If you’ve spent a hot minute on social media, you’ve probably seen a viral video or two of a Real Estate agent reacting to a faux client of theirs who just took out a new bank loan or leased a new car–all while still in the process of closing on a home.
Assuming there’s any truth to the comical, or not so comical, videos, the buyer is always oblivious.
And the real estate agent is always irate.
But that’s home buying.
Is there anything like it when it comes to plastic surgery?
Are there things you should NOT do before plastic surgery?
What’s totally taboo?, what’s merely a good idea?, and what’s completely optional?
Here’s everything you should and should not do prior to plastic surgery.
Mind you, millions of plastic surgical procedures are done every year in the United States, and if you pass the medical requirements from both your (board-certified) plastic surgeon and your primary care physician, you are likely to have a great and safe time getting surgery.
(And please remember, this is not medical or personal advice and that your plastic surgeon may have their own needs, wants, and pre and post op instructions that supersede this information.)
In contrast to what we want to stop doing before plastic surgery, are a series of things that we want to start doing, or start doing more of, in order to best prepare ourselves. We’ll cover both the dos and don’ts, and the starts and stops of preparing for plastic surgery:
1. Don’t take Aspirin for 7-10 days before plastic surgery
People planning to get any plastic surgery procedure, whether a breast augmentation or a BBL, should stop taking aspirin for 7-10 days prior to surgery. Aspirin may contribute to excessive bleeding and bruising after surgery, which are things you and your plastic surgeon will want to avoid postoperatively. And not merely for cosmetic reasons.
2. Don’t take Ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, and any other NSAIDs 10 days prior to plastic surgery
Your plastic surgeon will very likely advise you to stop taking Ibuprofen, Advil, Aspirin, Motrin, and any other NSAIDs for a period of 10 days prior to surgery. These medications and supplements may contribute to an increased risk of bleeding. Should you currently be on these medications prior to surgery, be sure to ask your surgeon whether they are safe to take and in what quantities. Some surgeons do allow their patients to continue taking Ibuprofen, but do be sure to check with your own surgeon (a licensed physician well aware of your personal medical care needs) for personal advice.
3. Don’t take vitamin E, Ginger, Ginkgo Biloba, or Turmeric for 14 days before plastic surgery
You may be advised to stop taking vitamin E, Ginger, Ginkgo Biloba, and Turmeric 2 weeks, or 14 days, before surgery. These vitamins and supplements are associated with an increase in bleeding and bruising. Excessive consumption of any of them could lead to complications including hematoma [a solid swelling of clotted blood within the tissues] and could result in serious complications. They may also interfere with anesthesia, immune function and the length of time your body takes to heal and recover from surgery.
4. Don’t drink alcohol for 48-72 hours before plastic surgery
Stop drinking alcohol at least 72 hours before your surgery is scheduled. Alcohol consumption prior to or after plastic surgery can greatly affect not only the surgery itself (due to anesthesia complications) but also interrupt and impede your recovery process in a number of ways. Consuming alcohol before surgery impairs the immune system, increases the risk of respiratory problems, and contributes to wound healing complications and other infections.
5. Don’t consume too much caffeine for 7 days before surgery
Reduce your caffeine consumption to no more than two cups of coffee daily for seven days before surgery. Some plastic surgeons advise their patients to give up caffeine entirely before plastic surgery, asking them to wean off of it a few days before their surgery (so that any attendant headaches are also gone, come surgery day). Others simply ask that their patients reduce their coffee intake to no more than two cups per day for the seven days leading up to their surgery day.
6. Stop smoking 4 to 6 weeks prior to surgery, and for 3-4 weeks afterward
Smoking anything that includes nicotine in it before and after your surgery opens you up to skin necrosis, or skin death. When it occurs, skin in the affected area turns black and dies. Surgical correction is required.
7. Stop sleeping with your pets, keep them off the bed, and consider boarding them
It may be in your own and your pets’ best interest to temporarily board them at a pet hotel for about one week, beginning a day prior to your surgery and lasting until 5-6 days after you’ve returned home. Pets, even long-term family friends, can contribute to an increased risk of infection. This is particularly true if they share the bed with you prior to surgery.
After your surgery, this logic continues for the time period that you have open incisions. Larger pets and active pets can also become problematic after your surgery simply due to their needs for attention and rapid movement. A freshly completed rhinoplasty that is still healing is prone to being bumped by pets who don’t know better. Pets have also been known to get excited at the sight of gauze, dressing, and other wrapped bandages.
