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Overview of the principles of medical consultation and perioperative medicine

Steven L Cohn, MD, FACP, SFHM
Section Editor
Andrew D Auerbach, MD, MPH
Deputy Editor
Daniel J Sullivan, MD, MPH


Internists are often asked to evaluate a patient prior to surgery. The medical consultant may be seeing the patient at the request of the surgeon, or may be the primary care clinician assessing the patient prior to consideration of a surgical referral. The goals of this evaluation are to determine the risk to the patient of the proposed procedure and to minimize known risks. These goals are achieved by the following:

Identifying unrecognized comorbid disease and risk factors for medical complications of surgery

Optimizing the preoperative medical condition

Recognizing and treating potential complications

Working effectively as a member of the preoperative team (including surgical and anesthesia colleagues)

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Literature review current through: Oct 2017. | This topic last updated: Sep 07, 2016.
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