Preparing for plastic surgery can be exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. You feel excited for the outcome, but nervous about what to expect (especially if you are a first-time patient). The best thing you can do to ease your nerves is prepare ahead of time.
To ensure a favorable outcome, Drs. Samuel Pearl and Alexander Ereso suggest the top five ways to prepare for your plastic surgery, so you go into the experience feeling calm and confident.
1. Stop Smoking
It is critical to stop smoking at least three weeks prior to and following surgery. Smoking is dangerous; it not only floods your body with toxic chemicals but also constricts the blood vessels and prevents them from delivering blood to the healing tissues. If you smoke, you put yourself at risk of post-operative complications, namely poor wound healing. In the same vein, stop drinking three weeks before surgery, too. Alcohol raises the risk of bleeding and other complications.
2. Get the Right Nutrition and Sleep
Strive for the healthiest lifestyle possible in the weeks leading up to surgery. Eating and sleeping well are important to boost your immune system, heart and brain health. The right diet can also help with your healing process.
Load up on lean protein, vegetables and fruit, while avoiding foods that are overly processed and high in fat, sugar and sodium (sodium can increase post-operative swelling and discomfort). Get as much restful sleep as you can. Hydration is also important before and after surgery. Drinking a lot of water is great for healthy circulation and flushing out toxins from the body.
3. Plan for Recovery
Your plastic surgery procedure will likely be performed on an outpatient basis, meaning you will be released from the surgical center the same day as the operation. Initially, you will feel groggy and your range of motion will be limited. Make all arrangements ahead of time so you can return home and immediately go back to sleep or resting comfortably.
Stock your fridge with healthy, easy-to-digest foods, and fill any prescriptions. Cover your car, bed or couch with plastic sheeting if you are worried about fluid drainage. Place ice packs, medications, water, gauze, portable electronic devices and any other needed items in an easy-to-reach location near your bed or couch. Make sure you have loose, comfortable clothing nearby. As you set up your recovery area, keep in mind that you may need to sleep in an upright position (if you undergo facial surgery); extra cushions are helpful.
4. Stop All Medications That May Thin Your Blood and Cause Bleeding
Reducing complications after surgery is of the utmost importance. Bleeding in the first 24 hours after surgery is probably the most common of all serious complications seen in the immediate post-operative period.
For two weeks PRIOR to surgery, please stop taking all anti-inflammatory medications. This includes aspirin (including baby aspirin) and all aspirin-containing compounds, ibuprofen (Advil, Nuprin, Motrin and others), Naprosyn (Aleve) and all NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications). It is also important to stop taking Vitamin E supplements (400 or greater units per day). Most multivitamins have 30-90 units, which is fine. Omega 3 and fish oil supplements should also be stopped two weeks prior to surgery. There are many other supplements that increase the likelihood of bleeding. If you are unsure whether you should continue to take these medications, either stop or call the office for more information.
5. Wash with Chlorhexidine (Hibiclens) Prior To Your Procedure
We have been having our patients wash with Hibiclens three times prior to surgery for more than 20 years. This is the same antibacterial scrub that we use in the operating room. Washing the operative area with Chlorhexidine, which is the generic form of Hibiclens, decreases the bacteria count of the skin. This has been shown to significantly decrease the incidence of post-operative wound infections. Chlorhexidine scrub is an over-the-counter medication not requiring a prescription, and can be found in most pharmacies.
If you would like more information about plastic surgery recovery, or if you would like to schedule a personal consultation with Dr. Pearl or Dr. Ereso, please contact our practice by calling (650) 964-6600 today.