Boarding a pet isn’t mandatory, and you as the patient will likely have the best idea of whether to have them stay with you or not. If your pet is small and well behaved and you’re having a less intense plastic surgical procedure, it may be just fine to keep them at home. If this is your first surgical procedure and you aren’t sure what your recovery will be like, it may be best to board a pet rather than waiting to see how they react to the site of surgery. If you do plan to keep your pets at home with you after surgery, be sure their food, treats, water, and bowls are placed inside your field of motion.
8. Don’t stress before surgery
You’ve already made the decision to have plastic surgery and once you’ve gone through the journey of researching the surgery, finding the best surgeon, and paying an initial deposit, it’s best not to stress out. If you do wish to back out of surgery, you are, of course, more than able and encouraged to do so. Within reason, only unethical practices will fail to refund a patient (minus the consultation fee) if he or she decides not to go through with the surgery. Be sure to read or ask about the refund / cancellation policy at your surgeon’s practice as the cancellation deadlines due vary. You may need to give the practice at least a 30-day notice, but again, if you do decide not to go forward with the surgery, listen to yourself and don’t do it. Or do, but don’t panic. Millions of men and women undergo these surgeries each year, and they do just fine. If you’ve done your due diligence and found a provider you are happy with, you should be alright. It helps to ensure they are a board-certified plastic surgeon, with an active certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Don’t panic. If panic is a physical response for you, more than it is a mental one, your surgeon can help you calm those nerves prior to surgery.
9. Do see your doctor for bloodwork and other tests
Typically one month before your plastic surgery, you will be advised to see your primary care physician. They’ll look at you from head to toe and ensure you’re set up for a surgery of the nature you’re going to be having. Your PCP may take blood samples, an EKG or other lab work. For breast augmentation and other breast surgeries, a mammogram may be required. Your surgeon will likely have their own recommendations and requirements, but the above should serve as a general guide of what to expect.
10. Do maintain a stable weight prior to surgery
If you are getting a body contouring procedure (such as a mommy makeover, lower body lift, or liposuction), you will likely want to do your best to lose weight in the many months prior to surgery. But once you’ve reached that goal weight, and/or are closer to your surgery day, you’ll want to be at and maintain a stable weight. In practical terms, this means keeping a good, healthy diet, and maintaining whatever exercise program you do regularly, but definitely not taking diet pills or other weight-loss supplements. In short, you work to maintain about the same weight you had at your consultation.
You can do “regular things” such as daily exercise, and eating more-or-less as you have been, but what you specifically want to avoid are any extreme diets, binges, cleanses, and dramatic changes to your day-to-day activity level and dietary habits. Losing or gaining a few pounds prior to surgery is usually not the end of the world, though for some procedures (like the Skinny BBL), you will have to keep closer tabs on your weight. For most plastic surgery procedures, the advice is simple: Do your best to maintain a stable weight.
11. Do prepare your home for a stress-free recovery
Important items should be placed closer to where you will be resting and recovering. Some patients opt to make the couch or living room their daytime recovery area, and the bedroom their nighttime recovery area. In either case, some of the items you will want to have space for in this recovery area include water, snacks, pain medication, light reading material, entertainment, charging cords for electronic devices or your phone, extra pillows to raise your head and to get comfortable, and blankets.
In addition to the recovery area(s) that you set up nicely beforehand, you may also want to rearrange items in cupboards and the fridge. After breast surgery for instance, you shouldn’t (and won’t want to) raise your arms above your shoulders or head, so items you need should be placed at about chest height.
For facial plastic surgery and nose jobs, bending over isn’t advised, so needed items on lower shelves should also be placed at about chest height.
The less lifting, door and drawer opening, and movement you need to do the better. This doesn’t mean that you should sleep (or even rest) all day after surgery nor that you should be immobile. What it does mean is that you want to have as much direct control over your movements as possible.
It’s one thing to take a short walk around the room when you feel up to it, and quite another to have no choice but to move around in order to get something you need, even while experiencing a bout of extreme or harder-than-normal pain and discomfort. To prepare for surgery, you want to set your home and recovery area up as well as possible so that you have control over your movement. If a friend or family member will be with you after surgery, some of these actions will be unnecessary.
