If you’re planning to have plastic surgery, you are likely nervous, excited, or both, and that’s perfectly normal. The best thing you can do to assuage any apprehension you may be having is to know what to expect and be fully prepared. Just like with any other surgery, it’s best if you prepare mentally and physically for a cosmetic procedure. Read over this checklist before your plastic surgery to be sure that you are ready.
- Stop smoking and drinking alcohol
If you smoke or drink, it’s imperative that you stop as soon as possible (even sooner than a few weeks out, if possible). This item is number one on your pre-plastic surgery checklist for good reason.
- Smoking interferes with the healing process. When you smoke cigarettes, blood flow to all areas of your body becomes constricted, and your body’s natural healing abilities are impeded.
- Alcohol consumption makes you more likely to bleed excessively. Alcohol thins the blood, making it harder to form blood clots normally and making you more susceptible to complications. Drinking before surgery also makes it harder for the anesthesiologist to estimate the correct dosages for your safety and comfort.
You should also cut back on foods that contain salicylates, such as coffee, almonds, apples, and tomatoes, as they can affect your blood and lead to excessive bruising.
- Arrange to take at least a week off to relax and recover
You’ll need to make some practical arrangements for your recovery period, and it’s best to start early.
- Schedule at least a week off work. You may need longer – ask your surgeon how long you’ll need to plan for taking it easy. It will be very important for you to get plenty of rest for the first week (or two or more, depending on your procedures).
- Line up a caregiver. You’ll need someone to drive you home from your surgery, stay with you the entire first day and night, and drive you to your follow-up the next day. Make sure the person can devote this first 24 hours solely to you – no working or taking care of kids at the same time.
- Arrange for childcare. If you have young children, you’ll need help taking care of them for the first week or two. Remember that it may be several weeks before you can lift your children. Make sure there will be someone else around who can handle the physical tasks of parenting.
- Suspend your gym membership for a month. If you can stop your gym membership temporarily, do it – you won’t be needing it. Strenuous workouts are out for at least four weeks. If your doctor gives you the go-ahead, you’ll be able to take up walking within a week or two.
Spend the first week relaxing – watch TV, read a book or two, nap all you want, as long as you are resting and letting someone else handle the cooking, cleaning, parenting, and other stressful or difficult tasks.
- Eat a healthy diet
Patients planning mommy makeovers or other procedures typically learn all about plastic surgery – what to expect, what medications to take or avoid, how to take care of the surgical sites, and more. One thing that’s often overlooked, however, is the importance of a good diet before and after your surgery. Your diet will have a direct effect on your recovery and scarring. You can use your diet to maximize collagen synthesis, minimize inflammation, and boost your immune system function. Starting as soon as possible, but at least a few weeks pre-surgery, avoid processed foods and refined carbs, and eat lots of fresh, whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.
- Ask your doctor about your medications
Check with your surgeon to see which medications you should take now. For example, your provider may want you to stop taking anti-inflammatory drugs, ibuprofen, vitamin E supplements, and blood thinners. They may want you to start taking a daily multivitamin or a supplement such as bromelain to relieve swelling or arnica ointment to prevent and treat bruising.
As you go through your checklist before plastic surgery, you’ll also want to be sure to pick up and organize your prescriptions. Your surgeon will likely prescribe a few different medications, such as painkillers and antibiotics. If possible, get these prescriptions filled beforehand and set them out somewhere convenient (beside your bed, for example) so that you won’t have to worry about stopping by the pharmacy on your way home.
- Prepare your recovery area
Having a comfortable area to rest in after your surgery will make all the difference. Wash your sheets so that you’ll have a fresh, clean bed to relax in; prep a few healthy meals ahead of time and have them ready for when you get home. Depending on the procedure you’re having, you may need to sleep propped up for a week or two, or only on your stomach. Whatever arrangements you need to make, make them now so that when you get home, you’ll be able to get right into bed and rest.
- Look after your mental health
Preparing for plastic surgery can be stressful. You may be feeling a lot of different emotions, including anxiety, fear, and excitement. All of these feelings are normal. In the days and weeks leading up to your surgery date, take some time each day to relax and get in touch with yourself and your feelings. You might spend this time meditating, walking, reading, or whatever makes you feel calm and focused. Visualize the way you’re going to look after surgery and get excited about the change – it’s a big deal.
You may want to add other specific items to your own pre-plastic surgery checklist. Book a consultation with Dr. John Burns to ask questions all about plastic surgery and find out more about which procedures are right for you and how you can schedule them. We look forward to meeting you and helping you achieve the look you’ve always wanted.