Medical clearance for surgery typically means that a patient has undergone a medical evaluation by their primary care doctor or their cardiologist. And based on that evaluation, his or her doctor has determined that it would be safe for that patient to have surgery. A lot of the time, the doctors performing these evaluations may not be as familiar as anesthesiologists are with the specific risks of anesthesia. So for that reason, it is actually the anesthesiologist, often on the day of surgery, that makes the ultimate determination as to whether or not the patient can have surgery safely. To make this determination, we review the medical record, the past medical history, the past surgical history, medications, lab results, and the evaluations of other doctors to see if the patient's underlying medical conditions are what we call optimized. Optimized means that a patient's underlying medical problems are fully diagnosed and are well-treated so that the patient is in the best condition that he or she could possibly be before surgery.
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