12. Don’t do drugs before plastic surgery
Most patients don’t need to be told this, but for those who may benefit from it: Do not take “street” drugs or other illicit substances prior to surgery. You will undergo a drug test prior to surgery. If by chance you are taking drugs, the most important thing you must, must be sure to do is: Tell your surgeon what drugs you are on or have recently taken. Depending on what they are/were and how long ago they were taken, your surgery may be canceled or rescheduled. If that sounds inconvenient, realize the alternative is that by not disclosing to (telling) your surgeon what drugs you are on or have recently taken, you risk dying.
13. Don’t wear makeup, lipstick, or nail polish on the day of your surgery
You are free to continue wearing all of your normal makeup, including face makeup, up to the day before your plastic surgery procedure. This means you can wear lipstick, foundation, blush, eyeliner, nail polish and other makeup products on the day before your surgery, but on the day of your surgery, you may not wear it. Bear in mind that you will likely be waking up very early in order to make it to the surgery center or hospital for your surgery, so you’ll want to remove your makeup (including nail polish) at the latest on the night before the day your surgery is scheduled for.
When you come in for any plastic surgical procedure, you should not be wearing any makeup, lipstick, or nail polish. Some of it is removed for the sake of the surgery itself (makeup, lipstick), while the rest is removed for safety and sanitary reasons (nail polish). Your surgical team needs uninterrupted access to the skin they will be operating on, as well as the fingers they’ll be attaching instrumentation to.
14. Do set up a driver for your ride home
Immediately after your plastic surgical procedure, you will not only not want to drive, but you will be unable to do so physically. Driving yourself home after your surgery is not an option after any invasive plastic surgery procedure: not eyelid surgery, a facelift, a breast augmentation, etc., etc. Your options are to have a friend or family member drive you home after surgery, or to pay a professional service to drive you. Ubder, Lyft, and Taxis are your worst possible option and should be avoided after plastic surgical procedures.
15. Do fill your pain medication prescriptions before your surgery day
Pain medication is typically prescribed to every patient undergoing plastic surgical procedures. Taking the is not mandatory, but you will be prescribed them. Pain medication and other prescriptions will be written for you usually about one week prior to your surgery. It is important that you fill these prescriptions (pick up the pain medication and other medications) prior to your surgery. Don’t leave this for the last minute, as you will likely not have time for even a drive through pharmacy on the day of your surgery. (You’ll likely be scheduled to wake up rather early.)
16. Do get a good night’s sleep before surgery
Rest well on the night prior to your surgery day. You will likely be feeling somewhat anxious knowing that tomorrow you’ll be going under general anesthesia. Retire early for the evening and do your best to get a great night’s sleep. Magnesium can help calm the nerves but if you’re feeling particularly jittery or panicking, there are solutions for that, many of which can be done in the days or weeks prior to surgery. A qualified plastic surgeon with whom a patient has great rapport goes a long way in making surgery smooth and easily faced. Know too that every year, anywhere from tens of thousands to millions of men and women undergo the very surgical procedure you will be having tomorrow. Though they often get media coverage, serious complications are extremely rare, relative to the number of plastic surgical procedures done nationally each year.
17. Do arrange for help at home if feasible
There are surgeries you can recover from on your own without any house help. Rhinoplasty tends to be one of them, gynecomastia surgery is another, as is breast augmentation surgery. In truth, most people can recover just fine and manage the house alright without a helping hand, but it is extremely helpful and much, much easier on your body to have house help if you can arrange it.
You should definitely consider house help if:
- You had a Brazilian butt lift
- You have drains in your body (abdomen, breasts)
- If Whatever surgery you had was the first plastic surgery procedure you’ve ever had
If you have no one to call or who can volunteer the amount of time you need, professional services are available to help you during recovery after plastic surgery.
18. Do start eating healthy (or keep doing so)
If you already maintain a good healthy diet, congratulations. The best thing you can do leading up to your surgery is to continue doing so (and add a couple of vitamins and supplements, which we will discuss below. If on the other hand there is room for improvement in your diet, you’ll want to make those improvements now. In short, you want to eat less fast food, salty, sugary, and greasy foods, and restaurant meals (which are high in both salt and sugar). And you want to eat more whole foods, lean meats, sea food, home-cooked meals, fruits and vegetables.
