What you can expect the day of your procedure can vary greatly depending on your specific surgery. Below outlines what you generally can expect, but be sure to consult with your surgeon before your surgery to have the most accurate expectations.
We’ve focused the below on what you can expect during a typical surgical procedure.
Wake up and prep
- Be prepared for an early start. Many surgeries are scheduled pretty early in the morning (like 6 am!). If you’re getting a less invasive or noninvasive procedure or treatment, your procedure will likely be at a more reasonable hour.
- Brush your teeth, don’t wear makeup, wear comfy loose clothes that button up, slip-on shoes.
- Double-check your hospital bag to make sure you have everything you need.
- If you’re getting a surgical procedure, you likely won’t be able to eat or drink anything after midnight (be sure to consult with your surgeon).
- Have someone drive you to your facility, stay in the waiting room during your procedure (if allowed), and be there to help you home and with your immediate recovery.
- You may have your procedure at an accredited hospital, free-standing ambulatory facility, or office-based surgical suite.
- Check-in at the front desk with your ID and fill out any necessary paperwork.
- A nurse or attendant will take you to the pre-op area.
- You’ll change into your surgical gown.
- Your nurse will hook you up to an IV.
- Your surgeon will likely use a marker to mark where he or she will be making incisions, talk you through the process, and answer any last questions you have.
- An anesthesiologist will administer either general anesthesia or local anesthesia with intravenous sedation.
- Your surgeon may also administer medications for your comfort during the surgical procedure.
- Your surgeon will give you an estimate for how long your surgery will last.
- For your safety during the surgery, the medical staff will use various monitors to check your heart, blood pressure, pulse, and the amount of oxygen circulating in your blood.
- After the anesthesiologist administers the anesthesia, your surgeon will begin the procedure and follow the surgical plan discussed with you before surgery.
- Once surgery has begun, your surgeon may decide to combine various techniques or change a technique to ensure the best result. It is important that you feel comfortable and trust your surgeon to make these decisions.
Immediate post-op recovery
- After your surgery, you will go to a recovery area for continued monitoring.
- Depending on your surgery, your surgeon may wrap gauze dressings (bandages) around your surgery area, and you may have to wear a surgical support garment.
- You also may have drainage tubes attached to your surgical areas. Before leaving for home, you (or someone looking after you) should feel capable of emptying and resetting the drains.
Leaving the facility
- If you had an “outpatient” procedure, you might be able to go home after a short observation period.
- If you got general anesthesia, you may need to stay overnight or have a caregiver assist you for the first 24 hours, depending on the plans you and your aesthetic plastic surgeon agree on for your immediate postoperative recovery.
- Once you leave the facility where you received your surgery, you may continue your recovery at home or go to a recovery center (see recovery options).
If you are getting a noninvasive treatment (such as fillers, botulinum toxin, laser hair removal, or microdermabrasion), your day won’t be as extensive. Noninvasive treatments are usually quicker, require less prep and minimal recovery time. However, results are not as long-lasting as surgical treatments.
Alternatively, if you are getting a very invasive procedure or bundling surgeries (such as plastic surgery after dramatic weight loss, plastic surgery post-pregnancy, or facial rejuvenation), your day may be more extensive. Bundled procedures can take longer, require additional prep and result in a longer recovery time. However, bundled procedures allow for some cost efficiencies and a single downtime versus having separate surgeries.