It is highly advised to warm up before engaging in any physical activity. There are several reasons why a person should warm up. Warming up elevates the body temperature and therefore reduces the potential for injuries to skeletal muscles and connective tissues. Other reasons includes increased blood flow to the heart and to the exercising muscles, better nerve impulse transmission, and prepares the skeletal muscles and the cardiovascular system for the upcoming exercise.

Stage actors and musical performers vocalize, tune their instruments, practice their lines and also prepare themselves mentally before facing their audience. Surgeons too, stand to benefit from a warm-up before surgery and studies have shown the benefits of doing so.

The POWER is in your hands

Studies have shown that mentally preparing yourself for a procedure could significantly improve a surgeon’s performance. Mucksavage et. al made a retrospective review of laparoscopic partial and radical nephrectomies in a study entitled, "Preoperative warming up exercises improve laparoscopic operative times in an experienced laparoscopic surgeon.” The aim of the study was to elucidate the effect of preoperative warm-up exercise routine (POWER) on surgical performance. POWER consisted of pelvic trainer suturing exercises namely forehand and backhand sutures and knot tying. This routine takes approximately 15-20 minutes and is done 1 hour before surgery.

The study mentioned focused on the phrases, “Practice makes perfect” and "Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” Doing POWER before a complex laparoscopic surgery may improve operative times as well as the overall operating performance. The conclusion was that, "Surgical trainees who engage in a 20-minute POWER before laparoscopic renal surgery demonstrate improved intra-operative cognitive, psychomotor, and technical performance. Performance during the POWER may also predict surgeon performance during live surgery.”

Another study made use of a virtual reality module where the warm up consisted of using a laparoscopic simulator. Calatayud et. al made the study entitled, "Warm-up in a Virtual Reality Environment Improves Performance in the Operating Room”, where the participating surgeons served as their own controls versus warming up with the simulator. The study showed significant beneficial impact on the performance of the surgery with pre-operative laparoscopic simulator warm-ups. It concluded that, "This will potentially improve the procedural outcome and contribute to improved patient safety and better utilization of OR resources”.

Let’s get physical

Studies have shown that warming up benefits laparoscopic surgeons with regards to their performance. In the operating room, surgeons would stand in place as they perform their surgery on their patient. They might not be running about as one would around a track but their muscles are engaged to maintain that position for hours upon hours. This calls for a good simple physical stretching for the surgeon as well. Full body warming up benefits those standing for long periods as well. Overall, to be well rested is the most important but being physically fit would be of good advantage as well. MIMS

-Mucksavage, "Preoperative Warming Up Exercises Improves Laparoscopic Operative Times in an Experienced Laparoscopic Surgeon”, J Endourol. 2012 Jul;26(7):765-8. doi: 10.1089/end.2011.0134. Epub 2012 Feb 24
-Calatayud et. al, "Warm-up in a Virtual Reality Environment Improves Performance in the Operating Room”, Ann Surg 2010;251: 1181–1185)

Read more:
Brain surgery: Helping simplify a complex process
Diving into the world of plastic surgery
Vibrating tool add-on allows laparoscopic surgeons to ‘feel’ what they can’t touch