The DOs & DON’Ts of Cosmetic Surgery Recovery = HOW TO PREPARE


With my own patients, a big chunk of our pre-surgery consultation time is spent going over the all-important recovery process. The particulars I give to each patient vary, depending on procedure, lifestyle, and medical history. However, there are some universal DOs and DON’Ts that all patients should adhere to when recovering from cosmetic surgery. In this first article I will talk about how to prepare for your upcoming surgery. 

DO eat a balanced diet filled with nutritious whole foods.

A healing body needs extra nutrients, so the sooner you nourish your body with quality proteins, vitamins, and minerals the better. Stick to pasture-raised and hormone-free meats, organic fruits and veggies, and healthy fats from nuts and seeds. Processed and sugary foods stress and inflame the body—not what you want when you’re about to have surgery.

DON’T smoke, vape, or use nicotine prior to and after surgery.

There’s a laundry list of reasons to quit smoking, especially if you’re having surgery. Nicotine causes blood vessels to constrict, choking off blood supply to incision sites. This slows down healing, which increases risk for infection, poor scarring, and even tissue death, especially with procedures that involve a lot of tissue repair, like tummy tucks, body lifts, and breast reduction. I won’t perform these procedures on patients who’ve smoked within six weeks.

DO check your list of prohibited substances before taking any medication, herb, or supplement. DON’T use anything on the list within two weeks of surgery.

Did you know that aspirin and green tea are off-limits before cosmetic surgery? Turns out, a lot of normally benign or even healthy substances are risky before surgery. They may act as blood thinners, increasing risk of internal bleeding, or they may interfere with anesthesia drugs. Your surgeon will provide you with a list of medicines to avoid before and after surgery. Read it thoroughly, keep it with you, and take it seriously.

DO make arrangements for child care, pet care, and you care prior to your procedure.

Frankly, you’ll be pretty useless for a few days after surgery. You may need help with things you normally take for granted—getting out of bed, going to the toilet, getting dressed, etc.—let alone getting your kids bathed and fed. Recruit help ahead of time so your household does not descend into chaos and you are not tempted to overexert yourself. Schedule full-time child care for about one week after breast surgery and two weeks after a tummy tuck or body lift. Don’t forget about your furry kids—pet care is a good duty to designate to an older child or neighbor.

Now that you are ready - just take a deep breath and wait for your day!

More later in the second part of my "DOs and DONT's" article for

Dr. Christa Clark

Article by
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon