Following the recommendations of the plastic surgeon before and after the procedure Introduction Undergoing plastic surgery is not only about going under the knife in the operating room, but it is also a process that needs specific preparations beforehand and lots of care after. Patients interested in undergoing plastic surgery should know that the results are not entirely in the hands of the plastic surgeon. Of course, it is crucial to find a talented, responsible, experienced board-certified plastic surgeon, but just as important is the patient’s behavior before and after the procedure. Many times, patients who had surgery and achieved unsatisfactory results come to my practice to ask for revision surgery. But in some cases, the unsatisfactory results have been achieved due to the lack of proper care from the patient. This is the reason why the plastic surgeon should refuse to operate on patients who are not willing to put in the efforts and do their part. In this article, we will discuss following the recommendations of the plastic surgeon before and after the procedure. Initial consultation with the plastic surgeon The basis of a good collaboration with the plastic surgeon are laid during the initial meeting. This is the first encounter with the plastic surgeon to discuss the procedure you are interested in. But more than finding answers to your questions, you will discover whether you are a good candidate for the procedure you are interested in and also whether the procedure you had in mind is recommended for you or if another procedure would be more suitable. Many patients are surprised to go to the plastic surgeon’s office for the first time and discover that the procedure they had in mind is not actually the right one for them. For example, a patient who wants to get a breast augmentation with implants but suffers from a moderate or severe breast ptosis should first undergo a breast lift to correct the issue. We also have patients who decided they want to enhance their rear end with a Brazilian butt lift but they have no adipose tissue in excess and hence the procedure just can’t be performed. When meeting the plastic surgeon for the first time, it is important to take your time and talk to him, but also listen to what he has to say. Many times, the experience of the plastic surgeon is what helps avoid complications or achieving unsatisfactory results. It is important to connect with the plastic surgeon on an emotional and intellectual level as this way you will be more inclined to follow his recommendations before and after the procedure. During the preoperative consultation, the plastic surgeon will discuss with you the needs and expectations and the aesthetic goals you are trying to achieve but also perform a medical examination on you and exact measurements. The details of the operative plan will take into consideration both your initial anatomy and expectations. During this meeting, he will also explain what needs to be done before and after the surgery. Recommendations before undergoing the procedures Among the most important things to discuss with the plastic surgeon during the preoperative consultation is getting ready for the procedure. There are certain things that patients have to do to ensure the procedure is performed safely. If the patient is on birth control medication, it needs to be stopped a month before the procedure. Certain types of anti-inflammatory medication, as well as natural supplements, should also be avoided for a minimum of two weeks before the procedure. Failing to follow these recommendations can result in an increased risk of developing complications such as deep vein thrombosis and excessive bleeding after the procedure. If the patient is taking medication for a preexisting condition, the plastic surgeon might also discuss to adjust the doses or completely stop the medication before the procedure. Make sure you have discussed current medication and even potential allergies with the plastic surgeon during the preoperative consultation. Aside from the medication that needs to be avoided, there are other things that patients should do in preparation. One of these things is getting the house ready for the recovery period. This means that cleaning, cooking, and other chores should be done way before going to the hospital. Some patients tend to believe that during the recovery period they will have time to catch up on their chores as they are spending time at home anyway. This is not how things work after a complex procedure. The plastic surgeon will advise you to have everything ready and prepared at home before having your procedure. This will make things easier during the recovery period. Another thing that the plastic surgeon will recommend you to do before getting plastic surgery is to discuss what is going to happen and what is to be expected during the recovery period with your friends and family. This doesn’t mean that you should seek approval for your decision, but just to let them know what you need from them and how much you appreciate their support during the recovery period. Also, make sure there is someone available to drive you to and from the clinic on the day of the surgery. Recommendations for the post-operative period The recovery period is very important for the success of any plastic surgery procedure. During this time, the patient needs to follow a strict post-op protocol that will help him avoid complications, ensure the recovery period is short and smooth, and the results are according to the expectations. Infections can occur in the first few days post-op, so antibiotics will need to be taken for about five days after the surgery. During this time, the patient is also advised to avoid lying in bed for too long. Every couple of hours, the patient should get off the bed and walk around the room to avoid the risk of developing a blood clot. For the movement to be easy, pain medication will be prescribed. The recommendation is to take them accordingly to the doctor’s instructions. The care of the surgical incisions is very important during the recovery period until the wounds are completely closed. The surgeon will advise you to keep the incisions clean and dry at all times and never apply a product, even products that are meant to speed up the cicatrization unless recommended by the plastic surgeon. Compression garments are often recommended for many weeks after the procedure as they can help reduce the swelling that naturally occurs post-op and improve the results. Make sure not to sleep or rest on the operated area for a minimum of three weeks post-op, especially if we are talking about procedures that entailed the use of implants or fat transfer. Intense pressure on the areas operated on could lead to the opening of the incisions, the implants shifting, or the fat cells transferred to die. The recommendation of the plastic surgeon will be to resume daily activities gradually and avoid intense physical efforts for a minimum of four to six weeks post-op and even more in some cases. Resuming exercise too soon after plastic surgery can trigger complications or alter the aesthetic results. Attending the follow-up consultations with the plastic surgeon is important for the success of your procedure. Scarring is an important part of achieving good results, and the cicatrization process can take up to one year. During this time, you will have multiple follow-up consultations scheduled with the plastic surgeon. Conclusion The plastic surgeon is not just the person who will perform your plastic surgery procedure, but also the one guiding you all the way. The success of the plastic surgery procedure also lies in the hands of the patient and how committed he is to follow the plastic surgeon’s recommendations before and after the procedure. Make sure to choose a talented and experienced board-certified plastic surgeon whose advice you completely trust as it will be easier for you to follow his instructions to the letter. Among the most important recommendations before plastic surgery are stopping birth control and anti-inflammatory medication well before the date of the procedure. When it comes to recommendations after the procedure, the importance of walking for a few minutes every couple of hours and not lying on the areas that were operated on are advised. Also, compression garments are recommended to be worn non-stop during the recovery period.