Preparing For Your Surgery Holiday
what do you need to know and prepare for to get the most from your surgery holiday?
We have asked the advice and recommendations from the experts: straight from the surgeons, nurses and past clients.
Health and Psychological considerations
It has been shown that the most important factor to achieve patient satisfaction following surgery is proper patient selection. This means that not everyone is suitable for cosmetic surgery. We have to have clear guidelines to select suitable candidates and weed out those who will not benefit greatly from surgery.
The ideal candidate for cosmetic surgery is an adult who is physically and mentally healthy, free of any physical or mental illness, and is of normal body weight. She or he must have realistic expectations and is highly motivated for the procedure and aware of what the surgery entails. The candidate must seek surgery only for self-improvement and not for any unrelated relationship goals.
(You may also want to share your plans for surgery with your GP so that they are aware of your intentions.)
Health status and preparation
Cosmetic surgery is only offered to patients free of any major health problems, such as: diabetes, heart disease, respiratory, kidney and liver diseases. The key to faster, seamless recovery is simple – engage in simple fitness, eat healthily and take some supplements that works.
Smokers have a higher chance of developing wound complications and tissue breakdown following surgery. Therefore it is important to discontinue the use of nicotine completely for at least 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after surgery. This includes cigarettes, cigars, nicotine gum, and patches. Nicotine decreases blood flow to the skin after surgery and drastically reduces the body’s response towards healing.
Aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications prior to (and after) surgery thins the blood and can produce excess bleeding and bruising. It is highly recommended to stop taking Aspirin 2 weeks before surgery.
Be sure to read the labels of any over the counter remedies you regularly take as many commonly-used medications contain aspirin. (e.g., Alka Seltzer) For the same reason, also avoid Vitamin E supplements and red wine prior to surgery.
Stop all herbal medications before surgery. The most common herbs used are Echinacea, Ephedra, Garlic, Ginseng, Ginkogo, Kava, St. John’s Wort, and Valerian. They may adversely effect anesthetic drugs, prolong bleeding and impair healing after surgery.
It is best to prepare your body and mind for surgery, and to be in the best possible before your surgery. It is best to prepare your immune system and health by eating fresh, wholesome and non-fatty foods, and exercising every day for a minimum 20 minutes per day. A short walk around the neighborhood, taking your dog for a brisk walk or even some light aerobic/cardio exercise is the best way to improve your fitness levels prior to surgery. You may also consider vitamin and herbal supplements in the months before surgery to ensure your body is at its peak form for proper healing and recovery.
Oral and Topical Supplements
Arnica – Begin using an Arnica supplement at least 7 days prior to surgery and continue for two weeks following surgery. Arnica is a naturopathic remedy that not only helps prevent bruising but also aids in clearing bruising that has occurred faster after surgery. Many clients have recommended Arnica as it helps repair tissue damage, swelling and bruising and promotes healing.
Fish Oil – Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil may help maintain the body’s healthy response to inflammation, preventing the immune response from getting out of hand. Fish oil produces specific anti-inflammatory mediators that ‘cool down’ the inflammatory process and allow blood vessels to heal themselves better.
Zinc – Apart from strengthening the immune system and stimulating the body’s natural healing systems, Zinc is responsible for assisting with over 200 zinc- dependent enzyme functions in the body. Zinc supplements also promotes the healing of skin wounds – something recognised centuries ago by the ancient Egyptians who reportedly used it in a salve on burns. We recommend zinc sunscreens particularly for post face procedures, as it doesn’t get absorbed so quickly into the skin.
Multivitamin – You may begin a good multivitamin supplement at least two weeks or more ideally one month, prior to surgery. A normal dose of vitamins and minerals combined with a diet high in protein provides the necessary building blocks for wound healing.
Vitamin C – A high dose of Vitamin C supplements (minimum 2 grams per day) both before and after surgery is highly recommended. This is the key nutrient needed for making collagen after surgery, which is what heals your tissues together. Because Vitamin C is water-soluble, there is no risk of overdosing on it. What is not used by your body will be excreted in your urine.
