Preparing for Surgery
Although aesthetic surgery is performed on an elective basis, it is none the less surgery. Accordingly, one must approach aesthetic surgery with the same seriousness of intent as any surgery.
While it is natural to experience anxiety prior to any procedure, one should be assured that you will be in the care of a team of well trained, caring, and dedicated professionals including nurses and anesthesiologists who will insure your surgery proceeds as smoothly and safely as possible.
The following recommendations are intended to prepare you for aesthetic surgery.
A Word on Nutrition
Several days before surgery, I recommend stocking your refrigerator with non-carbonated clear liquids, such as Gatorade, and bland foods — such as bananas and Jellos. The evening before surgery, I recommend staying well hydrated and eating a high-calorie diet. The addition of a multi-vitamin for several days before surgery may be beneficial.
Keep in mind that undergoing surgery, and the subsequent recovery, places additional caloric demands on the body — or a catabolic state. Preparing for surgery is similar to a marathon runner preparing for a race and a meal rich in complex carbohydrates the day before will help meet the added metabolic demands.
Immediately following surgery, you may experience nausea and bland foods will be better tolerated. Of course, if you do not experience any post-operative nausea (PONV), you may eat whatever foods agree with you.
The evening prior to surgery, I recommend bathing with a non-scented soap or Hibiclens soap – the latter may be purchased at most pharmacies. There is good evidence that this simple measure can dramatically reduce infections.
I do not recommend shaving any body part prior to surgery. It is best to remove nail polishes or artificial nails.
If one wears contact lenses, it is best to replace these with corrective glasses on the day of surgery. You will be asked to remove contact lenses prior to surgery.
Do not apply any form of make up on the morning of surgery.
Clothing and Personal Effects
It is best to present to surgery wearing loose comfortable clothing with a zippered top and draw-string bottom pants. Keep in mind that you will be changing into the same clothes you arrived to the surgery with and clothes that are easy to change in will be a convenience following surgery.
Although the hospital is a very safe place, I would strongly recommend leaving any jewelry or expensive timepieces at home. You will need to present your ID and in many cases your health insurance card at the time of registration — so please bring these with you.
Preparations at Home
It is best to use a ground floor room for 1-2 days following surgery. Although stair climbing is permitted, it may be more comfortable to avoid this activity for a few days following surgery.
The bed should be equipped with extra pillows in case you are asked to maintain a head elevation position (generally for face-lifting patients) and soft warm blankets. For patients undergoing tummy-tuck procedures, a soft pillow behind the knees when lying in bed may improve comfort. For patients undergoing liposuction procedures, I do recommend keeping a box of female sanitary napkins at home as they are highly absorbent and equally effective as bandages.
It is mandatory that a responsible adult be present to assist and monitor your recovery for 1-2 days.
I insist that all my patients undergoing elective surgery be able to walk for at least 15-minutes three times daily starting the day after surgery. Identifying a safe route to walk in advance of surgery is helpful. Walks are to be made in the company of a responsible adult. In some cases, a walking cane may be handy.
If there are small children at home, it is best to plan for help. If a small child insists on being held, it is best to take a comfortable seat and have the child placed in your lap. I do not recommend trying to pick up a child by oneself for several days following the surgery.
I hope the above recommendations help in making your upcoming surgery as pleasant and comfortable as possible. Your suggestions are always welcome.
P. Pravin Reddy, MD