There are a number of preparatory steps to take a few weeks before surgery and others you can take the day before. This post goes into the latter. I wrote a post about what to do to prepare for plastic surgery in the weeks 
The night before plastic surgery
  • Shower with a bland soap such as Dove. The additions of oils and essences in your soap will leave a film on your skin that does not allow the monitors you will need during the cosmetic procedure to stick to you as effectively.
  • Wash your hair—it may be a few days before you can take a full shower, as the wound will need time to seal and become waterproof. Your plastic surgeon will tell you when you can shower normally.
  • Eat a light meal; the less food you have in your system, the lower the chances of nausea from surgical anesthetics,and the better you will feel after your surgery. Do not be surprised if your bowel motility decreases and you become constipated after cosmetic surgery. Both anesthesia and the pain medications you will take will slow down your gut. Be prepared.
  • Try to get a good night’s sleep. It is normal to be anxious about any surgery but being in a positive and relaxed frame of mind will help with your recovery more than you know.
  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
The last rule is one of the most important rules of surgery, and it is amazing how often it is broken despite the fact that all patients are told this by their surgeon’s office and the surgery center/hospital nurses. Having food in your stomach (or coffee or tea or anything else) means that under anesthesia, when your gag reflex is turned off, you may have stomach contents come up and go into your lungs, causing a severe pneumonia called ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome), which can be fatal. Do not eat or drink after midnight.

If your surgery is late in the day, you may get dehydrated. Your plastic surgeon and anesthesiologist may allow you to have a glass of water (and only water) 4-6 hours before your surgery. However, if your plastic surgeon finishes the morning surgery early and is ready for you earlier than planned, you will have to wait for the 4-6 hours to come to an end. Check with your plastic surgeon on this one.

The day of your plastic surgery

  • Shower and brush your teeth.
  • Take any prescription medications you normally take after clearing it with your plastic surgeon. Heart medications, blood pressure meds, medicine to control blood sugar and insulin are usually taken as normal. Other medications, such as anti-depressants or psychiatric medications, may interfere with your anesthesia. Ask your surgeon about these.
  • Dress in loose, comfortable clothes. A shirt that buttons in the front is better than one where you have to move your arms over your head.
  • Forget the socks—use slip-on shoes.
  • Have a “throw-up” bag ready in the car for the unfortunate possibility of vomiting on the way back home.
  • Leave all valuables and rings at home.
  • Take all piercings out of your body. Metal piercings can cause burns during surgery when electrocautery is used.
  • Take nail polish off—the oxygen monitors cannot work properly through nail polish and acrylic nails.
  • Do not apply any makeup, powder, cologne, etc. This is the one time you do not have to look great. It will all get smudged and half washed off anyway, and you will end up looking worse!

Preparing for your cosmetic surgery will ensure that you have done everything you can to have the most comfortable and speedy recovery, minimize your chances of complications and help your cosmetic plastic surgeon get the best results.

Morad Tavallali, M.D., FACS

Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon

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