Pre- and Postop Checklists

By now, let's assume that you have a good understanding of physician credentialing in plastic surgery to make an informed decision and develop a comprehensive treatment plan (which may include more than one procedure) with a qualified doctor.

There are many other details that go into surgery planning. Often times, it's easy to forget the small stuff. The following pre- and post-op tips are meant to provide the details that can make life easier before and after surgery. This list does not replace the advice of a qualified plastic surgeon. But it can provide reminders about what to ask the doctor and how to be better prepared.

At the Initial Consultation

  • Bring a list of pharmaceutical medications, over-the-counter products, and herbal or vitamin supplements that you're taking to the appointment.
  • Prepare to review your medical history, providing the names and phone numbers of any doctors that you are seeing.
  • Advise the doctor about any complications that you or a family member have experienced with anesthesia in the past.
  • Receive directions to the facility where you plan to have the procedure.
  • Request a list of preoperative and postoperative instructions, which can include:
    a) the ceasing of certain medications
    b) showering recommendations
    c) a list of medications that need to be taken prior to the procedure
    d) the requirement of no eating or drinking after midnight
    e) a list of supplies that you will need after surgery
  • Determine the type of support offered by the practice throughout recovery.
  • Request emergency contact phone numbers.

Mixing Medications

Medications you're already taking may interact with surgery or with medications that your doctor prescribes before and after your procedure. Be sure to tell your doctor about any medications you are taking or plan to take throughout recovery. Vitamins, minerals, and herbs can also interact with medications. If you are taking any vitamins or any other supplements, be sure to tell your plastic surgeon.

The Days Before Surgery

  • Purchase any supplies that you will need for recovery.
  • Follow instructions provided by the doctor regarding medication.
  • Locate an escort that can drive you home after the procedure and possibly stay with you, if required, for the first few days after surgery.
  • Fill any postoperative prescriptions necessary after the procedure.
  • Stop smoking for at least the night before surgery, or as much as two weeks before surgery. Smoking can create nausea and aggravate the lungs during surgery. Smoking can also slow the recovery process.

The Night Before Surgery

  • Pack your bag the night before surgery. Bring any personal items that you might need.
  • Women should remove credit cards or valuables from their purse the night before surgery and men should do the same for their wallets.
  • Women should not wear any jewelry on the day of the procedure.
  • Bring a container to hold your eyeglasses or contact lenses.
  • Bring comfortable clothes to wear after the procedure.
  • Bring your insurance card, advance directive, living will or medical power of attorney if you have these documents.
  • Follow instructions regarding food and drink. Most surgeries require no eating or drinking after midnight.

The Day of the Procedure

  • You will receive a list of discharge instructions and medication instructions.
  • You will receive emergency contact information.
  • Be certain to have someone stay with you for the amount of time recommended by your doctor.

Being prepared for plastic surgery can reduce risks associated with medical procedures. Being prepared can also provide more comfort and convenience throughout the recovery process. You can also read our nine tips for a smoother recovery and how to spruce up your appearance during recovery with aesthetic recovery aids. You and your doctor can discuss preparations that are best for your situation.