be stopped immediately for anyone undergoing surgery


  • Causes blood vessels to constrict and can raise heart rate and blood pressure 

  • You should avoid caffeine 48 hours before and 24 hours after your surgery


*REMEMBER - These are only recommendations as you prepare for your surgery.  Any individual with chronic kidney disease, blood clotting disorder, or any other chronic disease should first consult with their Primary Care Doctor or respective specialist prior to making any dietary changes.  If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call the office (212-737-3301) or send a message through the Patient Portal.

Contact Us

Please always feel free to contact us directly with questions or concerns.  The above information is only a guideline. Please refer to your specific instructions provided by Dr. Lee's team. If this is a medical emergency, please dial 911.

Medical Questions:

212-737-3301 or 

Patient Portal 24/7 Secure Messaging


Surgical Coordinator:

Esther Sanchez

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