So you’ve decided to have cosmetic surgery. You’ve found a surgeon that you are happy with and set a date for the procedure. But your preparation doesn’t stop there. Medical research has shown that optimizing your body appropriately prior to surgery can dramatically improve the overall cosmetic outcome. Consultant Plastic & Cosmetic Surgeon, Mr Siva Kumar, gives tips on how to get yourself prepared for the big day.
A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean meat and whole grains can provide everything your body requires to heal itself after surgery. The carbohydrates provide the body with energy to undertake the intensive healing process, the proteins are the building blocks for new cells and micronutrient are required for new cell and DNA formation. So think about ditching processed or junk foods and try a Mediterranean diet.
Undergoing surgery especially under general anaesthetic can put a strain on your heart and other organs. Moderate exercise on the run up to your operation will keep your heart healthy, lower your blood pressure and improve blood supply to your skin. Aim for at least 30 minutes of brisk walking everyday and build up your stamina slowly.
Smoking (including vapor aids and nicotine replacements) dramatically increases the risk of infection and delays wound healing post-surgery. Nicotine narrows blood vessels, thereby, reducing the amount of blood and nutrients that reaches healing tissue. Research shows that smokers have poorer satisfaction with their surgical scars compared to non-smokers. So think about quitting early in your preparation for cosmetic surgery and wean yourself not just off cigarettes but nicotine replacements also.
It’s important that you take adequate rest and time off work to allow your body to recover from the stress of surgery. Depending on the type of procedure you have undergone, think about the potential help you might require with basic everyday activities such as bathing and dressing. If you have had surgery to the face you may not want venture out of the house until some of the bruising and swelling has settled. Get organized with chores such as grocery shopping and don’t be afraid to ask for help from family and friends. Ensure you get plenty of sleep.
Clients often underestimate the disruptive effect surgery can have on their lifestyle (all be it temporarily). You may miss going to work or socializing with your friends whilst you recover. So plan some interesting activities such as reading some books, watching films and entertaining yourself with games or puzzles. You may want to explore groups and classes offering meditation and mindfulness as a method of channeling positive thoughts and focusing the mind.
Looking after your skin will make a definite difference to your cosmetic outcome. Drinking plenty of water pre- and post- surgery will hydrate your cells. After surgery avoid disrupting the dressings or scabs as it may cause delayed wound healing or infection. Avoid direct sunlight as it may cause the scar to over-pigment whilst it is in the early stages of wound healing and always wear high-factor sun cream. Avoid swimming and only use mild detergents or water around the surgical wound until it is fully healed.