Planning for plastic surgery

The Ultimate Patient’s Checklist for Preparing for Plastic Surgery

Preparing for your surgery takes time and thought, whether you’re having one procedure or more. Your surgeon will give you both general and procedure-specific preparations to make up to two weeks before your surgery date, including guidance that’s specific to you. Be sure to follow these instructions to the letter to ensure that your procedure will be safe and that you heal properly.

I give patients a packet of detailed information during their preoperative visit to help in planning for surgery and the recovery time at home afterward. The following is a general checklist for preparing for plastic surgery based on that information.

  • Plan your postsurgery logistics at home. You’ll need to prepare your family to help during your recovery. Consider childcare, where you’ll recover, who will help run the household, and so on.
  • Plan for your absence from work. You’ll recover better if you’re not stressing about what’s going on at work without you. Work with your manager and colleagues to ensure that someone covers your duties while you’re away.
  • Make sure your finances are in order. Patients generally pay in full before their surgery, so be prepared to complete your payment to avoid delaying your procedure.
  • Stop smoking. Do this as soon as you can because smoking impedes healing.
  • Fill prescriptions your surgeon gives you. Doing so in advance of your surgery ensures you’ll have what you need when you arrive home.
  • Finalize transportation details. Someone needs to drive you to and from surgery, but also to possibly be on call to drive you while you’re recovering because you might be in pain medication and shouldn’t drive. You might need to consider car services as an alternative.
  • Confirm your “sitter.” Though not a requirement, most patients like someone to be with them for the first few days after surgery, especially while the anesthesia effects are wearing off. You might need help during this time getting up to use the bathroom or to walk around (which you need to do to avoid clotting).
  • Get your pet care covered. If you’re typically the primary pet care provider, find someone to take over your duties during your initial recovery days.
  • Attend your all-important preoperative appointment. You and your surgeon will discuss the fine details of your surgery preparation at this time, and you can address all of your last-minute questions and concerns. Typically, you’ll cover topics such as the following:
    • Preoperative tests
    • Postsurgery medication and garments you might need
    • Medical history and current medical problems
    • Medications and supplements—which to take and which to stop taking
    • Shopping list of general items you’ll need before and after surgery
    • What to do the day before surgery
    • What to do the day of surgery

The more you plan before your surgery, the less concerns you’ll have while you recover. This is an exciting time for patients, and it’s perfectly normal to have many questions. Don’t be shy about asking your surgeon as many questions as you need to ask to be comfortable about your upcoming surgery.