What to do before plastic surgery; 2 weeks – 3 days pre-op

Every cosmetic surgery procedure has specific requirements that must be followed for the best possible cosmetic result—or at least to prevent the worst result. These rules can be applied to all surgeries. Sometimes, despite the patient following all the requirements, complications still occur, but these are rare and can only be thought of as “bad luck”—luck does come into play with any surgery and recovery from it, as much as we would like to think otherwise.

Timeline for cosmetic surgery preparation

2 weeks before procedure
  • Stop taking all non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as Aspirin, Motrin, Ibuprofen, Advil, and so on. These medications all “thin” your blood and prevent blood clotting, which will cause bleeding  during and after your surgery.
  • If you’re a smoker, stop smoking for two weeks before and two weeks after cosmetic plastic surgery. Your plastic surgeon will be very cross with you if you smoke during this period, as the chances of good wound healing will be reduced by at least 50%.  Some plastic surgeons do not operate on patients who are smokers, period.
  • Prepare your support system. Someone will need to take you to surgery, bring you back home and maybe even spend the first night with you. Ask a few friends to take turns the first week or so with helping you out both at home and with visits to your plastic surgeon.
  • Prepare some books you want to read or movies you want to watch for the inevitable boredom of some parts of your recovery.

3 days before surgery

  • I used to tell patients that they could start taking Arnica montana, an herbal medication that some say reduces swelling and bruising, especially after facial surgery. In my opinion, it didn’t help much after body surgery and recent evidence shows there is no proof it actually does works…
  • If you need to color your hair, now is the time to do it. You will not be able to do so for a month or so after facial surgery procedures like facelifts, as your head will be numb and the heat required may cause a burn.
  • Take off your acrylic nails.
  • Do not shave your body until after surgery. The open microscopic wounds can cause infection.
  • Get your medications and other materials you will need for your recovery ready at your bedside. Think of getting some of the materials below:
  1. Pads to protect your mattress from oozes
  2. Gauze and peroxide for cleaning wounds
  3. Bacitracin, Neosporin or other antibiotic ointments
  4. Water or other drinks by the bedside
  5. Extra pillows for elevating your head or to put under your knees
  6. Your surgeon’s and pharmacy’s telephone number and a phone in a handy place; have the number of a 24-hour pharmacy as well—just in case
  7. Have some stool softeners or laxatives on hand
  8. In the post covid 19 days, maintain social distancing for at least two weeks before surgery to decrease your risk of contamination.
This list is by no means exhaustive.  Add to it as you like. For example, an ample supply of chocolate is a must for me to have at the bedside.
Preparing for your plastic surgery in advance will help you have a better recovery.
See this blog for what to do three days before your surgery