Summary: Surgery can be a pretty stressful event. And when we encounter stress, sometimes we’re tempted to fall back on some bad habits. However, these are some things you should stop doing before your surgery, especially if they are your own bad habits.
Some Things You Should Stop Doing Before Your Surgery (Bad Things)
We all have some bad habits. It’s human nature. In fact, you could write a whole essay (or book) on how vice is an essential aspect of humanity. But there are certain vices—certain habits—that simply do not mix well with plastic surgery. That’s why we’re going to take a look at some things you should stop doing before your surgery—sometimes well before and sometimes just before.
It’s also worth saying that, regardless of what you read here, you should always listen to your doctor. That is, your surgeon is always going to be the best source of information when it comes to changing your habits or behaviors. And that’s to be expected.
In other words, take this list as somewhere to start, not as a definitive authority (even if we are, admittedly, pretty smart).
Step Number One: You Really Should Quit Smoking
When it comes to long term habits you should drop before your surgery, smoking cigarettes (or other tobacco products) is likely going to be at the top of the list. There are all kinds of reasons why smoking is bad for you in general, but there are some issues that apply specifically to surgery (plastic or otherwise). Those issues include:
- Slowing the recovery process: When you’re smoking your body is taking longer to heal. This could compromise your entire recovery process (and prolong any discomfort you may feel)
- More likely to scar: When your recovery process is compromised, you are more likely to develop a scar because of your procedure. These scars can be quite pronounced in smokers, whereas in non-smokers, scar tissue tends to fade quite nicely.
- Complicate the sedation process: Smoking has a big impact on how you breath. And how you breath is something that anesthesiologists are constantly thinking about and trying to calculate.
It used to be that your surgeon might suggest you switch to e-cigarettes (or “vaping”) for the duration of your procedure, but that recommendation is quickly disappearing. Most surgeons will now request that you quit smoking altogether, including from “vaping” devices.
Step Number Two: Avoid Making Any Big Changes to Your Diet
When a surgeon plans a given procedure, he or she is using your body as a kind of template, as a starting place. The changes the surgeon makes will be quite precise, because the idea is to make those changes look natural.
This means that everything has to work in harmony. Such harmony can be difficult to accomplish if, for example, your weight suddenly changes. That’s why most surgeons will ask that you achieve a stable (it doesn’t necessarily have to be idea, it just has to be stable) weight before your procedure. This means you should avoid, for example, beginning your big marathon training push until after you’ve recovered from your procedure. That might seem like common sense, but, well, it’s still worth saying.
Step Number Three: Avoid Alcohol
Having a glass of wine a week or two before your procedure isn’t going to be a big deal. But you should avoid large amounts of alcohol before your actual procedure. It seems obvious to say that you should not show up to your surgery drunk or hung over, but I can also imagine it happening (some people use alcohol to deal with nerves, after all).
But alcohol can have profound effects on your blood chemistry (including your blood’s ability to clot—not something you want to mess around with during a surgical procedure). Even for minor procedures, surgeons will generally ask patients to avoid the intake of alcohol.
This restriction on booze will generally last well into recovery. In part, that is because alcohol negatively effect’s your body’s ability to heal itself (just as with tobacco), but it’s also because alcohol can react with commonly prescribed pain management substances.
The whole thing can become a rather dangerous cocktail. Better to avoid it altogether.
Listen to Your Surgeon
Of course, you’ll want to ensure that you follow your surgeon’s instructions to the letter. No one knows you, your procedure, and what your recovery will look like better than your surgeon.
It helps to keep in mind that you aren’t being asked to give up these vices out of spite or jealousy or anything silly like that. Rather, you’re being asked to give up these vices because it’s the best way to help you get the results you’re after and the results you’re investing in. These are just some things you should stop doing before your surgery.