Though your surgeon should provide you with a specific preoperative checklist, this is a general guideline for what you can expect.
Two to Three Weeks Prior to Surgery:
- Stop taking medications and drugs as defined by your surgeon. These may include but are not limited to the following: aspirin and other blood thinning supplements and vitamins; anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen, Alleve, or Motrin; and Vitamin E. If you have any questions about medications that you are taking, be sure to ask your surgeon.
- Stop smoking and limit your exposure to second-hand smoke.
Two Weeks Prior to Surgery:
- Stop drinking all alcoholic beverages.
- Start taking any supplements and/or vitamins as recommended by your surgeon. This may include Iron supplements if you are having major liposuction.
- Begin any specific preoperative diet your surgeon may recommend. This may include a low-sodium diet or the restriction of unfavorable carbohydrates.
- Complete any lab tests which need to be done and make sure the results are sent to your surgeon.
- Fill any prescriptions prescribed by your surgeon. These may include antibiotics and/or pain medication for after the surgery. You may want to get a pill case with a time chart for taking medications.
One Week Prior to Surgery:
- Make arrangements for someone to take you to and from surgery as you will not be able to do so yourself.
- If your surgery is to take place in a hospital and you have not yet called the admitting department to confirm your arrangements, do so now.
- If you have children or pets, make arrangements for their care during preoperative and surgical visits.
- If necessary, arrange for someone to care for you for at least the first 24 hours following surgery, possibly longer. This may involve hiring a nurse. Make sure this person has read both the preoperative and postoperative care instructions provided by your doctor.
- Plan meals for up to 2 weeks following surgery. This may include preparing and freezing meals. You may also want to consider quick snacks such as soup, jell-o, applesauce, protein shakes, yogurt, cottage cheese, oatmeal, and juice. Have flexible straws for easier drinking. Consult your doctor with any questions about post-operative nutrition.
- Purchase a thermometer, antibacterial soap, dressings, gauze, or any other post-operative necessities.
- If necessary, have hair and nail appointments at this time or before.
- Pay any bills that will be due during your recovery and take care of banking matters.
- Clean your house if necessary and arrange for any housekeeping services needed during your recovery.
- Get proper nutrition and rest.
- For facelift surgery, men should let their sideburns grow.
- Notify your surgeon if you develop any skin infections or other irregularities on or around your anticipated surgery site, or if you otherwise become ill. Early treatment may help to prevent cancellation of the surgery.
Three Days Prior to Surgery:
- Stop using any skin creams, such as Retin-A, per your doctor’s orders.
- Stop any exercise as recommended by your surgeon.
- Prepare ice-packs to help reduce post-operative swelling.
- You may want to place a small stool in your shower for easier showering. These can be rented from a local medical rental company.
- If prescribed by your surgeon, take Vitamin K and/or Arnica medication to help decrease post-operative bruising.
- For facial surgery, your doctor may recommend that you scrub your face thoroughly two times daily, paying special attention to the area behind the ears.
- For breast surgery, your doctor may prohibit you from shaving under the arms.
The Night Before Surgery:
- Do not eat or drink anything after midnight, including coffee, tea, water, gum, mints, hard candy, or lozenges. Your doctor will provide specifics on food and drink intake.
- Take any antibiotics prescribed by your surgeon.
- Shower and wash your hair as usual. Do not use hair gel or mousse, or hairspray.
- Set up a home recovery area. These may include pillows, books, magazines, television and remote control, videos, favorite CDs, telephone, journal, stationery, humidifier, hot water bottles or heating pads, a bucket in case of vomiting, and/or a bell or other device for requesting help.
- If you will be staying overnight in the hospital, pack a bathrobe, slippers, favorite pillow, toothpaste, comb or brush, and prescribed medications.
The Day of Surgery:
- It may be okay to shower and wash your hair as usual in the morning. Ask your surgeon. Do not use hair gel or mousse, or hairspray.
- Do not wear makeup, moisturizer, lipstick, deodorant, nail polish, or hairpins.
- Brush your teeth and rinse with mouthwash, taking care not to swallow any liquids.
- If you wear contact lenses, eyeglasses, or dentures, bring the case with you and be sure that your name is clearly printed on it.
- Do not wear jewelry or other valuables.
- Leave your purse at home if possible.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes, pants with an elastic waist band, a button-up shirt, and flat, slip-on shoes. Do not wear jeans, sweaters, jump suits, pantyhose, or girdles.
- Bring an extra pair of underpants.
- Bring sunglasses, scarf, or hooded sweatshirt to wear when you leave the hospital if you so desire.
- Do not drive or take a taxi; have someone to drive you there and back.
Drugs Which Your Surgeon May Require You To Stop Taking:
Your surgeon will give you specific instructions, but in general you will need to stop taking certain drugs for two weeks prior to and two weeks following surgery. Be sure to inform your surgeon of any and all medications and drugs that you are taking. If you have any questions, ask your surgeon. Drugs which you may be required to stop taking can include the following:
There are certain diet drugs which you may be required to avoid as well. These can include the following:
Phentermine/ Fenfluramine (Phen Fen)
Pre and Postoperative Diets:
Your doctor may suggest that you follow a clear liquid, full liquid, or soft diet for a specified period of time following your surgery, and possibly prior to your surgery. This will generally be for one to two days before and/or after surgery.
- A clear liquid diet may include decaffeinated coffee and tea, clear broth, apple juice, cranberry juice.
- A full liquid diet may include milk shakes, soft ice cream, cream of tomato soup, clam chowder, fruit juice.
- A soft diet may include cottage cheese, oatmeal, cream of wheat, bananas, tuna, rice, custard, pudding, jell-o, spaghetti.