Plastic Surgery Frequently Asked Questions

For breast surgery related questions, see our Breast Augmentation Surgery FAQ page.


What medications should I avoid before PLASTIC surgery?

You should avoid aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and herbal supplements especially those containing green tea, ginseng, and ginkgo biloba which are found to increase bleeding during the surgery and recovery. These medications should be stopped at least two weeks before your plastic surgery procedure. Just to be on the safe side, you should tell your doctor about all the medications you are currently taking.

Why is it important to quit smoking well in advance Before surgery?

The nicotine has been found to inhibit the normal circulation of oxygen, thus predisposing patients to higher risk of skin necrosis or death of skin tissue. If this complication occurs, patients may experience delayed healing and unnecessary scarring. If you are a smoker, you should quit the habit at least two weeks before having plastic surgery and avoid this during your recovery period.

WHAT DO I NEED FOR EASY PLASTIC SURGERY recovery?

Your doctor will prescribe all necessary medications (antibiotic, pain medications, etc.), medical garments, proper clothing, ice-packs, and other supplies that you will need during your recovery. In addition, you should purchase easy-to-prepare foods such as soup, yogurt, oatmeal, frozen dinners, cottage cheese, crackers, and protein shakes.

What other supplies should I purchase prior to my surgery?

It is important that you purchase antibacterial soaps, thermometer, loose clothing (ideally button-down shirts and pajamas), and low-sodium foods.

How MUCH TIME DO I NEED OFF WORK AFTER PLASTIC SURGERY?

Since the length of recovery will depend on the extensiveness of the procedure and your body’s healing ability, you should ask your doctor on when is the best time to return work. Typically, most patients take 1-2 weeks off of work.

DO I NEED SOMEONE TO CARE FOR ME AFTER SURGERY?

Yes. It is important to arrange aftercare for the first 24-72 hours after surgery. You will need a capable adult to pick you up after surgery and someone to care for you for the first few days.

Should I arrange for an overnight stay at a hospital?

Most plastic surgery procedures are performed as outpatient; however in some instances patients will require their procedure to be performed in the hospital and may require an overnight stay. Plastic surgery aftercare facilities are available in Los Angeles and Orange County if you would prefer nurse supervised care after surgery. Patients may also opt for home care after surgery.

How can I prepare my house in order to have a comfortable recovery?

Have a telephone near your bed (turn off the ringer while you are sleeping) so you can call your doctor or someone in the event that you will experience something that is out of ordinary; clean your house prior to the surgery; place all the supplies you will need everyday in accessible areas or at hip level (so you will not bend down or reach your arms too high); and if you have a small child, ask someone to take care of him/her while you are still recovering.

What Preparations are Necessary for General Anesthesia?

Patients should arrive for surgery having had nothing to eat or drink for at least 8 hours. Patients who take certain medicines, such as blood pressure medication, are usually instructed to take their morning dose with a sip of water. Someone must be available to drive you home after the surgery, and stay with you at home the day of surgery. We always advise all patients who smoke to quit for several weeks before surgery, since poisonous carbon monoxide gas and many of the chemicals in tobacco smoke, including nicotine, cause circulatory compromise to healing wounds, leading to poor healing and excessive scar formation. Smoking also leads to significantly higher pain levels after plastic surgery because nicotine can cause irritation of the injured nerve endings at the surgery site. Patients who smoke generally have a higher risk of complications than non-smokers after plastic surgery. This risk is reduced, but not completely relieved by quitting smoking well before surgery, and resolving not to resume post-op. Lab tests or EKG tracings may be necessary depending upon your age and risk factors. A recent mammogram is necessary if you are over 40 or have a strong family history of breast cancer.

How long is my recovery?

The length of your recovery will largely depend on the treated area, extensiveness of the procedure, type of plastic surgery, and your body’s healing capability. In general, immediate recovery lasts about 1-2 weeks. Patients are usually able to return to normal activities (working out, heavy lifting, etc.) after 4-6 weeks. Although it takes a full year for a scar to fade and flatten after plastic surgery, patients will see favorable results much sooner.

WHY SHOULD I WALK AFTER SURGERY?

If you remain in bed for a long period of time, you are at risk of developing blood clots in your legs and lungs and other serious complications. Ideally, you should take a short, gentle walk as soon as you can in order to promote a good blood circulation.

WHAT ARE NORMAL SYMPTOMS TO EXPECT AFTER PLASTIC SURGERY?

It is normal to experience swelling, bruising, tenderness, soreness, pain and discomfort and temporary numbness in the treated area,. Some patients experience nausea as the anesthesia wears off. Most of these symptom dissapate after the first week of recovery. In case that there is no improvement within a week, you should immediately visit your plastic surgeon to determine if you are experiencing delayed healing and other complications.

How can I minimize the swelling?

Swelling is common amongst most plastic surgery procedures. Several tips to minimize swelling include:

  • Taking Bromelain (an over the counter supplement) before and after surgery
  • Sleep at an elevated level for the first week (use 3 pillows to prop you up - particularly for face lift and rhinoplasty patients)
  • Wear your compression garment

Why should I avoid aspirin and anti-inflammatory medications during my recovery?

