Preparing for Surgery  – tips to get ready for surgery in Hospital

The best way to help ensure a successful surgical outcome is by preparing for surgery. Dr Carmen and her team are here to help.

10 Specific Patient Instructions to follow when preparing for surgery

  1. All piercings must be removed prior to the procedure. If you have a particular piercing that you cannot remove, please notify the hospital and the rooms prior to your surgery day.
  2. Avoid getting any kind of tattoo (including eyebrow microblading) within 2 weeks prior to surgery to reduce the risk of pre-operative infection.
  3. You will need at least 1 natural finger or toenail for heart monitoring. Please ask your specific hospital if you need to remove ALL false nails or polish before the day. Just One finger may be enough.
  4. Have a shower the morning of surgery and ensure your hair is clean. It may be several days before your hair can be washed if you are booked for complex surgery.
  5. Hair extensions with any kind of metal fastening must be removed prior to surgery (typically beaded or “clip-in” varieties). Ensure that you have removed any pins or hairclips and that any elastic hair tie (if used) does not contain any metal.
  6. Ensure you have read all your pre-admission paperwork and are aware of arrival time, fasting and any medication requirements.
  7. Know your length of stay and plan for your discharge destination and likely pick up person.
  8. Ensure any outstanding issues such as urgent bills or gifts for upcoming occasions are organised. You will be resting quietly at home for several days or weeks following surgery, a little preplanning makes all the difference.
  9. Stock the pantry, fridge, and freezer with food to ensure easily available nutritious meals. Make all the things you need regularly easily accessible.
  10. Plan for help and support with any dependants you may have during your recovery phase.

Want to know what to bring and how to pack for Hospital?

Read Dr Carmen’s Guide to what to pack for the hospital for a more comfortable stay and an enjoyable recovery.

Preparing for Surgery - Healthy Diet for Surgery

Preparing for surgery by ensuring your health and diet is as good as it can be for at least two weeks prior to your surgery.

  • Stop smoking, focus on your diet – eating increased proteins and fresh products when possible. Increase your daily exercise – walk daily for 30mins or more. Increase any exercise you currently do by an additional 30 mins.

A healthy body recovers much faster than an unhealthy one. Take these simple steps to ensure you are in the best possible condition for your planned surgery.

Here are some great ideas for preparing for your surgery and useful tips to be mentally and physically ready for your patient journey. 

Preparing for surgery by boosting your immune system before surgery

Taking zinc can help speed up the healing of surgical incisions and also boost the immune system. Get more Zinc naturally by eating eggs, nuts, seafood, seeds, wheat germ, and whole grains (especially fortified cereals). Multivitamin – Talk to your doctor about taking a pre- and post-surgery multivitamin.

Take ownership of your own health. It is up to YOU to ensure you are in the very best condition to achieve the optimal result. You have worked so hard to get to the point of body contouring surgery and deserve the very best.

How can I maintain optimal weight before surgery?

The most important thing is to focus on your goal of future surgery. It’s in your best interest to stay active to help keep the weight off. Patients in higher weight ranges have greater risks attached to all forms of surgery, including plastic surgery.

  • Weigh yourself once per week in the morning before eating or drinking.
  • Aim to maintain a stable or slowly reducing weight. Any weight gain should be noted and small changes to lifestyle and diet need to be made.
  • Rapid weight changes due to sedentary lifestyles during Covid can lead to increased surgical risks. Larger tissue removal puts a greater strain on your body, increasing risk and compromising potential healing – this may mean you do not achieve the predicted end result and will definitely lead to longer healing times than you anticipated.
  • Your weight can make a huge difference to the safety and outcome of your surgery – so we can’t ignore it.

Poor diet, excess weight and suboptimal overall health puts your body at a less than ideal condition to cope with surgical procedures.

Do I need to lose weight before having major cosmetic surgery such as Tummy Tuck – Abdominoplasty or Bodylift?

A tummy tuck-abdominoplasty or body lift is a good way to sculpt the figure and shape the body. However, the surgical procedure is not a replacement for weight loss. It is important that you be close to your desired weight for six to twelve months before undergoing this type of surgery.

Patients who have surgery when carrying excess weight have higher rates of delayed wound healing, wound breakdown and excessive scarring, all of which are not ideal given the procedures are intended to improve aesthetic appearance. We guide and support you during your post-operative phase for as long as it takes but it is often more painful and frustrating if wounds are slow to heal.

The optimal result is gained when you are at an optimal weight, thus surgical procedures will remove excess skin and a minimum of attached fat cells. You will feel much better right from the start and get up and moving faster which leads to faster healing.

How can I occupy my time during Covid?

While at home during the Covid pandemic, set family goals such as movie night, board games night, ‘spring cleaning’ for the house, garage or garden, craft night, family cooking challenge! A timed ‘run around the block’ for everyone to see who the fastest family member is. Have a look through all your cookbooks, find some recipes to try that appeal to you. Look for recipes to try that can be frozen, try them out and plan to cook them again then freezing them in the final week prior to your surgery.

