General Preoperative Instructions
1. Diet Pills
If you take any type of diet pill, whether prescription or over-the-counter, it must be discontinued one month prior to surgery; diet pills can interfere with anesthesia and cause heart problems during surgery.
In general, the better shape you're in, the better your body will tolerate surgery - you'll have less risk of complications, and heal more quickly. Walking is one of the best types of exercise, and if you are able, it's best to work up to walking a mile a day prior to surgery. (If you have a heart condition please check with your medical doctor or cardiologist about what exercise would be best for you.)
If you smoke, you're probably tired of hearing that it's bad for you. Well, sorry - it is bad, and stopping is probably the best thing you can do for your body. If you are considering elective plastic surgery, you should know that there are many cosmetic procedures we will not perform on patients who smoke. It's not because we're unkind, but because tobacco products introduce an unacceptable level of risk.
If you need reconstructive surgery (for instance, you've just had a skin cancer removed from your nose), we may have fewer reconstructive options, and may need to alter our treatment plan or delay surgery if you smoke. Smoking also increases the risk of reconstructive failure, such as a skin graft that doesn't take, or a flap that dies.
Why is tobacco bad? The main problem is the nicotine that a smoker inhales. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, which means it causes blood vessels to constrict or tighten. The large blood vessels stay open, but have more resistance, which contributes to high blood pressure. The smallest blood vessels, the capillaries, can be completely shut off by nicotine. When a part of your body has just had surgery, it needs more blood not less. Therefore smoking interferes with wound healing, and can even cause tissue loss or contribute to infection. This is one reason why someone who smokes often looks older than a nonsmoker of the same age - day after day, year after year, their skin gets less blood than it needs.
Here are two links you might find useful: Smoking and Cancer and Some advice on quitting.
4. Two weeks before surgery
- Please do not take ASPIRIN or medicines which contain aspirin, as it can interfere with normal blood clotting.
- Please do not take IBUPROFEN, as it too can interfere with blood clotting.
- You may take TYLENOL or medicines which contain Tylenol (acetaminophen).
- Please discontinue any herbal medications. Many have side effects which can interfere with surgery.
- It is a good idea to start a daily multivitamin, and continue this for a month after surgery.
- Please let us know right away if you develop a cold, or any kind of infection.
5. Three days before surgery
- If your surgery involves an implant, we may ask you to use two products, a mouthwash and a body-wash, containing the antiseptic Chlorhexidine. Please begin using these three days before surgery, as they help lower your risk of infection. The mouthwash should be used after each meal, and the body-wash once a day. Avoid getting either product in your eyes or ears. Please CONTINUE using the mouthwash for a week after surgery.
- Otherwise, please use an antibacterial soap, such as Dial or Safeguard, for daily bathing.
- Eating yogurt (or taking probiotic pills) daily can help prevent antibiotics from causing stomach upset or diarrhea - so you might want to have some on hand.
- Please be sure you have someone available to drive you home after surgery.
If you are having anything more than local anesthesia, you MUST have a responsible adult to stay with you the night of surgery.
6. The night before and the day of surgery
- Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your surgery.
- You may take regular medications that morning with a sip of water. (Please ask us if you take medicine for diabetes.)
- You may brush your teeth the morning of surgery (in fact, please do).
- Please take a good shower with your antibacterial soap, and shampoo your hair.
- It is best that you NOT wear any makeup, or use any hair gels, body lotions, or perfumes.
- Please wear or bring clothing that you don't have to pull over your head.
If you wear glasses, please bring an eyeglass case to put them in. You should not wear contacts.