When preparing for a surgical procedure, it is important to remember you and your doctor are a team. Each of you is 50% responsible for the final result. The healthier you are going into surgery, the better you take care of yourself, and the more closely you follow your post-operative instructions, the better your final result will be!
The most important first step, if necessary, is to stop smoking. Smoking (or chewing tobacco, e-cigarettes, etc.) damages the blood vessels and the blood supply is the single most important factor in healing! It is also the body’s critical defense mechanism, so what this means, is smoking increases your chances of poor healing and infections. Add to that the increased risk of pneumonia, heart attacks, and other complications, and it is just not worth it to get cosmetic surgery while you are smoking. Cosmetic surgery is a happy, rewarding time to help you feel better about yourself; more youthful. It is the perfect motivation to finally quit tobacco and begin leading a happier, healthier life!
Two of the most important things needed for all patients are to eat healthy and stay active.
As you are healing, your body will require more calories, more protein, and more vitamins than usual. You will feel run down if you are not getting enough nutrition. Surgery is not the time to be on a diet! So some easy things to do to help maximize your nutrition are to start taking a multivitamin, vitamin C, and zinc before and after your procedure and get some supplement shakes (Ensure, Boost, etc.) to help keep your nutrition up until you get your appetite back after anesthesia. This advice is especially important for the bariatric patients who will really need to boost their nutrition around the time of surgery in order to prevent malnutrition.
Staying active, even as you wake up on the day of surgery, is the other most important thing to do while you are recovering. Activity minimizes the risks of complications such as blood clots in the legs, pneumonia, and more! Numerous studies also show that pain resolves quicker and people return to their normal activities faster in folks who are more active in the recovery period. This is not to imply you need to hit the gym, necessarily, but walking frequently, even if it’s simply taking laps around the couch, will significantly accelerate your healing and reduce the risk of complications.
One other important trick to achieving the best results is to protect yourself from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. The sun (and tanning) will cause dark, unsightly, noticeable scars; not to mention it ages and damages your skin more than anything else! Remember: tan skin is damaged skin. Making a daily habit of sun block on all exposed skin and all surgical scars will keep you looking younger longer and keep your scars to a minimum. If you absolutely must have the dark or tanned look, switch to spray tanning or bronzing creams. You will thank us later.
Above all, be honest and forthright with your doctor, and follow his instructions. It is your body, after all, and if you need assistance or think you might have difficulty with the recovery, talk to your doctor, ask questions, and get help. Again we are a team, we are working together to reach your goals and we want you to have the absolute best experience possible. We are never too busy to answer your questions or help out if you need it. Remember, at Southeast Clinic Surgical Arts, we are all family!