Top Tips for Preparing for Plastic Surgery

Published: April 23, 2020
Category: Breast Augmentation, Plastic Surgery, Tummy Tuck

Deciding on the plastic surgery that will best meet your aesthetic goals, and finding the perfect plastic surgeon to help you achieve them, aren’t the only factors that go into planning for surgical success. YOU play a pivotal role. How well a patient prepares themselves weeks, if not months before their surgery, can significantly influence his or her results.

“I want all of my patients to wake up the day of their surgery feeling confident knowing that they have done everything within their power to prepare,” says Dr. Nathan Leigh, a board-certified plastic surgeon with Edina Plastic Surgery. “This planning goes beyond just the body,” he continues, “it extends into preparing their mind, their home, their family, and changes to their routine and lifestyle during recovery. Taking the time to prepare all facets of your life for your surgery appropriately can ensure a less stressful surgical day, a smoother recovery, and even enhanced results!”

Here are some top tips from plastic surgeons to help you prepare for your upcoming plastic surgery.

Embrace healthier habits.

The healthier you are overall, the better prepared your body will be for ANY surgery – not just plastic surgery. Developing better sleep, exercise, and dietary habits during the months and weeks before your procedure can enhance your surgical results. Maintaining those habits during and after your recovery can help you heal faster and protect your surgical investment in the long run.

“For some plastic surgeries, such as breast augmentation, your surgeon will want you as close to your ideal weight as possible before surgery,” advises Dr. Leigh. “This is because we want to achieve results that look natural and balanced with the size and frame of the patient’s body. With procedures such as abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), a patient can be within 25 pounds of their ideal weight and still have wonderful results. The most important thing is that your body is as healthy as it can be on your surgery day.”

Rethink that drink.

Many surgeons will advise you to abstain from alcohol for at least three weeks before your surgery. Alcohol is a natural blood thinner and can influence how your body heals. It can also affect how hydrated your body is and your response to different medications.

Stop smoking.

“A smoking habit and surgery simply do not mix,” says Dr. Leigh. “Smoking compromises your body’s healing process by inhibiting or restricting blood flow,” he explains. “When we perform surgery, tissue is cut and moved to improve the appearance of your face or body. Blood vessels are also cut during this process. Because smokers have restricted blood flow, that tissue may not get the necessary blood to heal appropriately. This inadequacy can sometimes lead to the destruction of the healing tissue and even necrosis. I encourage patients to take the opportunity to quit smoking altogether as they prepare for surgery.”

Get your house in order.

First, identify an area of your home as your “recovery area.” For many patients, this is either a bedroom or couch in a family room with easy access to a bathroom, the kitchen, and television. Prepare this area in the weeks before your surgery and stock up on books, magazines, movie watch lists, and other recovery friendly projects that don’t put a strain on your body. If your surgeon has recommended any specific recovery pillows, ice packs, or other devices, order these early so that they are ready to be used upon your arrival home.

Secondly, clean and restock your kitchen with healthy foods and easy to prepare or pre-prepared meals. This step will be especially important if you don’t have family members that will be able to assist you. Keep in mind that your surgeon may advise you to avoid certain foods and beverages after surgery.

Next, take care of all errands and essential tasks on your to-do list. Will you need to pick up prescriptions before your surgery? How about lining up someone to help mow the lawn or shovel snow if these tasks lie outside of your recovery physical limitations. Many household chores will need to be temporarily delegated to other people or completed before your surgery due to movement restrictions you may have. Clear as many errands and cleaning projects off your list as possible so that you can recover in a clean and comfortable environment.

Discuss all of your supplements and medications with your surgeon and set up your annual physical.

“Many of the supplements and medications that you may take daily could influence how your body heals after surgery,” says Dr. Leigh. “Common supplements like fish oil and vitamin E can be problematic because they are natural blood thinners. Compile a list of all medications and supplements you take and discuss it with your surgeon to rule out any contraindications.”

Most surgeons will also require that you have a physical before surgery. Your primary care physician can conduct this test, and results will need to be shared with your surgeon. Your exam is an important safety step to ensure that your body is healthy enough for surgery.

Prepare your family for your surgery.

Your recovery will disrupt your and your family’s lifestyles and daily routines temporarily. This starts with who will take you to surgery and drive you home after you are released to who will take over heavy lifting chores and cooking duties in the home. A conversation will need to be had with small children about hugging you too tightly and explaining your surgery and recovery. Consider having a series of family meetings before your procedure so that everyone feels prepared for the changes that will be needed to ensure your healthy recovery.

If you currently live alone, prepare a network of friends and family to stay in contact with as you recover. The first few days of recovery may require that you have some assistance at home. Prepare in advance for this so that it does not become a stressful task after surgery.

Mind your mindset.

“Plastic surgery can be life-changing, and so much excitement leads up to your surgery day,” says Dr. Leigh. “However, it’s important to get in the right headspace before surgery to stay relaxed and calm. Be patient with yourself during recovery, and appreciate that it will take time for your full results to set in. Talk to your surgeon if you have any questions, concerns, or anxieties leading up to your surgery or after. We are your partners in this and are here to listen and make sure you feel confident during your entire journey with us!”

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