Your Complete Checklist Before Getting Cosmetic Surgery

Anurag Agarwal, M.D., shares some pre-surgery tips for getting into tip-top shape // Photo via Shutterstock

Making the decision to undergo cosmetic surgery is a life-changing event. As you prepare for the big day, there are bound to be some feelings of excitement, anticipation, and even fear as you think about the procedure, potential complications, and required recovery time that you will likely have to endure to see your intended benefits. As the big day approaches, there are some things you can do to improve your health and mentally prepare for what is to come. According to Naples-based facelift specialist, Anurag Agarwal, M.D, you should follow some specific steps to improve your health and the condition of your skin before surgery to avoid any complications or mandated periods of rest afterward. Here are a few tips Agarwal shares with his patients at Aesthetic Surgery Center (Naples, FL).

In The Weeks Before Surgery

  1. About a month before surgery, schedule a wellness exam and a consultation with your surgeon to determine if you are healthy enough to undergo surgery. Talk about potential complications, scarring, and preparatory creams and lotions that you can use to get your skin in tip-top shape for the procedure. Begin this protocol per your doctor's instructions, taking care to cleanse and condition the skin to be used in surgery.

  2. Stop drinking and smoking before surgery. Do what you can to make small but consistent diet choices that maximize nutrition and promote good overall health. Make a comprehensive list of any medications that you are taking; feel free to give this list to your doctor so he can cross-reference it with any medications you could take as a result of surgery. Begin thinking about how and where you want to recover—have planned activities like watching movies, reading, and knitting or coloring ready to do; you'll want to find things to do to distract you that aren't too strenuous.

  3. Start taking multivitamins and supplements as directed by your doctor. Large doses of vitamin E are now acceptable, as it encourages the growth of new skin cells and protects skin from drying out too much. Bromelain is another common supplement used in plastic surgery recovery, as it reduces swelling and inflammation that can lead to post-surgical infections.

  4. One week before surgery, reduce your sodium intake while at the same time increasing your water consumption; a well-hydrated body will recover faster. Focus on your diet and nutrition this week, as well on getting plenty of good rest and reducing your stress levels. Secure a ride to and from the hospital, and double-check a couple of days before surgery to make sure that this is in place. Pack your essentials that you will need for hospital comfort, and away you go!

Foods to Eat—and Avoid—Prior to Surgery

You may be wondering how to change your diet before surgery, especially if you haven't undergone a procedure before. Many foods contain salicylates or natural blood thinners; these should be avoided prior to and after surgery to avoid excess bleeding. Additional foods that should be avoided include:

  • beer, birch beer, root beer
  • carbonated drinks, distilled drinks
  • tea, wine
  • potatoes
  • mint or wintergreen products, pies, and cakes made with fruit
  • almonds, peanuts, avocados, mayo, olives, olive oil, salad dressings
  • apples, cherries, grapes, melon, pineapple, peaches, nectarines, plums, prunes, pomegranates
  • canned mushrooms, cucumbers, green peppers
  • radishes, hot peppers, tomatoes
  • cloves, pickles, mint

Don't worry, though, there are still plenty of foods that make the "to do" list when prepping for surgery, such as:

  • coffee, fruit juice, milk
  • bread, cereal, popcorn, pasta, rice, rolls, bagels
  • homemade cakes and cookies made without fruit
  • butter, cashews, pecans, vegetable oils
  • bananas, blueberries, cranberries, grapefruit
  • lemons, mangoes, papaya, pears, 
  • rhubarb, strawberries, tangerine
  • asparagus, carrots, fresh mushrooms, green beans, lettuce, spinach, squash
  • chocolate, cocoa, salt, pepper, 
  • spices, sugar, syrup, vinegar

Recommended Vitamins and Supplements to Take Prior to Surgery

  1. Vitamin A: This vitamin makes an important contribution to collagen production, which is a needed element for skin healing and repair. 
  2. Vitamin C: Another critical element in the healing process, vitamin C is a free radical scavenger that helps to reduce oxidative damage caused by wayward particles and bacteria. 
  3. Bromelain: An enzyme present in pineapple, Bromelain is an anti-inflammatory agent that reduces swelling in the body. It helps to alleviate pain and promote wound healing. In some rare cases, it is even able to inhibit the growth of tumor cells. 
  4. Arnica Montana: This powerful herb is used to soothe aches and pains, reduce inflammation, and promote overall healing and good health. This can be found in a gel or lotion form, as it is not intended to be ingested. If accidentally ingested, seek medical attention immediately.

Prioritizing your own health in the weeks and months before surgery is essential for proper recovery. Following your doctor's instructions, taking good care of yourself, and reducing your stress as you move toward your surgery date will have you looking and feeling better than you have in years. As always, be sure to vet your medical spa or doctor's office, as well as your doctor, and you should be looking and feeling good in no time.


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