If you are considering plastic surgery, it is important to always remember that it is surgery. You will have an important role to play in ensuring you have the best surgical experience, with great results and the lowest risk of complications possible. At Dr. Hein Plastic Surgery, we take patient education seriously and work hard to ensure people fully understand the procedures they are considering.
This page contains a basic description of pre-operative instructions for people considering plastic surgery. It is intended to help people better understand the procedure so they can make informed decisions, not to replace the pre-operative instructions you received during your pre-surgical appointment. If you are a current patient, you can consult the instructions you were given or call us at 405-286-4333 with questions. If you are considering plastic surgery and have additional questions about the procedure, we invite you to schedule a consultation at our office.
ONE MONTH BEFORE PLASTIC SURGERY
- Quit smoking–nicotine reduces blood flow to the skin and can cause significant complications during healing. You will have to refrain from smoking for at least 4 weeks after surgery. It’s not a bad idea to consider quitting permanently at this point, because smoking can decrease the lifetime of your plastic surgery results and increase your overall health.
- Arrange for someone to drive you to and from our surgical facility on the day of your procedure and remain with you for at least 24 hours after. Remember, people are busy, so the sooner you get this lined up, the better. You CANNOT leave the facility on your own and you CANNOT be left alone during the first 24 hours.
TWO WEEKS BEFORE PLASTIC SURGERY
- NO ASPIRIN, IBUPROFEN, ALLEVE (naproxen), or other NSAIDs –They interfere with normal blood clotting. For pain relief, you can take Tylenol or generic acetaminophen.
- Please DISCONTINUE ALL HERBAL MEDICATIONS and DIET PILLS–They can complicate your surgical procedure or increase risks.
- Your normal multivitamin is fine, but discontinue “MEGADOSES” of VITAMIN E.
THE WEEK OF PLASTIC SURGERY
- Fill your pre-operative shopping list, including picking up your prescriptions, germ-inhibiting soap, and straws to encourage you to drink water. Put together a tasty and nutritious assortment of soft foods to encourage eating that supports healing after surgery.
- This is a good time to prepare your recovery space. You should have a wedge pillow or enough pillows to hold your torso upright during recovery. Get a few good books and some movies you want to watch. You won’t be confined to bed, but the more you enjoy your rest, the more you’ll do it and the better your recovery.
- It’s not a bad idea to move needed items down from high shelves. You will likely not want to reach over your head much for a few weeks.
- We’ll give you custom recovery gear, but sometimes you might be more comfortable in your own clothes. During your consultation, we’ll talk about recovery wear and what is okay for your procedure.
- If your skin tolerates, start using the germ-inhibiting soap a full week before surgery.
- REPORT any signs of cold, infection, boils, or pustules.
- DO NOT take any cough, cold, or other over-the-counter medications without permission.
THE DAY OF PLASTIC SURGERY
- DO NOT eat or drink anything, not even water, after midnight the night before your surgery. No gum, candy, mints, or coffee the morning of surgery. If you sneak anything, you can increase your risk of serious surgical complications.
- You may brush your teeth the morning of surgery.
- Your surgeon will tell you whether you should take any regular medications the day of the procedure.
- Take a shower the night before and the morning of your surgery. Scrub thoroughly with your germ-inhibiting soap. Shampoo your hair the morning of surgery.
- DO NOT use makeup, creams, lotions, hair gels, sprays, perfumes, powder, or deodorant on your skin, hair, or face.
- DO NOT wear contacts to surgery. Wear your glasses and bring your glasses case.
- DO NOT bring any valuables or wear any jewelry. If you cannot remove your wedding rings or simply can’t bear to, we will tape them.
- Wear comfortable loose-fitting clothes: We recommend a button-up top and pull-on pants with easy-to-slip-on flats. Don’t wear a shirt or other clothing that has to be pulled over your head.
Give us the name and contact information for your driver. It’s also nice to introduce them when they drop you off. If you will not be recovering at home, make sure we have the number where you can be reached. We like to check up and make sure you’re doing well.
And then you’re ready for surgery.
AFTER YOUR PLASTIC SURGERY
After your plastic surgery, you will be taken to our recovery area, where we will monitor your condition to ensure you are recovering properly from the effects of anesthesia. We want to be completely sure you are okay to be released. Once we’re confident you are ready, we will go over specific postoperative instructions with you and your driver. We’ll also give them to you in writing so you have them handy.
Your driver or another responsible adult must stay with you for the first 24 hours after release. When you get home, your main priority should be to rest. You can eat, and you should drink fluids to keep hydrated and help your body remove the last of the surgical medications.
THE FIRST WEEK OF RECOVERY
It’s important to quickly increase your diet to include a good supply nutritious food so your body will have the resources it needs to recover properly. At a minimum, remember to have food with your medications to avoid getting sick to your stomach.
Avoid alcohol for as long as you are using pain medications, and at least the first 24 hours after surgery.
Take your medications as instructed, and only as instructed–don’t take any other medications or deviate from the schedule you were given. Pain medications can make you “spacey,” so it’s best to have someone else making sure you’re taking them at the proper intervals. If this isn’t possible, use a personal timer. Watch out for itching, rash, wheezing, or tightness in the throat. This may be a sign of a drug allergy, and you should call our office immediately.
Also call us if you have a fever, severe pain that does not respond to medications, swelling that is greater on one side than the other, or incisions that are red or hot to the touch.
It’s best if you emphasize rest and minimal activity for the first 48 hours. Relax and enjoy some pampering. This is something very special that you’ve done for yourself, make it a true holiday and take it easy. Take the week off work, and limit lifting, pulling, or pushing for 10 days after surgery. Do not drive for at least two days after surgery, and do not drive if you are still taking pain medications. Only drive if you feel complete comfort at the wheel.
Remain within a reasonable traveling distance of our office for the first 10 days, and make your postoperative visits. At about a week, we’ll review your progress, remove any stitches that need it.
FULL RECOVERY FROM PLASTIC SURGERY AND FINAL RESULTS
Once you are cleared to return to work, you can begin gradually returning to your new routine. This includes your normal exercise routine, but it’s important to ease back up to your pre-surgical level. Check with your surgeon before starting any new activity.
Avoid taking a bath for at least 2 weeks after surgery, and do not get in a hot tub for at least 4 weeks after surgery. Remember, no smoking for at least four weeks after surgery.
Swelling from your procedure may go down gradually. In some cases it may take up to a year. Your incisions will also continue to improve in appearance for about a year. During the early recovery period, make sure you put sunscreen on your incisions, even when they’re under a swimsuit, to avoid discoloration.
If you have more questions about the plastic surgery pre-operative procedure, please contact us to schedule a consultation.