Preparing for cosmetic surgery, the pre-operation do's and don'ts

Posted on the 05 September 2013 at 09:48

Taking the step to embark on a cosmetic surgery operation is not something to be taken lightly so it’s important to know what you need to do, and perhaps more importantly what you need to not do, before the day of surgery.

We all know how important it is to research both the cosmetic surgery itself and the surgeon who you will choose to perform the operation before you commit to going under the knife. You need to make the decision in an informed, considered and unhurried fashion, without rushing to secure any kind of ‘deal’ or price based advantage. It is your health we’re talking about here after all; despite the elective nature of cosmetic surgery, it’s still very much a medical procedure.

It’s also important that once you are going ahead with cosmetic surgery that your prepare yourself properly to get the best result from the procedure and to avoid any possible complications. As with most things in life, this boils down to a list of Do’s and Don’ts:


  • If you have plenty of time before your anticipated surgery date, do lead a healthy and active life, try to maintain fitness and not put on weight as this will mean that your body is better able to cope with the stresses put on it by surgery. Avoid crash diets though.
  • Do let your surgeon or the clinic know if you develop an illness in the days prior to your surgery, such as a chesty cough or cold as this could affect your eligibility to be operated on when planned, due to the increased risk of complications. Don’t take any medications to relieve the symptoms of coughs and colds without checking first.
  • It’s important to thoroughly cleanse your entire face and body prior to surgery to reduce unwanted bacteria, so do bath or shower in the evening or morning before your operation.
  • It’s important to feel comfortable so do wear loose fitting clothing to the hospital so you can relax before you are prepared for your operation. The same loose fitting clothing can also be worn when you are discharged to avoid any pressure of the bandaged areas post-surgery. Avoid things which need to be pulled over your head.
  • Do continue to take any medication prescribed by your general practitioner prior to and on the day of your surgery unless you are directed otherwise by your cosmetic surgeon. Always tell your surgeon about any medication you are taking, no matter what it’s for. (Note: if you need to use a small amount of water to take any medication, this will not be a problem in relation to the fasting advice given below.)
  • Do take paracetamol to relieve any pain or discomfort that you are experiencing, for any reason, before your surgery.
  • To help to reduce bruising following your surgery, do take arnica tablets (if you wish). Arnica, a herbal remedy, is available over the counter from pharmacies and health food shops and is routinely recommended by medical practitioners as a supplement to decrease bruising and swelling and to promote healing after surgery and injury.
  • Do purchase, and have ready, any compression garments or post surgery bras recommended to be worn after the procedure if these are not routinely provided by the surgeon or clinic.
  • Do make sure that someone can collect you and take you home once you are discharged following your operation. You will not be able to drive yourself.
  • Do make sure that someone can look after you at home for the first 24 to 72 hours following your surgery; the time frames will depend on the type of surgery you have had and your recovery from it.


  • Ideally give up smoking if having any procedure but especially when undergoing face lifting, Breast uplift / reduction or abdominoplasty.  Don’t smoke for at least four weeks before and  four weeks after your surgery. Smoking has an effect on the bloody supply and is known to slow down the speed of wound healing which may result in serious complications. It can also affect how you cope with and recover from anaesthesia so is best stopped if at all possible.
  • Don’t have anything to eat or drink for at least six hours before your surgery. It can be dangerous to have food and drink in your stomach whilst you are under a general anaesthetic. This is because the natural reflexes of your body are stopped whilst you are under, so there is a risk of vomiting or regurgitation of food if it’s in your stomach; this in turn could spill into your lungs, affecting breathing and causing other damage.
  • Don’t take aspirin or ibuprofen (or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDs) to relieve any pain or discomfort that you are experiencing, for any reason, before your surgery. NSAIDs increase the risk of bleeding so it is recommended to avoid them or stop taking it for at least 10 days before your operation. Use paracetamol instead.
  • Don’t take herbal medications or diet supplements for at least 2 weeks before your surgery, unless you have checked with your surgeon as some such as ginseng and ginko biloba can increase surgical risks. Read more about the dangers of herbal supplements and cosmetic surgery.
  • On the day of your surgery, don’t wear any make-up on your face as it can interfere with the ability of the medical practitioners to monitor you properly during the surgery. Also do not wear nail polish. For example, if your face is covered in foundation they won’t be able to properly assess your skin colour and blood circulation to know if you’ve suddenly gone pale at any point. It is essential to remove any makeup before having surgery as any small granules of mascara could fall in the eye and go undetected whilst you are asleep. This can have the serious effect of causing a corneal abrasion.
  • Don’t wear any contact lenses or jewellery on the day of your surgery. If jewellery cannot be removed, such as a wedding ring, then it will be taped up by the medical team prior to surgery.

Choosing to undergo cosmetic surgery is a life changing decision and you need to be 100% sure that you understand everything about it and the procedure that you are undergoing. Careful research into choosing your surgeon is essential. The great British public spend, on average, longer choosing their bathroom tiles than they do choosing their surgeon” ; says Mr Rajiv Grover, Consultant Plastic Surgeon, President of BAAPS and Advisor to The Consulting Room.

If there is anything that you’re worried about or simply not sure about, such as if you can or can’t do something, then never be afraid to ask. All surgeons want their patients to be at ease and to be fully informed about the process; they will be happy to answer all your questions.

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Blog Comment(s) [1]

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