Before Plastic Surgery
Cosmetic/plastic surgery encompasses dozens of different procedures and techniques, depending on whether you’re seeking a chin lift, breast augmentation, or a Mommy Makeover. Knowing what to expect prepares you for what to do just before your surgery as well as give you an idea of what happens after, in regard to recuperation and maintenance of your new body or implant.
Following is a brief summary of what to expect before and after – but always follow pre- and post-surgical instructions offered by your plastic surgeon – to the letter – for optimal results.
Prior to any cosmetic surgical procedure, blood tests and a complete patient history are required. Blood tests verify that no signs of infection are present prior to surgery. Blood tests also identify any anomalies or abnormalities in blood chemistry levels that may interfere with the safety or efficacy of a surgical procedure.
It’s very important to utilize full disclosure regarding your current prescribed and over-the-counter medications to your doctor. Tell your doctor if you use street drugs, no matter how minor. Discuss with your doctor:
- Any previous experiences under anesthesia
- Risks of smoking, alcohol or drugs/medication usage
- Allergic reactions
- Your medical history
- Vitamins, supplements, over-the-counter medications, ointments or creams you may be using
Prior to any use of anesthesia, your doctor may recommend no liquids or food for a certain amount of time before your procedure. In regard to general anesthesia, patients are typically advised not to eat or drink anything 8 to 12 hours prior to the surgery.
After Plastic Surgery
As with any type of surgical procedure, possible complications may occur, including but not limited to:
- Excessive bleeding
- Thickened scar or keloid scar formation at the surgical incision site
General measures for postoperative care apply for most types of cosmetic or plastic surgery, but always talk to your doctor and surgeon regarding care of not only the incision site, but also overall health and wellness issues.
In most cases, following surgery you will be able to shower as usual after 48 hours, although you will be advised to gently wash the incision site with an unscented and mild soap. Your doctor may give you a special soap to use.
Your doctor may suggest use of an ice pack to relieve pain around the incision site and to reduce swelling. Avoid use of ice packs for more than 10 minutes at a time. Always protect the skin by placing a towel between the skin and the ice pack.
Your doctor will advise you regarding pain medications or antibiotics. In most cases, doctors may prescribe a narcotic pain reliever, but advise against its use for more than 4 to 7 days following surgery. Follow instructions regarding its use. Antibiotics are given to prevent or fight an infection. Use all of the antibiotic prescribed, even if no signs of infection present before your medication regimen has completed.
Over-the-counter nonprescription pain relieving medications such as acetaminophen can be taken for minor pain. Use of aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen should be avoided in the initial healing period. Some people are especially sensitive to aspirin, and it may also cause thinning of the blood in some.
Resuming Normal Activity
Your doctor will suggest that you resume your work and daily activities as soon as you’re able. However, you will be cautioned to avoid strenuous or vigorous exercise or movements for a determined length of time following the surgical procedure, depending on type of surgery.
In most cases, you won’t have to follow a special diet after surgery, though your doctor may recommend bland, soft foods post-surgery to reduce constipation. You may be required to follow a special diet for the days leading up to the surgical procedure. Your doctor will give you guidelines on what to avoid prior to surgery, If you're taking an antibiotic or prescription pain reliever, talk to your doctor about contraindications or foods to avoid while taking such medications.
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