Blood-thinners can increase bleeding during surgery and recovery, which can also inhibit the body’s healing ability. Herbal supplements and vitamins, particularly those containing green tea, vitamin E, ginseng, and ginkgo biloba have also been found to increase bleeding. Be sure to tell your plastic surgeon all the current medications you are taking.

Why is it important that I avoid smoking and second-hand smoke before my surgery and during the recovery period?

The nicotine can inhibit normal blood circulation, thus significantly increasingly your risk of developing skin necrosis or death of skin tissue, a complication that often leads to delayed healing and unnecessary scarring.

What SHOULD I EAT after plastic surgery?

Because your body will need to repair itself after a surgical procedure, your diet should be high in protein. However, you should watch your sodium intake since too much of this may aggravate swelling.

Why is it important to wear compression garments AFTER SURGERY?

If you undergo breast augmentation, breast lift, breast reduction, liposuction, face-lift, body lift, tummy tuck or most other plastic surgery procedures, your doctor will require you to wear a compression garment for a certain period of time in order to provide support to the new contour and minimize swelling.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I AM HAVING A COMPLICATION AFTER PLASTIC SURGERY?

You should immediately seek medical attention if you experience any of the following: abnormal heart rate, swelling and bruising which do not subside after a week, delayed healing, and other conditions which are “out of ordinary.”

How can I avoid or at least minimize the appearance of scars?

Particularly during the first 12 months following you plastic surgery procedure, it is important to avoid sun exposure on the incision sites. Direct sun exposure may cause unfavorable scarring, including hyper-pigmentation. If you must be in the sun, be sure to use a minimum SPF of 40. Silicone-based scar gels, such as BioCorneum, promote favorable healing and are recommended for use for the two to twelve weeks following plastic surgery. Laser resurfacing can also improve the appearance of scars. This can be performed as early as one month after surgery.

Are my plastic surgery results permanent?

The results of plastic surgery are permanent, however it does not stop the aging process. Because of this, patient may choose to undergo an additional procedure at another point in time. Breast implant manufacturers recommend re-augmentation after 10 years, whether you have saline of silicone breast implants. It is important to discuss of these questions with your plastic surgeon before your surgery.

When can I shower?

For procedures such as breast augmentation, breast lift or liposuction, patients are usually advised to shower beginning 3 days after surgery. After a tummy tuck, patients may generally shower beginning at 5 days and after 7 days for a face or neck lift after sutures are removed.

What should I eat AFTER PLASTIC SURGERY?

(See our after care instructions):
Bland foods, high protein, high carbs (Not for diabetics!), chicken soup, crackers, Gatorade mixed with water 50:50 / pedialyte (to balance electrolyte/glucose intake), all your regular medications EXCEPT-ANY BLOOD THINNERS, ASPRIN, ETC.
AVOID: Alcohol, caffeine, green tea, fish oil, vitamin E, spices, Herbalife, Asprin, dairy products, fatty foods.

Can I sun tan or go tanning salon or when can I start?

It is not advised to have sun exposure after plastic surgery because it can cause unfavorable scarring, including hyperpigmentation.

When do I start massaging AFTER BREAST AUGMENTATION?

Patients are generally advised to begin breast implant massage 1-2 weeks after surgery. Your surgeon will advise you the best time to begin massage after breast augmentation and will explain the instructions at your follow up appointment.

Where can I get my sports Bra?

It is advised to wear a post-surgical compression garment for a minimum of one month after surgery. Post-surgical bras can be purchased when you schedule your breast augmentation, breast lift or breast reduction. It is also advised to purchase additional sports bras that zip up in the front. It is important to select a bra that is firm and provides adequate compression.

When can I fly or travel AFTER PLASTIC SURGERY?

Flying or traveling long distances after surgery may increase the chance of DVT and significantly increases swelling. It is advised to wait at least two weeks after surgery before traveling. Be sure to follow all of your surgeons instructions after surgery and to return for all of your post-operative appointments.

How long would I have my drains?

Drains are used after plastic surgery procedures in order to rid of excess fluid that may otherwise collect in the body causing a seroma. Drains are usually used after abdominoplasty or revision breast surgery and may be removed once the daily output is under 25CCs. This may be after a few days or after a week.

When should I start taking my medication that was called into the pharmacy?

You should begin taking your medication after surgery. Be sure to bring your prescriptions with you to the surgery center and follow the directions as indicated on the labels.

CAN I STILL FINANCE MY PLASTIC SURGERY PROCEDURE IF I DON'T HAVE GOOD CREDIT?

We offer multiple financing options with varying criteria, as well as in-house financing and layaway programs to ensure that every patient can afford their plastic surgery procedure.

The plastic surgeons at California Surgical Institute's Beverly Hills, Upland, Brea and Riverside Clinics (respectively our Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange and Riverside County locations) offer Complimentary Consultations to answer any questions you may have. To schedule your appointment, please call 866-372-3288 or submit the form at the top of the page.

California Surgical Institute

9025 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 411, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

Brea: 910 E. Birch St, Suite 350, Brea, CA 92821

Upland: 930 W. Foothill Blvd. Upland, CA 91786

Riverside: 7120 Indiana Ave. Riverside, CA, 92506

By Phone: 866-372-3288

By Email: info@californiasurgicalinstitute.com

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