19. Do clean the house or apartment you’ll be recovering in
After your surgery, your incisions will be in some state of openness or healing for a few to several days. You may have drains in place as well, depending on the procedure you had done. In either case, it is best to return to a clean home. Having a clean house or apartment to return home to reduces the risk of infection. Wash or change your linens, towels, and bed sheets, and hire a routine cleaning service to hit the rest of the house (a regular cleaning works just fine).
20. Do prepare your surgery recovery supplies
Different surgeries require different recovery protocols and supplies. You’ll want to have these on hand for the period of your recovery. They usually include ample pillows to prop your head up, or special pillows for a BBL surgery, gauze and bandages, compression garments, rollers for muscle massage, ice, vitamins, nutritious foods and beverages. Your surgeon should provide you a written list of what you will need after the procedure you are getting. Be sure to ask and get answered any questions you may have about this. (You will typically be given several pages of written postoperative instructions, along with phone numbers to call in case of anything unexpected occurring.)
21. Don’t wear jewelry and other expensive items into surgery
Your surgeon and his or her staff are probably pretty caring and ethical, but loose jewelry and expensive watches are best left at home prior to plastic surgery. Only some jewelry would actually get in the way of any plastic surgical procedure, but as a policy, it should all be left at home. This includes rings, earrings, necklaces, watches, and piercings on any part of your body.
22. Do eat well on the day before your surgery
Continue to eat nourishing foods and make your meals (and dinner) on this day healthy and nutritious. Lean meats, soup, and seafood are great choices for dinner on the day prior to plastic surgery, and patients should take care specifically to avoid dishes that are sugary, salty, and greasy. Fast food and fried foods should also be avoided.
Patients will experience their best time during surgery if they make healthy eating, and vitamins and supplements are part of their daily life in the weeks prior to surgery.
While persons of varying levels of health and of various BMIs undergo cosmetic surgery daily within the United States and abroad–and while serious complications are rare if the right surgeon is operating–it is certainly true that patients who eat well have a smoother and swifter recovery period than they would had they been eating poorly.
“The right surgeon” means a board-certified plastic surgeon with considerable experience in the very procedure you will be having. BBL specialists are a must for the popular Brazilian butt lift, and a board-certified facial plastic surgeon should be seen for facial plastic surgery.
23. Do stay hydrated on the day before surgery
In addition to eating well, be sure you stay hydrated throughout the day. Both eating and drinking need to be done frequently throughout the day, as come midnight of the eve of your surgery day, neither will be an option anymore.
If your surgery will be done under certain forms of local anesthesia rather than general anesthesia, light eating and drinking after midnight on the day of your surgery may still be an option.
Your surgeon will provide you exact pre op instructions tailored to both you and the specific surgery you will be having.
24. Don’t eat or drink after midnight on the eve of your surgery
On the eve of your surgery, any eating and drinking will need to be done prior to midnight, unless your surgeon tells you otherwise. Abstaining from food and drink prior to undergoing anesthesia was common knowledge for decades, but in 2015, researchers reevaluated and suggested avoiding food and water prior to surgery may not be so important after all. Your surgeon will very likely have their own recommendations and it’s best you stick to them. If you do slip up and snack or drink after midnight on the eve of your surgery, simply inform your surgeon (or your anesthesiologist, whose job/care it most directly affects.)
25. Don’t shave for 2-3 days (48-72 hrs) prior to surgery
Don’t shave for 48-72 hours before your surgery, unless you’ve been informed that it is okay to do so. There are various opinions and advices on whether to shave prior to undergoing plastic surgery, with many surgeons suggesting it not be done for 48-72 hours pre op, while others say it’s just fine to do so. If your surgeon hasn’t specifically advised you not to shave the treatment area (face, neck, legs, arms, etc.), it’s best not to do so until asking for case-specific advice. Most plastic surgeons recommend that their patients do not shave for 3 days prior to surgery. If you are getting a breast augmentation surgery, this restriction includes not shaving your armpits for three days prior to surgery.
26. Do shower on the night before your surgery
After your surgical procedure, bathing and showering will be more difficult due to the pain and soreness you will be experiencing. Open or unhealed surgical incision sites will also prevent you from showering for a day or two after your surgery (the exact length of time depends on what surgery you had and whether your incisions are healing properly and are fully closed.) With that in mind, you can and should shower on the night before your surgery.
UCLA Health, Medications to Avoid Before Surgery