What to do and not to do before plastic surgery interventions

What to do and not to do before plastic surgery interventions

23rd Apr 2017


The decision to undergo plastic surgery is hardly simple, but in most cases, it is the only remaining means to improve an individual’s physical aspect, which in turn, enriches the person’s life. Most plastic surgery interventions are planned, and this means that the patient has enough time to prepare both physically and psychologically.


What to do before plastic surgery interventions:

  • Meet the people who are going to be in the operating room.

It is very important to get to know the plastic surgeon and the anesthetist who are going to be in the operating room with you. In addition, it is vital for you to trust in their skills, experience and professionalism. The surgeon and the anesthetist are the only people who can explain all available treatment options in detail as well as their potential risks.


  • Find out as much information as possible about the surgery and the anesthesia.

Before anything else, ask all the questions that come to mind when you think of the plastic surgery technique that was recommended for you. Discuss all the potential preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative risks with the plastic surgeon and the anesthetist. You will find out that most complications occur only in rare cases; however, there are some side effects that can commonly occur after plastic surgery interventions. Knowing what to expect during the surgery and the recovery process is essential to ensure satisfactory results after the procedure.


  • Talk to the plastic surgeon about your medical condition.

The plastic surgeon needs to know all the details about your personal and family medical history, especially everything related to chronic illnesses such as pulmonary and heart conditions, diabetes and so on. It is also vital for your well-being to let your doctor know if you are suffering from any allergies to certain foods or medication. You should also mention to the surgeon if any member of your family has experienced an adverse reaction to anesthesia.


  • If you smoke, quit!

Your surgeon must find out if you are a smoker or not and it will probably be one of the first questions that you will be asked. Smoking depletes oxygen levels and increases the risk of infection and other post-operative complications. Since oxygen is a biologically important substance that is also essential in wound healing, giving up smoking before the surgical intervention can help you get better and recover from the surgery sooner. Most plastic surgeons will advise you to stop smoking for at least two weeks before and after the surgery.


  • Limit alcohol consumption.

Alcohol can cause dangerous side effects during surgery. When associated with anesthetic substances, alcohol can yield unpredictable effects and can cause excessive bleeding or injury to the liver. Remember to be honest with your plastic surgeon and tell him the exact quantity of alcohol that you consume on a regular basis. Giving up alcohol or at least limiting the intake of alcohol reduces the risk of post-operative complications; hence, it is recommended to stop drinking alcohol for at least half a month before the intervention.


  • Tell your plastic surgeon about the medication, natural supplements and vitamins that you are taking.

Some of the medications mentioned above can cause complications such as intra-operative bleeding. Don’t forget to let your surgeon know if you are using analgesics, vitamins, natural pills or supplements. Your plastic surgeon will let you know if some or all of them are contraindicated before the plastic surgery intervention.


  • Check your blood pressure.

If your blood pressure is high, make sure to let the medical staff know about this before getting to the operating room. The one responsible for monitoring the arterial tension and the functioning of the other organs during the surgery is the anesthetist. If you are hypertensive, and you keep it under control by taking medication, don’t forget to inform the surgeon about this.


  • Keep an eye on your weight and be careful with what you eat.

The risks of complications after plastic surgery interventions increase exponentially when the patient is overweight or obese. Keep one thing in mind: even if the weight loss will help the body heal faster, it is not recommended to start a weight loss diet less than a month before the surgery. All you have to do is eat healthy and balanced meals in preparation for the operation.


  • Get active.

Just like healthy eating, an active lifestyle and physical exercise can help you recover better after the plastic surgery interventions.


  • Wash your hands regularly to avoid infections.

Don’t be afraid to discuss hygiene with the plastic surgeon and make sure that all the medical staff  in the operating room will exercise proper hygiene. During recovery, make sure that your hands are always clean and pay attention to any sign of infection such as high fever, abnormal pain or bleeding at the surgical site.


  • Ask about the risk of blood clot formation.

Patients who had recent surgical interventions have an increased risk of pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis; these are severe conditions that can become fatal. The risk factors for developing these disorders include: the age and weight of the patient, smoking, and underlying health conditions or particular medications.


  • Don’t eat or drink fluids before the surgical intervention.

Anesthesia can cause nausea and vomiting episodes during or after the surgery. Under normal conditions the risk of choking on food is quite low, but the anesthesia administered prior to surgery will enfeeble some of your reflexes; leading to complications.


  • Avoid taking drugs before plastic surgery interventions.

The exact effects of alcohol and drug consumption on the healing process are unknown, but introducing these substances into the body can have unwanted effects during the administration of general anesthesia; and they can also have adverse effects on the patient upon regaining consciousness at the recovery room. Alcohol and other drugs influence cerebral activity and consequently interfere with the effect of the anesthetic substances. This is why patients who consume large amounts of alcohol on a regular basis may require a larger quantity of anesthetic substances compared to normal patients. However, administering excessive amounts of anesthetics can lead to severe complications. Even the simplest cigarettes with hallucinogenic effects might pose issues during surgery.


  • No birth control pills for at least six weeks before the intervention.

Your plastic surgeon will suggest you avoid taking birth control pills for at least four to six weeks before the surgery to avoid any potential risks.


  • Don’t schedule the surgical intervention during your menstrual cycle.

Don’t be surprised when the plastic surgeon asks details about your menstrual period before scheduling the date of your intervention. Most plastic surgeons prefer not to perform plastic surgery when the patient is on her period.


  • Don’t take any aspirin or other anti-inflammatory medications.

For at least two weeks before the date of the surgery, the patient is advised not to take any anti-inflammatory medication such as aspirin. These pills have a blood thinning effect that can lead to excessive bleeding during and after surgery.


  • Ask your surgeon about post-operative care.

The recovery period is just as crucial to the success of the intervention as the surgery itself; this is why it is essential to ask your plastic surgeon about the post-operative care that you will need. After complex plastic surgery interventions, the patients will need someone to drive them home from the medical facility and also to help them with the chores around the house at least for a couple of days. Patients with a low tolerance to pain will find it useful to have a friend or family member close by for a few days after the surgery. New mothers who are planning to undergo the Mommy Makeover procedure should keep in mind that the combined procedures in the Mommy Makeover make the recovery period lengthier than that of a single plastic surgery procedure. Patients who undergo this cosmetic procedure are advised to have someone to help them with the kids at all times for about a week after the surgery, since they are advised against rigorous arms movements, lifting any heavy objects and so on.



Without question, each plastic surgery intervention is different from the other. However, there are a few preoperative recommendations that are common for all interventions. Activities such as smoking, drinking alcohol, ingesting natural supplements, and taking birth control pills are not advisable for patients who are preparing for surgery.

Discussing all the details about the intervention with the plastic surgeon, including the risks and complications of anesthesia, is also essential for the success of the surgery. A well-informed patient is ready to undergo plastic surgery.

Do not forget to maintain proper hygiene after plastic surgery and to ask the doctor well in advance about the post-operative care and hygiene practices.

Maintaining a stable weight before the surgery is also important, and the plastic surgeon will advise you to avoid starting a weight loss regimen less than a month before the surgery date because it can adversely affect the surgery.


Share this article: