Below outlines some general guidelines on how to prepare for plastic surgery, but be sure to consult with your surgeon for instructions specific to you and your surgery.
Make necessary lifestyle changes
To be eligible for plastic surgery, your surgeon may ask you to:
- Lose weight to ensure the best results and minimize your chances of complications.
- Stop smoking to promote better healing. Your surgeon will tell you how far in advance of your surgery you should quit.
Schedule and attend your pre-operative appointment
Before your procedure (typically within a month of it), you may need to have a pre-operative appointment with your general physician or your surgeon, who will:
- Take a detailed medical history.
- Perform a physical exam to determine your fitness for surgery.
- Provide you with thorough preoperative instructions.
- Discuss medications to begin or stop prior to your surgery and during your recovery.
- Answer any questions you have.
Set up your recovery arrangements
Whether your surgery is inpatient or outpatient and whether you stay overnight at a recovery center depends on many variables. Your board-certified aesthetic plastic surgeon will evaluate your medical issues, the details of your surgery, the length of time your surgery takes, and the availability of a caregiver to determine the best plan for you. No matter what your circumstance, you’ll want to establish a no-fail support system for your surgery and recovery.
- Arrange for someone to drive you to and from your surgery and stay with you at least the first night after your surgery.
- If you don’t have anyone to stay with you, you can hire an at-home nurse or book a stay at a recovery center (see recovery options).
- If you have children less than five years of age, you should arrange for someone to take care of them during your recovery. Consult with your surgeon on how long your recovery will be.
Prepare your home
To help make your recovery more comfortable, you should:
- Stock your refrigerator before your surgery with high-protein, low-sodium foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, and lots of caffeine-free beverages and water. Avoid food and drinks containing salt during your recovery.
- Prepare meals that you can easily reheat.
- Store all the supplies you'll need during your recovery where they're easily accessible (counter level, not in overhead or low cabinets). You may have a limited range of motion after your surgery.
- Stockpile items like your phone, chargers, TV remote, and anything else you may need by your bed.
- Prepare your bed with the necessary pillows you might need for support.
- Get chores out of the way before surgery so you may recuperate with as little worry as possible. You should not be lifting, driving, doing laundry, or cleaning during your recovery from most surgeries.
- Decide what to wear for the first few days, including what you’ll wear the day of your procedure. With some surgeries, you should avoid bending after, so you’ll want to dress accordingly. Pick items that open in front and wear slip-on shoes.
Pack your “hospital” bag
Where you get your surgery (hospital, ambulatory facility, surgical facility), whether you stay overnight, and where you recover (hospital, recovery suite, hotel, home) will impact what you need to bring to make your surgery and recovery more comfortable. Check out our hospital bag checklist for more guidance on what to pack.
Prepare your body
During the days and weeks leading up to your surgery, your surgeon may ask you to:
- Fill any prescriptions you need pre and post-operatively.
- Avoid taking aspirin, certain anti-inflammatory drugs, and some herbal medications that can cause increased bleeding.
- Stop smoking.
- Minimize alcohol consumption.
- Hydrate and eat healthy the weeks before your surgery to promote a safe recovery.
- Eat a light dinner the night before. Typically you can’t have food or beverages after midnight (be sure to consult with your surgeon).
- Shower the night before or the morning of your surgery (it may be a while before your next shower).
- Set your alarm (you likely will need to get up early), and get some sleep!
For more detailed information on how to prepare for your particular procedure, be sure to check out the “preparing for your procedure” section for the procedure you are getting.