Preparing For Your First Plastic Surgery
Preparing for a surgery – no matter what kind of surgery it is – can be overwhelming and even scary sometimes. Even if you are completely on board with the procedure and you know the results will improve your quality of life, it is completely normal to feel a bit anxious as you look forward to your surgery date. If you’ve scheduled your first plastic surgery procedure, you’re likely wondering exactly what to expect.
While plastic surgeons and plastic surgery procedures vary, here are a few helpful tips for preparing for your first plastic surgery experience.
Set Your Expectations Realistically
Having realistic expectations – both for the day of surgery and for the ultimate outcome of the procedure – is key to having a successful plastic surgery experience.
- On the Day of the Procedure
- Talk to your doctor and research the procedure you’ve chosen to make sure you thoroughly understand what to expect on the day of. You don’t want to set yourself up to be surprised by anything, as your procedure should be a comfortable and calm experience.
- Following Your Plastic Surgery
- Amazing results don’t always happen overnight. Depending on your procedure, you may have a recovery period to get through before you can truly enjoy the results of your surgery. You want to be realistic about the transformation that your body is going through and well informed about the expected outcome.
- Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that plastic surgery isn’t the end of your journey to achieving your ideal physique. Review these helpful tips for making the most of your plastic surgery results and keep them in mind in the time period following your procedure.
Learn About The Procedure
To ensure that you are as prepared as possible for the procedure and its outcome, be sure to do some research ahead of time. Your doctor is the best resource for information about your specific procedure so feel free to ask a lot of questions and get clarification about anything that you might not fully understand.
Continue To Live Your Healthy Lifestyle
Elective surgeries are best done when you are at your healthiest. Before undergoing any plastic surgery or cosmetic procedure, you should be in good physical shape. Do your best to maintain your healthy lifestyle in the time leading up to the procedure. Stay hydrated, exercise, and be sure to continue eating a healthy diet. Doing so will help to keep your body in good shape for the surgery, and will help to make sure you are well prepared to recover from the procedure as quickly as possible.
Follow Your Doctor’s Instructions
Before your plastic surgery procedure, your doctor may provide you with specific instructions regarding what to eat, medications to discontinue, what to bring to the procedure, etc. Be sure to follow these instructions carefully and thoroughly. Your doctor has your best interest in mind and knows exactly what your procedure will entail. Listen to his instructions are you will be well prepared for your procedure and the recovery that follows.
For starters, consider these suggestions:
- Reduce unnecessary stress by avoiding situations with family or friends that will keep you up late or entice you to indulge in alcohol or cigarettes.
- If you are a smoker, do not smoke for one week prior to surgery and the week following. (Two weeks before and after is more ideal.) To make this easier, start to reduce gradually to make the transition easier.
- Alcohol should be avoided for at least three days before surgery because it is a blood thinner. Abstaining for one week or more is optimal as alcohol in general is hard on your immune system.
- Avoid all supplements and medications with blood-thinning effects for one week prior to surgery. Your surgeon will provide specifics, but some of these medications and supplements include vitamin E, fish oil and NSAIDs such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Be sure to give your surgeon a detailed list of all supplements and medications that you take.
- If you have a headache before or after surgery, Tylenol may be used.
- Bromelain and arnica are beneficial supplements before and after surgery to reduce swelling and pain.
- Sleep is a vital for fortifying your immune system and improving your body’s response to the physical and mental stressors associated with surgery. Try to get seven to nine hours of sleep a night for at least the two weeks leading up to your procedure.
Do not Smoke 2 Weeks Prior/After Your Surgery
Smoke inhibits wound healing because less oxygen is supplied to the body’s cells. In addition, smoking increases the risk of complications during surgery. You should be aware that some facial plastic surgeons and plastic surgeons will not perform a facelift on patients who smoke as their wound healing and recovery is inhibited by smoking.
Participate in Relaxation Techniques
Listening to relaxation tapes or soothing music, taking a yoga or meditation class are examples of relaxation techniques that help to reduce stress.
Build a Support Structure
Rely on your family and friends to help you during the stressful time of a surgery. From assisting with household chores to providing emotional support, having them around is a plus.
Get Enough Essential Nutrients
You should supplement your diet before and after surgery with high levels of vitamin A, vitamin C, zinc, copper and selenium. Each plays a role in wound healing and in building the immune system thereby reducing the chance of infection. Obtaining sufficient nutrients is especially important for recovery after more comprehensive procedures like a tummy tuck, facelift or liposuction.
Diet Eaten Prior to Surgery Impacts Healing
Normal protein requirements are about 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. For example, a 140 pound woman needs about 50 grams of protein a day (140 divided by 2.2 = 63.6 kilograms multiplied by 0.8). However, after surgery, this amount should be increased by 1 ½ times to about 95 grams of protein a day. If you can’t eat this amount of protein, consider adding a high-quality protein powder in yogurt, smoothies or shakes. One scoop provides 20 grams of protein and just 80 calories. Another great option is to snack on plain, non-fat Greek Yogurt
Here’s how to prepare for a smooth recovery
After you’ve decided to have plastic surgery and you’ve chosen a great plastic surgeon, you’re probably going to get a great result, right? Actually, there is someone else just as essential to a great outcome – you!
The best plastic surgeons take every measure to minimize your risks, but they can’t be there with you as you recover, so that’s when you’re the one in control. If you bend the rules, you could end up with an emergency bleed or other complication requiring emergency surgery or forever impacting your result.
Your role in a smooth recovery
So what can you do to enhance your chances of a smooth recovery?
- Follow your surgeon’s instructions. If you find yourself asking for an exception to the rule, such as exercising earlier than recommended or taking a medication on a “don’t take” list, think about what you are asking. Do you want your surgeon to cut corners? If the answer is no, then expect the same from yourself.
- Prepare your home ahead of time. Arrange a hospital bed, a recline, a caretaker or pre-cooked meals in advance so you aren’t scrambling the day before surgery.
- For outpatient surgery, line up someone who can pick you up on time. Ambulatory surgery centers don’t have the staffing to accommodate latecomers, and you may be charged.
- If your plastic surgeon asks you to have a caretaker, make arrangements in advance.
- If you are responsible for others, such as children or parents, arrange for someone else to care for them so you can take care of yourself.
- Be patient. Healing takes time. Swelling doesn’t go down right away, scars are pink while they heal, and your final results may not be evident for weeks, even months.
- If you have questions, call. Sometimes a simple question can touch on a very important issue.