In at least one respect, plastic surgery’s like any other endeavor in life: The more you prepare for it, the better it’ll go. So, once your surgery’s scheduled, here’s a timeline to help you do just that.
Two weeks before surgery
Two weeks out, read up on your procedure. You probably did a lot of Googling ahead of your initial consultation, and that’s great, but don’t stop there. The premise is pretty simple here: The more you know about something, the less intimidating it becomes.
Don’t worry about trying to understand the medical jargon. Instead, look for descriptions of the surgery and the recovery so that you can start to form expectations for each. Read former patient reviews, and ask your surgeon if they can put you in touch with some former patients. Try to answer questions like these:
- Bruising and swelling are natural, but how long will they last?
- How intense will the discomfort be following the surgery?
- What’s involved in dressing your incisions?
- How long until you’re back to your normal lifestyle?
Those questions are bound to lead to others. Don’t be shy about asking your surgeon. It’s in their best interest to help you feel as comfortable as they can going into your surgery. In the same vein, don’t hesitate to share any concerns, either. You may feel like you’re overreacting, but, remember, your surgeon’s done this procedure hundreds, if not thousands, of times. Which means they’ve likely heard your concerns before.
You’ll also want to begin getting both your home and body in order. Coming back to a clean home is one less stressor. But it’s also a smart move because your mobility’s going to be very limited for at least the first couple of days. So, stock up on food and any necessary supplies, including any pain medications prescribed by your surgeon.
If you drink or smoke, abstain until you’re through your recovery. Both can significantly hinder the healing process. Your surgeon may also recommend that you stop taking certain supplements and medications, including aspirin and ibuprofen.
24 hours before surgery
If your procedure includes IV sedation or general anesthesia, the hospital will instruct you to not eat or drink anything after midnight. If you have prescribed medications you take every day, you can take them with a small sip of water the morning of your surgery.
Also, someone will need to drive you to and from the hospital and, ideally, to look after you for the first day or two after the surgery. You’re mostly going to want to sleep, but you may need some help getting to and from the bathroom and making something to eat.
After your surgery
After the surgery is where your preparation’s going to play its most critical role. When you’re able to prepare yourself for pain and discomfort, you’ll usually find that they’re less than what you expected.
The same goes for your appearance immediately following the procedure. That preparation’s going to help you avoid being judgmental. Before your surgery, you’ll probably scroll through hundreds of before-and-after photos. But they only tell part of the story. You don’t see the bruising and swelling that took place in between.
That’s why, if you have the opportunity, you should talk to other patients who’ve gone through your procedure. They’ll be able to give you a more specific depiction of the recovery. Knowing what to expect will enable you to be easier on yourself. You’ll understand that it’s only temporary, and as long as you take the time to heal, you’ll be back to your normal self, or even better, before long.