Depending on your personal tastes, “planning” can either be an exciting word or an awful one. Some people enjoy making lists, getting organized, and thinking ahead, while others enjoy being more spontaneous. Whichever type of person you normally are, the fact is that planning ahead is one of the keys to a successful plastic surgery – including my most popular procedures, face lifts and Band Aid Mini Facelifts. But don’t worry – as a double board-certified plastic surgeon, I’m happy to offer some tips and tricks to help you prepare.
- Do your homework. Specifically, this applies to choosing a surgeon and a procedure. Look for a board-certified plastic surgeon (if you only see the words “plastic surgeon” or “cosmetic surgeon,” they may not have all the rigorous education, testing, and years of experience requirements needed for board certification) and feel free to consult with several surgeons before you find one who makes you feel comfortable.
- Plan your resting space. After surgery, you’ll need to keep your head elevated at around a 30-45 degree angle while lying down during the early stages of your recovery. Either plan to use a comfortable recliner or prepare your bed using a wedge pillow or several comfortable pillows you can use to elevate your head.
- Evaluate your medicine cabinet. In addition to filling any prescriptions you may need (such as pain medication and antibiotics), you may also want to stock up on over-the-counter medications, because the medicine you normally take (like aspirin, certain other pain relievers, and specific herbal and nutritional supplements) may interfere with your body’s healing process and affect your plastic surgery results.
- Have your support system ready to go. It’s important to have family and friends available, not only for emotional support but for all the little things you may not be able to do for the first few days, such as transportation, shopping, child care, cooking, and cleaning.
- Stop smoking. Many patients underestimate the impact smoking has on recovery. By impairing your circulation, it limits your body’s ability to heal, which increases your risk for complications while also slowing your recovery and potentially limiting the quality of your results.
- Have soft food ready to go. To give your face an opportunity to rest, we generally recommend soft foods that require little or no chewing for the first 24 hours after a face lift. However, some patients need or choose to stay on a soft diet for longer, so it’s a good idea to stock up on soft foods before your procedure, especially those that require little preparation.
- Have everything you need at an easy-to-access level. You shouldn’t bend down, lift, or strain yourself after surgery, so do an inventory of everything you should need to access during your healing period and place all of it around the height of your waist or chest.
- Get a nightlight or flashlight. In case you need to make your way to the bathroom or elsewhere in your dark home at night, make sure you have a way to see where you’re going so you don’t fall or otherwise injure yourself.
- Follow all other pre-surgical instructions. Every plastic surgery patient is unique, so be sure to follow the detailed instructions I provide to you for preparing for your procedure, because these can vary based on your specific medical needs and the surgery you’re receiving. You should also review the post-surgical instructions so you can ask me any questions you may have and ensure that your spouse, friend, or anyone else who is helping with your recovery understands what they’ll need to do.
- Keep in communication with your plastic surgeon. Ask any and all questions you may have before your surgery so you have the knowledge, information, and peace of mind to help your procedure and your recovery be successful.
Even if planning and preparation isn’t exactly your idea of a good time, taking the right steps before plastic surgery can go a long way towards helping you have the safest and most successful possible results. To start discussing whether a facelift may be the best choice for you and how you can get the results you’re looking for, schedule a consultation with me, Dr. John LeRoy. Or, for more plastic surgery tips and helpful information, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.