You’ve taken the time to have a plastic surgery consultation, gone through pre-surgery testing and preparation, and now your big day is approaching. You’ve done just about everything you can to prepare, but what should you do the night before? Here are several tips about preparing for plastic surgery the night before to help you be up and ready to go the next morning.
No food or drink after midnight
Most all surgery preparation includes specific instructions about eating and drinking the night before. Be sure to follow your surgeon’s specific instructions about diet the night before your procedure. Typically, this includes nothing to eat or drink after midnight, not even water. If you take daily medications, vitamins, or supplements, be sure you ask your plastic surgeon ahead of time if you can still take them, or if you will need to skip them on surgery day.
When planning your evening meal or snacks, it is best to eat light foods and small portions. The less you have in your stomach the morning of your surgery, the lower your likelihood of having post-surgical nausea or vomiting. In addition, if you do have food or beverages in your stomach going into surgery, you risk vomiting during the procedure. When you are under anesthesia, your gag reflex is essentially absent, and as a result, vomiting could cause material to come up from the stomach and then go down into the lungs causing an extremely serious form of pneumonia. As much as it may be uncomfortable to be hungry late at night or in the morning before surgery, your health is more important than your hunger. Remember, don’t eat or drink anything after midnight so that you will have an empty stomach on surgery day.
The night before surgery, be sure to shower or bathe, taking care to cleanse from head to toe. Immediately after surgery, you won’t be able to shower or bathe, and even when you are allowed to do so by your surgeon, you may feel sore and find it difficult to reach certain parts of your body. Wash with a mild soap, shave your legs and underarms, and wash your hair. Do a thorough job of brushing and flossing your teeth as well, particularly if you are having any procedure that may affect the ability to raise your arms or open your mouth during recovery.
Not only will these hygiene steps help you feel clean until your surgeon allows you to wash normally, but they will help rid your skin and mouth of any bacteria that may be lurking there, thus reducing the risk of post-surgical infections. In addition, if you normally wear nail polish or any other decorative decals or materials on your fingernails, remove them the night before your procedure. Not only do false nails and decals tend to trap dirt and bacteria, but they also make it difficult for pulse and oxygen sensors to read your vital signs properly. Also, remove any piercings or jewelry that you wear on a daily basis. Not only do you not want to face any complications due to jewelry, but it is best to keep such things safe at home.
Prepare for the morning
Before going to bed, lay out any items you need to take with you to your surgery. This might include an updated medication list, insurance or financial forms, patient information forms, and so on. Although there is no way to predict who will feel nauseated after surgery and who won’t, you may want to err on the side of caution and have a basin or bag available in the car, just in case you become nauseated and vomit on the way home. Many patients also find it helpful to wear comfortable, baggy clothes after surgery, preferably pull-on pants and a button- or zip-front top, as well as slip-on shoes. Avoid wearing flip-flops or sandals, as they may increase your risk of tripping or falling, especially if you feel groggy after surgery.
Double check your recovery plan
Finally, before going to bed, make sure the area where you will be spending the first several days of recovery is prepared. Do you have a box of tissues handy? Straws for drinking beverages? Books, magazines, or movies to keep you entertained? A charger for your phone and the remote for the television? By having your recovery area prepared ahead of time, you will save yourself and your caregiver quite a bit of stress once you first arrive home.
Get a good night’s sleep
Of course, the night before surgery, you may be excited, nervous, or both. This is totally normal, but do your best to have a calm, relaxing evening, and try to get a good night’s sleep. Take a few moments to do some deep breathing and relaxing stretches. If you feel nervous or jittery, work out some of that energy by taking a walk around the block, talk it out with your partner or best friend, or turn on your favorite movie for distraction.
Preparing for surgery ahead of time and ensuring you follow your plastic surgeon’s advice for the night before will help your big day go more smoothly. To learn more about your plastic surgery options, how to prepare for surgery, and more, please call Monarch Plastic Surgery today at (913) 663-3838 for our Leawood and Lansing offices, and (816)436-3262 for our North Kansas Office.