While we do our best to minimize swelling and bruising and to speed healing, there is alot that you can do to prepare for surgery and a smooth recovery.
Dr. Guyuron and colleagues found that among patients scheduled for cosmetic facial surgery half were taking herbal supplements (Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, July 2013). Even more surprising, about 1 in 5 were taking supplements that are known to increase bleeding after surgery. With that in mind, I’ll briefly summarize what you can do to eliminate risky medications and supplements from your regimen prior to surgery and prepare your body for rapid healing.
#1 Avoid these medications:
- Any medication containing ASPIRIN or ASA or salicylates
- Ibuprofen/ Motrin/ Advil and other NSAIDs
#2 Avoid these supplements:
- Vitamin C over 2000mg daily
- Vitamin E over 400mg daily
- Fish oil / Flax seed / Any other supplement containing Omega 3 fatty acids
#3 Abstain from alcohol
While most of us enjoy a cocktail in the evening or a glass of wine with dinner, alcohol should be avoided for at least one week prior to and following surgery. This includes beer, wine and liquor. While the heaviest of alcohol drinkers are impacted to the greatest degree, even moderate alcohol consumption (1-2 servings per day) can increase the risk of bleeding following surgery. To set yourself up for an uneventful surgical rocvery, abstain for one week prior to and following your procedure.
#4 Start taking Arnica montana prior to surgery
Unlike the negative impact of medications mentioned above, Arnica is actually good for you! This safe, well tolerated herbal supplement has been shown to reduce the risk and severity of bruising. Arnica is available at most grocery stores and vitamin houses. We recommend starting Arnica three days prior to surgery and continuing through the first week following surgery. If you do develop a bruise, topical Arnica gel can also speed its resolution.
#5 Eat, hydrate, sleep and be well
You will want to maintain a well balanced diet prior to and following surgery. There are actually very few restrictions on the types of food you can eat following facial surgery. Most of our patients can continue with their regular diet within 24 hours of surgery.
It’s also very important to stay hydrated by drinking regularly throughout the day. Most people should consume about 64 ounces of water each day. We provide our patients with their own cup and written hydration tips to ensure they take in enough fluids during the first few days after surgery.
Sleep is also a critical factor in living well and studies reveal that few of us get enough rest. Try to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night before surgery and during your recovery to ensure that your body has adequate downtime and opportunity to heal.
Lastly, avoid extra stress. We all lived harried lives but try to arrange your schedule to minimize disruptions in your downtime and healing process.
Those are our “Top 5 Tips” to set yourself up for a smooth surgical recovery. We provide all of our patients with their own “care package” to make your recovery as smooth as possible. However, if you have any additional questions during your consultation and scheduling process, please let us know or call and speak with Jackie, Gissel or Camille. We look forward to seeing you soon!