- You must be open about allergies
It’s important to tell your surgeon if you have sensitive skin and if you have any known allergies, as some dressings or medications contain ingredients which you may react to e.g. latex.
Even telling your surgeon about minor past reactions from silver or nickel in jewellery, bra clips, watch straps or waistbands, can provide them with useful insights about potential allergens.
Most allergic reactions are minor but can be uncomfortable and in some cases may need extra treatment like topical corticosteroids or antihistamines. So, it can be worth pre-empting and discussing any concerns with your surgeon in advance.
- You need to watch your BMI
Results are best for cosmetic procedures if your body mass index is under 30.
If someone is overweight or obese and planning to have surgery, it’s important to be aware that excess weight can possibly put the body under more strain and at risk of certain side effects and complications. These can result from the surgery itself or the anaesthesia which may be needed.
Being overweight also increases the risk of obstructive sleep apnoea, which can be a complicating factor in the administration of general anaesthesia. Anyone prone to this already must tell their surgeon during a consultation, so they can tailor surgery to individual needs.
Improving your health before surgery can help make it as safe as possible, decrease chances of complications and help you get back on your feet faster.
- You must quit cigarettes and cut back on alcohol
Many people don’t realise the importance of stopping smoking, before, and after surgery.
Nicotine causes the blood vessels to constrict, reducing them in size and restricting blood supply to organs and tissues which can slow down a wound’s healing post-surgery.
The complication rate risk for smokers has been reported to increase and according to a recent study, smokers needed 33 per cent more anaesthesiaduring an operation and 23 per cent more pain medication afterwards, compared to non-smokers.
The general advice is to stop completely for six weeks before and six weeks after surgery which includes all nicotine-containing products too.
Doctors also recommend cutting out alcohol one to two weeks before surgery, due to possible interaction with anaesthesia and increased risks of bleeding.
- Extra care is needed if you have certain health conditions:
If you are scheduled for surgery, make sure your asthma is well controlled before it takes place, as this minimises the possibility of an asthma flare-up before or during surgery.
Make sure you have a check-up with your doctor at least a week before the surgery to make sure you’re in the best possible health for a procedure to take place.
Those with more acute asthma may need to take inhaled bronchodilators, inhaled corticosteroids, or steroids by mouth before surgery to manage their symptoms better and ensure surgery is as safe as possible.
If you are diabetic then hyperglycemia (high blood glucose) or hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) could be an issue after surgery and wound healing could be slower and infection a greater risk.
However, the better you control your diabetes, the better your chances of an excellent surgical outcome. Keeping your blood glucose within the parameters your doctor recommends is key, as is optimum nutrition.
Make sure you eat lots of high-quality protein, which can help contribute to faster wound healing. It is important to try and keep stress to a minimum as well because this can elevate your blood glucose levels.
- Consider emotional aspects, too
Cosmetic surgery doesn’t just come with physical implications, there are important emotional aspects to consider as well.
Surgery can be nerve-wracking for anyone so even the most prepared of us can feel anxious in the run-up to it.
Worry, lack of sleep and recuperation that may include some pain, fatigue and swelling can be difficult to deal with physically andemotionally, so it’s important to be prepared.
Your surgeon has a duty of care to protect your emotional wellbeing, as well as your physical safety before surgery. If you’ve experienced mental health issues in the past, they may ask you to consider psychological screening first, prior to any surgery. This is a precautionary measure, so your surgeon has a second professional opinion on how well you understand the implications of surgery and if you will be able to cope with unexpected outcomes.
Your surgeon is responsible for providing you with honest and detailed information in your consultation, as to what your procedure will entail and what the recovery process will be like. They should do everything they can to ensure you are both physically and mentally prepared for a procedure.
Genuine online reviews can also be helpful here too, as you can read up about other people’s experiences and make a good judgement call as to whether surgery is right for you, what type of additional support you may need and how to access it post-procedure.
- Consider your post-surgery care, too
Health considerations are not only important prior to surgery, but also after surgery too. Note that after surgery you will need a constant caregiver for up to 48 hours after a procedure, who will be instructed by your surgeon and his/her team to assist with medication and any post-operative care.
Organising care for your children or pets is also highly recommended. Ask a relative, friend or enlist the services of a professional so you can focus on recovery.
- Most importantly, find the right surgeon foryou
The more scrupulous, face-to-face time that surgeons have with a patient, the better. Your chosen cosmetic surgery practice has a duty of care to support you every step of the way from the initial first consultation all the way through to the final stages of post-operative care.
They should be honest with you about what surgery could entail, and proactively make sure you are as prepared as possible, with realistic expectations. The latest GMC guidelines highlight that all cosmetic surgeons must give patients time for reflection and that patients need to have the time and information about risks, to decide whether to go ahead with a procedure.
The most reputable cosmetic surgeons are members of the representative bodies for maintaining excellent professional standards, such asBAAPSorBAPRAS.
A cosmetic surgery practice should never try to rush you into deciding or try to influence your decision by offering any last-minute ‘deals’ or discounts.