Planning, Preparation and Aftercare
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.