Deciding to have plastic surgery is just the first step. In many cases, a successful surgery depends in large part on the amount of planning you do beforehand. Making changes to your lifestyle can help improve your outcome, and doing plenty of research on your surgeon and the surgery you’ve chosen will help you understand what to expect.
Switch Up Your Habits
Some habits are forbidden before surgery. Smoking or using any type of nicotine-containing product is usually not recommended before or after plastic surgery. Nicotine makes the blood vessels smaller, which limits blood flow and can increase your risk for damage to the incision area and for delayed wound healing. If you currently smoke, your surgeon will tell you to quit at least two weeks before your procedure. It’s also advised you keep avoiding nicotine and tobacco products for at least two weeks after your surgery.
While drinking alcohol in moderation might be fine when you’re not thinking about plastic surgery, it’s best to avoid it as well. The effects of alcohol on the body are almost the opposite of the effects of nicotine, but just as dangerous when in the context of safe plastic surgery planning. Alcohol increases blood flow and thins the blood, which can slow down your healing process. It can also interact with any medications you take for pain after the surgery.
Along with giving up certain habits before plastic surgery, it’s also a good idea to try to pick up a few good habits. For example, if your sleep schedule currently leaves a lot to be desired, try to get in the habit of sleeping at least seven or eight hours each night. The more well rested you are, the better able your body will be to heal after surgery.
Improving your diet can also help you prepare for surgery. Eating foods that contain a lot of vitamins and minerals can give your body the extra boost it needs to help you heal more efficiently afterwards. Plus, you might feel better overall when you eat better.
Invest in Comfort
It’s a good idea to start thinking about the recovery period well in advance of your surgery. Go out of your way to make sure you have plenty of things at home that will make your downtime a bit more comfortable. For example, since you’re supposed to keep your head elevated after surgeries such as rhinoplasty, it might be a good idea to invest in a few extra pillows to prop up your head and provide support or to even invest in a recliner, so that you can sit back while keeping your head up.
Another part of investing in comfort before your surgery is making sure you’ll have all that you need to eat and drink after it. Head to the grocery store and stock up on soft foods such as yogurt. While you might be able to eat regularly pretty soon after your procedure, it helps to be prepared and to have a good selection of easy-to-eat foods on hand.
Build a Support Network
You don’t have to tell every single person in your life that you’re getting plastic surgery. But you do want to have a few people to rely on, especially during those first few days post-surgery. Talk to your partner or spouse about driving you to and from the surgical center. You won’t be in any shape to drive yourself home after most procedures. Having a loved one transport you is usually recommended over taking a cab, as you want that person to stay with you at home and to help you out should you have any problems.
Having a few friends or family members to visit you while you recover can also make your downtime afterwards a bit more enjoyable. Choose people who will be supportive and whom you can depend on to be there for you when you need them.
Investigate Your Surgeon
When it comes to plastic surgery, the more you know, the better of you’ll be. Take the time before your procedure to really research and find out as much as you can about the procedure and the surgeon with whom you are considering working. You want to get a sense of not only the surgeon’s training and certification, but a sense of how he or she treats patients and how he or she gets along with patients. Usually, a talented surgeon who also has a good bedside manner will have earned plenty of praise from past patients.
Also, find out a bit more about your specific surgery. You want to know where it will be performed and what type of anesthesia you’ll be under. General anesthesia, which means you’ll be completely out during the surgery, is common, but isn’t the only option in some cases.
If you are thinking about plastic surgery in the Washington, D.C. area, take the time to get to know Dr. George Bitar and Dr. Robert Centeno of the Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute. They are happy to answer any questions you have, help you choose the procedure that best suits you, and help you get ready for your surgery. To schedule a consultation, call (703) 206-0506 today.
George Bitar, MD, FACS is an award-winning, board-certified cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgeon, the Founder and Medical Director of Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute in Virginia. He specializes in the latest surgical and minimally invasive techniques to scar management and reduction. Dr. Bitar is involved in groundbreaking research and education in plastic surgery and has authored numerous articles, abstracts, and chapters.