Plastic Surgery Preparation – The Do’s and Don’t
This interview provides an overview of the standard preparations required before and after plastic surgery. Many patients are unaware of the basic standards of care required for a successful outcome to their surgery. Let the negative outcomes of others serve as a warning to heed your surgeon’s advice! If you find this information useful, subscribe to our blog for weekly insights and feel free to suggest topics or questions you would like answered!
Q: What are some of the Dos and Don’ts that you give people in preparation for surgery?
I give them instructions that are true for any surgery, not necessarily specific to cosmetic surgery. All patients receive a form with the type of foods and medications they’re not supposed to have before surgery. About ten days to two weeks before surgery, they have to stop taking any Advil or aspirin for example, which are blood thinners. The same goes for tomatoes – they have salicylic acid which is also a blood thinner. A patient shouldn’t drink coffee or tea or any caffeinated beverage the night before surgery or right after surgery because they can increase blood pressure. There are certain herbs and over-the-counter supplements that are also prohibited because they can interfere with anesthesia. Diet pills are an example of that.
Q: What are your general recommendations for after-surgery care?
For buttock augmentation, my recommendations are no physical activity, no heavy lifting, and no sex for one month. When sitting, the patient should sit leaning forward so there’s no pressure on the incision. They can lie only on their stomach or their sides. Lying on the back is not allowed because that can put pressure on the incision and disrupt the wound. Patients can walk and sit as long as they lean forward. You can drive, but you’ve got to drive cautiously and not wind up in an emergency situation. If you drive, drive slowly. Be sure you’re in control and aware of your position, so that you’re less likely to lean back and hurt your incision.
Q: In addition to those recommendations, should patients simply stop any activity that makes them feel tender or painful?
Well, you want to be one step ahead. You have to be thoughtful and use common sense in a way that will prevent you from even feeling pain. If there is already pain, you may have already broken the incision. Right after butt augmentation, you should just lie in bed on your stomach, in the following days avoid any excessive or strenuous physical activity, and lean forward in your seat. If you do that, you’ll be fine.
Q: One of the important things after breast augmentation surgery is for the patient to do breast massage to avoid hardening of the breasts. Are there similar things that should be done to improve outcomes after other surgeries?
With buttock augmentation, I don’t usually recommend massage – only in specific situations. In other surgeries like pectoral or calf augmentation, I recommend the same as with breast augmentation. I teach them how to massage the implant in order to loosen up the scar so you don’t get what is called capsule contracture. Capsule contracture is the condition where the scar tightens around the implant and can deform the implant or change its position.
Q: What can go wrong when patients don’t follow instructions?
I once had a patient who had calf augmentation surgery. He walked half a mile from the parking lot to his house. Obviously, he bled. He called me at 2 o’clock in the morning and I had to take him to the OR to evacuate the hematoma. Another patient who received buttock implants ended up with complications because she had sex shortly after surgery. Someone else who had buttock implants went to a party. She admired so much the results that she wanted to show it off, so she danced and moved and broke the sutures. Yet another patient hurt herself by jumping out of a truck. Even sitting in a deep couch can cause problems by straining the incision. So I tell people that they have to follow up and heed my instructions. The recommendation come from doing surgery for a long time and having a lot of experience.
Do most people pay attention and take care of themselves?
The majority of patients listen, but there is always an exception to the rule. I’d say that about 5% are not attentive and don’t do what I instruct them, then they have complications. The most common complication is wound disruption. Once it happens, it just takes time for it to heal. It is best when the patient just allows the body to take its time and gives it the opportunity to heal. After one month, they can do whatever they want; there are no limitations. If they want to climb the Himalayas, they can be my guests.
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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.