So, You’ve Scheduled Your Surgery. Now What?

Side close-up view of two people's hands resting on a table across from one another.

Deciding to undergo plastic surgery is the first major step in reaching your aesthetic goals. However, this decision is just the tip of the iceberg—you must understand and follow your physician’s instructions to ensure a smooth cosmetic journey. As a double board-certified plastic surgeon in Albany, NY, I encourage questions and try to educate my patients about the surgical process as much as possible. This post is meant to be a cheat sheet for everything you need to know about before and after your surgery.

Payment for Surgery

When deciding on a surgeon, do not be fooled by shockingly low prices. First of all, though price is often a factor when choosing a surgeon, it should not be the main factor. Instead, quality of the surgeon should be the top priority. Secondly, low prices can be misleading because they often only include physician fees. In reality, the overall cost includes not only a physician fee, but also a facility fee and an anesthesia fee.

These fees will be paid to separate people, so it is important to keep track of the paperwork that provides the details. It may also be good to note that all payments are due 10 days prior to your surgery and that a deposit is required to schedule your surgery date.

Medication Instructions

Your prescriptions will be sent to your chosen pharmacy about a week before your surgery. I recommend picking them up at least a day or so before your surgery date. This way you will have everything set when you get home from your procedure, and you can focus on resting.

You can expect to get pain medication, antibiotics, and anti-nausea medication. The nurses at the surgery center will instruct you on when to start your medications after surgery.

Pre-op Instructions

You will be given detailed pre-surgery instructions that start over a week before surgery, all the way up to the day of your procedure. In the days leading up to your surgery, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle—eat a balanced diet, avoid harmful UV rays, stop smoking, etc. Additionally, you should arrange for a close friend or family member to drive you home after surgery and assist you during your recovery.

Like all surgeries, you may not eat or drink anything the night before and the day of the procedure. Remove all makeup, contacts, or jewelry prior to surgery. Also, wear loose-fitting clothing so you are as comfortable as possible.

Recovery Tips

Keep these instructions in a safe place so you have them handy during your recovery if you need a refresher. Some of the basics of a speedy recovery include getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated, and walking around as soon as possible. Light activity will help promote good blood flow after your procedure.

A lymphatic massage is designed to diminish swelling, improve blood flow, detoxify the body, and reduce any discomfort.  I recommend scheduling your first massage 1 week after surgery, with about 3 to 6 follow-up appointments spaced 1 week apart for best results.

I also tell all my patients about Arnica, a natural supplement used to treat severe bruising, inflammation, joint pain, etc. Arnica gel or pills can help soothe swelling and soreness associated with your procedure.

Lastly, to soften, smooth, and minimize the appearance of scars, I advise patients to use SkinMedica® Scar Recovery Gel or BIOCORNEUM®. Usage should begin immediately after the steri strips come off.

The most important thing to remember is to communicate with your surgeon. Do not be afraid to express any questions or concerns. See my previous blog post about when to call your surgeon after a breast surgery for more information. If you are interested in plastic surgery and want to discuss your options, request a consultation or give us a call at (518) 328-3330.

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