Taking the plunge and getting any kind of surgery is a life-changing decision. As such, there are various preparations you need to make before you settle down into the chair in the operating room.

If you want to have a healthy and safe recovery, read on for how to start preparing yourself for surgery.

Quit Smoking

Putting your smoking aside is one of the most important things you can do when you’re going to get surgery. Smoking isn’t just bad for your lungs it’s bad for your entire body. Even if you’re not prepared to quit smoking for good, you need to stop smoking for at least a month before your surgery and a month afterward.

Smoking affects the blood flow in your skin, and you need as much blood as possible in order to keep the affected cells from dying. It also delays healing and can cause sewn connections to open back up.

Ask Off Work

Like most surgeries, you will not be able to immediately return to work. Surgery can cause a lot of pain, swelling, fatigue, appetite changes, draining, numbness, bruising, infection, bleeding, cell necrosis, difficulty with basic activities (like eating), cramping, constipation, and a number of other unpleasant effects. You don’t know which ones you’ll experience, so it’s good to be prepared to take some time off work.

Each surgery’s recovery time will be different, but you should expect to take two or more weeks off work.


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There are three primary things you need to research before you get surgery.

First, research what procedures you have as options. Do you want to alter your face or some other part of your body? There are more options than you realize, so take the time to look into possibilities for each part you’re considering altering. Nearly every part of your body can be aesthetically altered. What areas do you feel self-conscious about? Is it your nose or your arm fat? Your stomach or your breasts? All four of those? There are options for those areas and many, many more. It’s great to create a  full list of what you want to get surgery on so you can help your surgeon create a complete picture of what you want to look like once you recovery from your operations.

Second, you need to research the risks. Remember those side effects in the previous section? You need to find out which ones you’re at risk for, depending on what surgery you’re getting. It’s possible that you aren’t a candidate for some surgeries because of health issues, so find out what you can and can’t do before you get your heart set on something.

Third, once you’ve determined what procedures you want to get, you need to find the right surgeon. Different surgeons have a different experience with each type of surgery, so you need to find someone who’s board-certified and has experience with the surgeries you intend to get.

Adjust Your Medications

You may not be able to take your current medications before you get surgery. If anything you take contains a blood-thinner, then you’ll need to stop taking it a few weeks before your operation.

Other medications (including herbal ones) may not be compatible with your preparations, so tell your doctors and surgeons about everything you take in order to find out which ones you need to put away before and after your surgery.

Stay Healthy

Exercising, eating well, hydrating, and sleeping is all important parts of maintaining a body that is able to be operated upon. Your body should be in the best condition as possible when you go under the knife.

A healthy body can recover faster than a weak one, so spend some time walking and altering your habits. Sleeping is an important part of the body’s ability to heal—don’t skimp out on it.

Eating fatty food before your surgery can clog up your system and make it difficult for your body to process nutrients and any changes that happen during your surgery.


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With everything you’ve just read, it may sound ridiculous to ask you to relax. But that is another part of maintaining a healthy body. Your mind is an organ, too! The more relaxed you are before your surgery, the more prepared for it you will feel. Relaxation is great for the body, and it’s an important part of minimizing negative effects of surgery. Feeling at peace will help you to feel less pain and focus on recovering as best you can.

About Author:

Dr. Power completed her undergraduate degree with honors from Princeton University, where she mastered her precise technical skills. This propelled her to complete her MD and plastic surgery residency at the University of Western Ontario. As part of the UWO Clinician Investigator Program, she also completed an MSc in Medical Biophysics during her surgical training. In 2013 she was certified as a plastic surgeon and moved to Toronto to work in Aesthetic Surgery and Trauma & Reconstructive Surgery. Operating her practice from 199 Avenue Road in Yorkville, Dr. Power maintains her reputable practice with a focus on skin cancer.


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