Effective preparation for surgery has been shown to reduce recovery times and improve surgical outcomes. Whether it’s a breast surgery, abdominoplasty, facelift or any other plastic surgery procedure here are a few things you can do to make your experience smoother and in some cases less painful. We chatted to Dr Matthew Peters from Valley Plastic Surgery in Brisbane about some tips and tricks for preparing for surgery.
Being in optimum health is one of the best things you can do for yourself before having any type of surgery. Dr Peters says, “ A healthy diet, regular exercise and vitamins can help to reduce bruising and swelling after surgery, and improve how your wounds heal.”
Dr Peters also recommends his patients use post operative garments as well as silicone gel and tape to promote healing. “I recommend the use of silicone gel to protect fresh scars, foundation with sun protection to eliminate damage and high quality skin cleansers to help manage inflamed wounds. All patients are fitted with garments to help minimise swelling and support the area post-operatively. ”
If you are taking supplements or any sort of prescribed medication you may be advised to STOP taking some of them. Some nutritional supplements are recognised to have a negative impact on surgery and cause prolonged bleeding or other reactions. It’s essential that you talk to your surgeon and let them know of all supplements and medications you are on and work out a plan to ensure you’re giving your body the best chance it has to reduce risk and maximise healing.
Smoking is one of the worst things you can do in the lead up to your surgery. It increases the risks and complications of surgery; in fact, some plastic surgeons go so far as to refuse to operate on anyone who has smoked in the three months before their surgery.
There are many things you won’t be able to do in the hours and days after your surgery. Having a plan in place for appropriate home support can make a huge difference to your recovery post opertively. As general rule you should avoid lifting anything heavy (this includes your kids!) and vigorous exercise although keeping mobile and active within pain can help with your recovery. Have some pre-cooked meals ready to go, have someone to help with the kids (if you can’t organise for them to stay at a relative’s house for a few days or your partner has to work and can’t take time off) and reach out to family and friends to help around the house. Things like ice packs, dry shampoo, electronics and chargers (for communication and entertainment), extra pillows, medications, scar gels and moisturiser are just a few of the things you’ll be happy you have within arm’s reach.
If you don’t have anyone to be a support person (or perhaps you don’t want anyone to know about your surgery), or sometimes it’s just easier to have someone unrelated to help, or someone who’s been through a similar experience – there are Concierge Services where you can arrange someone to be there for you throughout your recovery; as much or as little as you need.
It can also help a lot to talk to other patients going through the same thing. Plastic Surgery Hub’s private Facebook support group, Plastic Surgery Support Forum for Aussie Chicks, is a great group to join to share your journey, ask other patients any questions that you might feel embarrassed asking your surgeon, or just to feel connected to others going through a similar process.
Dr Peters says it’s also extremely important to follow your surgeon’s instructions. “Your surgeon should have given you specific instructions to follow to ensure optimal recovery from your procedure. It’s important to read and follow these, as they can make the difference between a successful procedure and an unsuccessful one. I make myself available to all of my patients and make sure they know they can contact me or my staff at ANY time should they have any concerns.”
To hear some patient stories from Dr Matthew Peters check out the blogs below. If you’d like to know more about him you can head to his website or phone his clinic on (07) 3488 8118.