Your Procedure » Getting Ready for Surgery – A Few Tips

Getting Ready for Surgery – A Few Tips from Seattle Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder

Here’s a list of stuff you should have or do before your big day.

  • Fill your prescriptions. You don’t want to be waiting in line at the pharmacy on the way home from your procedure.
  • Fill your kitchen with healthy, easy to digest food. All pain meds must be taken with food. I recommend yogurt, applesauce, toast, crackers and yes, Jello (as long as it isn’t green). Avoid salty foods the first few weeks after surgery. A high salt diet will make any post-operative swelling worse.
  • If you are having eyelid or other facial surgery, make sure you have plenty of ice on hand.  Ice water packs to the surgical site help with post-operative bruising and swelling.  
  • Make at least two “nests” for when you come home, one in your bed and one on the couch or in an easy chair. Make sure you have a supply of pillows and blankets, something to drink, a light snack, a phone, a good book (or a book on tape), some good DVD’s and maybe even a stuffed animal to keep you company. Keep a copy of the information our office has provided you. You can refer to it if you should have questions. Have a pad of paper and a pen so you can jot down any questions that may come up.
  • Buy some gauze dressings to use to replace any that become blood stained. Also, sanitary napkins work great on incisions. Buy some baby-wipes. They make a sponge bath so much easier.
  • Consider buying a body pillow. These can really help you get comfortable, particularly after body or breast surgery.
  • Sunglasses and a pretty scarf are very helpful if you are having facial surgery. You can do the Jackie-O look for your essential outings.
  • Get those old jammies out of the back of your drawer. The first few days after surgery may find you oozing a little from the incisions. Save your nice jammies for later. Make sure you have a week’s supply of jammies and/or comfortable clothes. I don’t want you doing laundry for a while. Wear slip on slippers or shoes the first week or so. You won’t want to be bending over.
  • A nice hankie. Post-op blues is pretty common. I think it’s from a combination of wanting to look and feel better now, dammit, not in two weeks, narcotic pain meds, social isolation and physical inactivity. The post-op blues are more most common with facial procedures but can also occur with breast and body contouring. Don’t be embarrassed to let me know if you are feeling down. I didn’t make the cheerleading squad in high school but I’m really good at pep talks.
  • Some quiet projects. Once you are feeling better you will be getting cabin fever. Resist the urge to go to Costco or aerate your lawn. Before surgery, make a list of some quiet projects you’ve been meaning to do but haven’t had the time. Now you have the time. My list would include: updating my photo albums, mending the clothes in my mending basket, organizing my junk drawers, sorting through my sock drawer, sorting through my cosmetic drawer, maybe a little ironing and maybe a little embroidery. I bet you can come up with a pretty long list too.
  • Make sure your care giver is on board. You will need to have someone drive you home from your procedure. If you have general anesthesia, you will need someone to spend at least the first night with you and you will need someone to drive you to your first few post op visits. You can drive yourself if you are off your narcotic pain meds.
  • Take essentials off those high shelves and low drawers. You won’t want to be reaching or stooping the first week or so after surgery. Go through your house and make sure the stuff you are likely to need is accessible at about elbow height.
  • Consider renting a walker if you are having major body contouring after massive weight loss. Patients who are having lower body lifts, thigh lifts, flank lifts, etc. will find that puttering around the house will be easier with the support of a walker. It’s much better to be up puttering around than lying in bed. Getting up and about will speed your healing and help prevent blood clots and it also improved your attitude.  
  • AVOID:  Surfing the Internet for horror stories about plastic surgery.  Avoid watching videos or T.V. shows about the horrors of plastic surgery.  Avoid negative people.  If you are on my schedule, you have been deemed a reasonable risk for the procedure you are having.  I am very risk adverse and in most cases more risk adverse than most of my patients!  If you have questions or cold feet, give me a call or shoot me an email.  I am your best source of information about your procedure. 

Questions?  Write them down and we can review them at your preoperative visit.

Take a look at my blogs that address postoperative issues.

Do you have a question that cannot wait?  Call me at 206 467-1101.