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Surgery Increases Protein Demands in the Body

Here’s a little something I learned about the extra nutritional demands for protein on the body post-surgery following my own four shoulder surgeries. My co-author, Dr. Foetisch shares this simple equation for optimal post-surgical healing. And, it’s good to remember that the best outcome begins with good prior planning and preparation.

Getting extra protein is especially important after surgery because the body needs it to make immune cells and antibodies, to reduce inflammation and to mend the wound at the site of incision. Without enough protein from food, the body must make its own by breaking down muscle and organ tissue, and sapping immunity. As a result, poor nutrition can delay recovery.

Recommended daily protein requirements for average individuals follow:

A healthy person should consume .08-gram protein/ kg of body weight.

A quick equation to remember is 1-gram protein for every 3 pounds of body weight.

40 grams for a 120-pound person
50 grams for a 150-pound person
60 grams for 180-pound person

Protein Needs after Surgery Increases

The highest protein demand for healing purposes is in the first few weeks post-op. Approximately 60–80g/ protein per day is recommended for nutritional adequacy and for wound healing after surgery, depending on the extent of your surgery.

Protein Requirements for Post Surgical Patients

1.5-2.0 grams protein/ kg of body weight.

A quick equation to remember is 1-gram for every 2 pounds body weight.

60 grams for a 120-pound person
75 grams for a 150-pound person
90 grams for a 180-pound person

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