Though it is possible to obtain high doses of Vitamin C from citrus fruits and vegetables (you’ll have to consume a large quantity), the next alternative to obtain this vitamin intravenously (IV therapy). Vitamin C in intravenous dosage is helpful when fighting acute and chronic infections, fatigue, pre and post surgery and to generally boost the immune system. You can get intravenous Vitamin C when you return home, there are usually doctors in the major cities who will consult with you.
Retin A – The main ingredient in Retin A is tretinoin, which is the acid form of vitamin A. It works to improve abnormal cell production, often caused by sun damage. The use of Retin A as a topical cream to reduce the appearance of scars has been widely accepted especially for acne scars. Results can usually be seen after just 2 weeks and continuous use of up to 8 weeks later, scars are visibly diminished. As this is a precription drug, it is important that you discuss and that you follow your doctor’s directions precisely.
Vitamin K – You might also consider adding Vitamin K to your diet. This fat-soluble vitamin plays an important role in blood clotting and can be found in whole foods such as spinach, broccoli, and kiwi.
Vitamin E and Bio Oil – Topical applications of Vitamin E and Bio Oil are popular remedies that help improve the appearance of scars, stretch marks and uneven skin tone. Vitamin E creams are touted to minimize scarring and reduce inflammation and can be applied before and after surgery for best results.
For your comfort and better support and results, we recommend you purchase a medical compression garment. We have a very high quality brand from the USA.
You can place an order before you travel if you know exactly what you want, or you can wait until the surgeon recommends what garments are best for you. If you do not want to purchase these, please take good quality sports bras if you are having breast surgery, and long compression tights in a couple of different sizes.
You will be fitted with these by a specialist and you can pay her by cash or credit card.
Dentistry and Non-Surgical Treatments
There are lots of other treatments that you can have throughout your holiday. Most prices for these are 50-75% of the prices that you pay at home.
We advise you to take credit cards, travelers cheques or your own currency, and to change only a small amount of money before your surgery, just to cover small expenses, for any meals or taxis you want in the first day. After your surgery, you can change more money at the hotel or in the shopping centres. Nearly everywhere takes credit card – Visa or MasterCard – for shopping, however you will need cash shopping in the markets or taking taxis.
Credit cards: It is best to pay with your surgery by credit card or cash as Travelers cheques can attract higher fees. Although the hospital and most places do not add fees to credit card transactions, your bank may, so it is important to check with your bank before you depart what the fees and currency conversion rates are.
Before you depart your country, please inform your bank that you will be traveling, as many banks can stop international transactions thinking it is fraud. You are not able to go ahead with surgery until all fees are paid to the hospital, the administration will assist you if you are having problems with your bank, but it is in your interest to ensure that your credit card is approved so not to delay your surgery.
You can avoid this stress completely by choosing to make an international money transfer and save hundreds of dollars.
Cash: do not change money to the local currency before you depart, as there is a limit to the amount of local currency you can bring into the country. If you want to take large amounts of cash, take it in your own currency as travelers cheques and change it when you get to your destination – our managers can also assist you with this by taking you to a safe bank nearby. Please check the currency limit that you bring in to your destination.
Weather conditions at your destination
Tips for packing for your holiday:
- Don’t pack much, the shopping is great and you will probably come back with too much
- Pack light clothing: t-shirts and long shorts, long skirts, button-up tops are best for easy removal. Natural fibres and casual clothing are best to keep you cool for hot, tropical destinations. You may refer to the links on weather conditions above for your destination to help you pack accordingly.
- Malls, restaurants and night spots are all air-conditioned, so you can dress up when you go out.
- Cover-up is necessary to keep scars out of the sun: make sure you have your hats, sunscreen, scarves.
- If you are having any face treatments, bring a scarf for your head and face and big dark sunglasses.
