In the last article, we talked about some of the emotional changes you’ll go through when deciding about and then having an elective plastic surgery. Now let’s talk about some of the physical aspects that will impact your results.
Be in good shape
First, for most surgeries, it’s best if you are at or near your goal weight and it should be a weight that you can maintain. Why? Dramatic changes in weight - either up or down - can significantly alter your results, something I discuss with every patient.
Even though the weight should be one you can maintain, you also preferentially want to have a BMI that is at most in the overweight range (30 or below).
“Why? I’m coming to you to get that fixed!” you say. Understood. But there are several reasons that having a healthy weight and diet is important. First, the higher your BMI (a charted measure derived from your height and weight), the more likely you are to have wound healing issues, delaying it months before you see your final new look.
For the second point, let’s use a tummy tuck as an example. The more you have excess skin vs excess fat to be removed, the easier it is to get a tight, flat tummy. And that is, after all, what you wanted in the first place.
This is non-negotiable in my practice. If you are planning to have anything other than the most minor mole removal (and even that can become an issue with smokers), you cannot smoke one month before or after your surgery. Nicotine makes blood vessels constrict. When you add the stress of moving skin away from its natural blood supply - which is, after all, just what plastic surgery does - you run the very high risk of disastrous healing.
How serious am I about this? I have cancelled surgeries because a patient thought they could continue to smoke up until the procedure.
Eat healthy food
This one is for you. You want to eat a diet that has good protein sources, green and starchy vegetables, and healthy fats such as olive and coconut oil. You’ll feel better during your recuperation and you’ll heal faster. I’ve had patients who continued to eat this way afterwards who came in for their one year visits looking even better than when they first had their surgery! Ask us if you need suggestions on how to incorporate this.
Expect to move after surgery
I know it hurts. I’ve had surgery as well. Staying in bed, though, doesn’t really make you feel better and it markedly increases your risks of complications such as blood clots. Moving early also helps you…well…move. There’s always prune juice for those of you who don’t.
But take time for your body to rest
I absolutely do want you to move, even the day of surgery. But for those of you who don’t know how to take a break, this point is for you. Surgery and general anesthesia takes a hit on your body. Acknowledge that and respect your body when it tries to tell you it needs a break. Don’t schedule your house move for the week after your breast surgery (and yes, this has happened!).
I tell most people who are having a surgery under general anesthesia to plan on taking at least a week off. This time increases for those who have physically demanding jobs and no option for light or restricted duty.
How do you recognize your body’s signals? If you find yourself falling asleep early afternoon or just dragging through the day, accept that you need more rest and get to bed a little earlier. If you can, nap when you have to. Pushing yourself beyond these limits in the early healing process doesn’t help you heal any faster, and may even result in injuries.
Get ready for great results!
Just as I said last time, if you follow the above recommendations, you’re at the top of the class! Not only will you make my job as your plastic surgeon easier, you’ll be the ideal plastic surgery patient, with the spectacular results you want and deserve.
Choosing plastic surgery is a big decision. Please feel free to review a few important articles we've written. We're here to answer your questions.