  • Work through your pantry clean out all the clutter or plan recipes around what you already have in stock.
  • Sort out your finances, cancel unwanted subscriptions, clear out emails.
  • Save money for your post-surgery wardrobe instead of spending it online shopping.
  • Set some achievable goals for both health, fitness, and well-being. Continue to work toward weight loss goals, optimal health, or if you like, now is the time to set ISO goals.

How can I be more active during Covid?

Think of surgery as a marathon! You must train for that not just show up! You need to increase your daily exercise tolerance in preparation for any surgery. Think of small things, such as twice a day walks varying your route to add interest. Some exercise even gentle walking greater than 10 minutes is better than nothing at all. A little bit of effort can make a huge difference but if your usual level of fitness is normally higher try to get back to that. Also, you have to consider that post your surgery it will be some time before you will be able to go back to your previous exercise tolerance.

  • Avoid sitting and surfing the net for long periods of time and avoid online shopping! Instead, take the time to clear excess items and getting prepared for your upcoming surgery.
  • Give your dog (or neighbour’s dog) 2 walks a day. Dust off your bike and go for a ride on nice days. Even though we are unable to actively socialise it is important to set activities that enhance your emotional wellbeing as well as your physical health.
  • If you are not travelling to work or currently working, use the time that would have been spent commuting and working to be more healthy and physically active. You should wake up at the time you would have done pre Covid to and go for a walk instead of the commute to work you used to do. You can walk once or twice daily in your local area.

What type of exercise can I do during Covid?

Everyone can exercise at home with a bit of self-will and encouragement. If you need inspiration or motivation, call on the family to join you for your walk, bike ride or YouTube exercise video. You can encourage each other to continue when one of you may decide you’ve had enough!

Look for exercise items within the home, skipping ropes, tinned cans for light weights, arm lifts using seat of the chair, outdoor steps or stairs for stepping exercises. High and low tables for stretching exercises.

  • Find a YouTube exercise video you like and stick to it!
  • Add 5 minutes extra fitness training to your daily routine.
  • Yoga is also a good way to improve strength, mobility and mindfulness! Remember to work on your core strength too as post-surgery you will be restricted from most forms of exercise until fully recovered.

How do I lose weight before surgery?

Look closely at your diet – during Covid if you have more time available you have more time to plan your meals better making it unnecessary to cook processed or premade foods or get take-away! This also has the added benefit of reducing cost and waste.

  • Reduce food intake to smaller more frequent meals high in protein with fresh produce. Try eating more fibre rich foods such as vegetable and fruits and stay low in fat and carbohydrates. If you are not active you do not need to fuel your body as much.
  • Make mealtimes an event. Eat at the table, set the table properly use a tablecloth and napkins. Put food in serving dishes to allow people to serve the quantities they want. Pre plating food in the kitchen often leads to the temptation of matching quantities for everyone when this might be inappropriate.
  • Avoid ‘mindless eating’ as much as possible. Replace unnecessary drinks and snacks with warm/hot water drinks to provide a feeling of intake without any associated calories.

Whilst you have more time available look at some of the products in your pantry and fridge. Read the fat, salt, and sugar content of these items. This will give you a better understanding of where ‘hidden’ weight gain often comes from even when you feel you are mostly doing the right things but still seem to be struggling with weight issues.

What if I put on weight during Covid lockdown while waiting for surgery?

If you are booked for future surgery but feel you have gained weight through Covid please call us we are happy to work through any concerns or questions you may have.

Preparing for surgery and planning for recovery with the help and support of your partner and family

If you have dependant family members use this time of Covid to teach them simple self-care. It is often easier in the short term to do everything for everybody but this is not fair to them or you. Even the smallest child can tidy their toys.

Set expectations and goals appropriate to age or abilities such as bed making daily, sourcing and cleaning up their own breakfast and possibly lunch, light household duties and kitchen cleanups. Look back to how much you helped out in the home and ask the same of your own children.

Now we are living closely together it is important to declutter our working and relaxing areas. Initially teaching tasks may be frustrating but be patient.  Most children are happy to help and learn skills quickly if given enough praise and encouragement. Even resistant older children will help if others are involved and there is an element of taking turns to ensure fairness.

Once you have had your surgery being able to rely on pre-trained family ‘helpers’ will make all the difference to your recovery.

Remember that we are here to help and support you preparing for surgery

After all your hard work and effort, it would be a shame to fail at the final hurdle. Allow this time of restriction and isolation to give you something not take something else away. Preparing yourself both physically and mentally for your surgery will be both rewarding and give you real results.

If you need a friendly voice to talk to you, to ask questions of, the team at Aesthetik Profile are here for you. Successful procedures and the very best outcomes are achieved through close partnerships with yourself, Dr Carmen, and her team as we guide and support you on your journey. It is this partnership that sets us above all others in patient care.

Please call 03 9852 0545 or contact us for any questions, information, motivation and help. We are here to assist you through your journey.

Further Reading about Body Procedures with Dr Carmen