Our destinations receive many tourists year round and are fully accustomed to foreign visitors. From Malaysians to Mexicans, they are extremely friendly people, and you will find they go out of their way to help you. However, you must be aware that all cultures are different in some respects, especially in regards to the understanding of time. For example, you may find that they are not focused on specific appointment times, as they are people orientated rather than time orientated. Please be patient and understand that this is not a reflection on the quality, it is simply a cultural difference.
Along with this, your appointments may be changed at short notice, especially surgery consultations, due to emergency surgeries that the surgeon may have to do. Do not worry about this, your appointment may just be delayed, not canceled, and you will always get your consultation as soon as the surgeon becomes available. All our surgeons are extremely flexible, working at nights and on weekends, so you will always been seen, although not always given a specific time. This flexibility is also beneficial to you, so you can make or change your appointment should you wish at short notice.
Important information on Surgeons
- Consultation cut off is 8pm, so for flights arriving later than 5pm, your appointment will be the following day, even if the following day is your surgery day
- There is a possibility that surgeon time and even date may change occasionally due to emergencies or sickness. Post surgery appointment times can change as well.
- If you come during the major/national holidays like Christmas, Easter, Chinese New Year then please expect delays or less consultations than normal. For full services from GG and no interruptions, please DO NOT book around these days. You may check with your manager regarding the exact days for your destination as it varies year to year, or read this list of public holidays for your destination.
- You may already have a list of questions that you wish to ask your surgeon. Here’s a list we recommend.
Wear loose, comfortable clothing and bring with you:
- Toiletries: toothbrush and paste, towel (most hospitals provide handy disposables now unless you prefer to use your own toiletries)
- No valuables, small amount of money needed only for snacks and drinks
- Reading material – magazines
- Any medications
- Contact lenses or glasses
- Healthy snacks
- Bottled water
- Do not take Vitamin E, Aspirin or Aspirin containing product (some medication such as Motrin and Advil) which could result in excessive bleeding. Some dietary supplements – herbs, mixing herbal medications may cause similar problems.
- Do not smoke or take Nicorette gum and nicotine patches
- Do not eat or have any fluids the night before the surgery.
Depending on the treatments that you have, you will stay between 1-4 nights in hospital. If you are having a tummy tuck, you may have drains for the duration of your stay, which are taken out before discharge. On discharge from the hospital you will be given take home medications, which include:
- Anti-swelling tablets
- Pain relievers
- Sleeping pills
- Rest and relaxation is a definite MUST in the days after surgery – ensure that you don’t do anything too strenuous, including shopping in the first few days – there will be lots of time for this!
- Saunas and heat/cold packs – this is recommended to drain excess fluids naturally. Patients who have 1 or 2 saunas a day and are diligent with applying heat packs (or hot towels) to the affected areas tend to recover quicker than those who do not.
- Gentle walking – it is important to move the body everyday to keep the blood circulating and your spirits up!
- Phoning home and meeting others – in the days after surgery you may feel down with the pain and medication, so it is important in these days to keep your spirits up by meeting other people – the great thing about travelling with GG is that there will be other ladies and men who are going through the same as you! It is great to share a laugh and stories of your adventure, many people have become great friends on their holiday. Don’t hesitate to tell our managers your feelings, they are experienced and can help you should you require.
- Scar fading creme -there are a number of scar healing cremes on the market, you can ask your local chemist or GP about these before you leave. One of the best on the market is Cica-Care – which is a gel combined with patches. The surgeon can also prescribe you a creme and you can purchase this from the hospital or pharmacy. You may also try products from the company Cellex-C. Also, it is best to purchase your Arnica Gel/Creme prior to departing.
On a last note, do remember the 3 Golden Rules:
- No smoking – 4 weeks before and 4 weeks after surgery
- No drinking – 4 weeks before and 4 weeks after surgery
- No sunlight near any wounds/scars
If you have any questions, please ask your GG manager at any time!