Plastic surgery is still surgery

Whether it is a few punctures in the eye to make an eye crease (double eyelid) or a difficult and painful procedure like two jaw surgery, it is very important to remember that plastic surgery is still surgery, and therefore that pre-surgery care is still very important.  Often people are under the misconception that plastic surgery is different, or less serious/invasive, than a general surgery like a knee replacement or rotator cuff surgery.  A surgery is defined as: “the treatment of injuries or disorders of the body by incision or manipulation, especially with instruments”, so we can clearly see there is no difference in making a cut for breast implants or for gallbladder. Doing, or not doing in some cases, necessary pre-operation tasks are just as important as post-procedure care.

Have you ever wondered why you should stop drinking water the night before your surgery or why it is better to wear comfortable clothes going to the hospital? The answer are all rather simple, lets take a look.

The dos

Stop taking non-prescribed medication – The reason for this is that anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen, Naprosyn and aspirin are believed to make the blood thinner which could cause you to bleed more during and after your surgery. More bleeding means the recovery process is slower and more difficult. It must be noted that a recent study published in Plastic surgery and reconstructive surgery suggests that ibuprofen does not increase the risk of bleeding and in fact it might aid in pain management. The main reason why most doctors still recommend you to steer clear from such medication is more of a safety precaution. Just a case of ‘rather safe than sorry’.

Disclose to staff current medication you are on – Similarly as with non-prescribed medication, it is also very important to inform your surgeon or nurse of other medication you are taking, such as hormone medication, birth control etc. Reason being that these medications may in some cases cause some type of interference with the anesthesia. Obviously these are rare occurrences and disclosing of this information is just for safety reasons. It also allows the doctor to conduct himself in the most informed manner possible.

Disclose previous medical conditions and surgeries – When you injure yourself it leaves a scar and getting surgery is no different, it leaves you with scars on the inside and outside of the body. These scars might change the approach that a surgeon takes when preparing to perform a surgery. Additionally if a surgeon is made aware of previous illnesses or medical conditions it puts them in a better position to evaluate a patient’s reaction to certain procedures and allows them to change anesthesia dosage according to past tolerance.

Fast before your procedure – This one everyone knows not to do, but nobody knows why. The reason why you should not eat or drink before a surgery is once again to do with anesthetic. When the body is under the influence of anesthetic certain functions temporarily stop working. One of these functions is your natural reflex. If you were to vomit it could spill over into the lungs and this may cause lung damage and affect breathing. In serious cases it might cause choking as well.

The don’ts

Wear tight-fitting clothes – This one is pretty straightforward. Loose fitting clothes will be easy to put on if someone has to help you get dressed. It is way more comfortable to wear clothes that fit loosely after you have had your procedure.

Smoking and drinking – Yes it may seem obvious but it is worth overstating. Do not smoke or drink before your scheduled procedure. Smokers may experience greater scarring and in some cases smokers have been found to heal at a slower rate. Smokers may also have respiratory issues that could affect them during induction of anesthesia.  Alcohol is another thing that you should refrain from, and if you have alcohol dependency issues be sure to notify your surgeon. Alcohol dependence causes people to become less sensitive to pain medication and therefore might have an impact on the way the body responds to anesthesia.

Makeup, jewelry and piercings, and contact lenses – The simple reason jewelry and piercings need to be removed is that they can get in the way during a procedure. In order for the surgeon to perform the best job possible they need to operate without any obstruction or hindrance. The main reason it is required to remove contacts is that keeping them in during surgery may cause corneal abrasion. This is when the contact scratches the cornea and it can lead to a significant amount of discomfort and pain. With regards to makeup, as stated earlier, the body’s reflex function is temporarily down so if makeup particles get into the eyes, it can cause injury.