University of Virginia Plastic Surgery
1300 Jefferson Park Avenue 4th Floor
Charlottesville, VA 22908
Phone: (434) 924-1234
Location Hours: Monday—Friday | 8 a.m.– 5 p.m.

How to Prepare for Your Plastic Surgery

A candidate for plastic surgery waits in a doctors office.

When considering plastic surgery, knowing how to prepare for the day can play a key role in your experience. Once you create a treatment plan with a board-certified plastic surgeon at UVA Plastic Surgery at either our Charlottesville or Fishersville, VA locations, there are several helpful steps you can take to make sure your surgery, recovery, and results exceed your expectations.

1. Start and Maintain a Healthy Diet

Avoid low- and empty-calorie diets as your body will need protein, iron, nutrients, and even carbohydrates and fats for optimal recovery. Instead of cutting calories, focus on using quality ingredients such as fresh vegetables and lean proteins. Avoid fast food and alcohol. Excessive alcohol intake is not healthy and even in small quantities can cause blood thinning effects during surgery, which can contribute to bleeding and bruising. It is best to only drink alcohol in moderation until about two weeks before surgery and within two weeks before surgery and a week or two after surgery to not drink alcohol.

2. Quit Smoking

Smoking affects blood oxygen levels and the quality of blood circulation through the vessels. Oxygen-rich blood and non-constricted arteries and veins are essential for healing. If you smoke, don’t hide it during the consultation; be direct and discuss your current usage of tobacco, gum, other tobacco products or vaping products. UVA plastic surgeons will recommend complete quitting of these before surgery and likely recommend you discuss quitting options with your primary MD before your surgery.

You should stop the use of any vaping, gum, and other supplements that contain nicotine. My partners and I recommend completely quitting all of these—at least 4 weeks before any elective surgery and for 2 weeks after. If you are not able to quit on your own, then we recommend being seen by your primary physician as they may have programs that might make this process successful for you.

3. Exercise

Taking up a new or more vigorous workout regimen prior to plastic surgery is not recommended. Instead, focus on maintaining your current level of fitness and avoid exercises that could lead to injury. Emphasize stretching and strengthening core (back and abdominal) muscles, especially for procedures such as a tummy tuck.

After elective cosmetic surgery, patients typically take several weeks off exercise and are then guided carefully back into an exercise routine over a well-calculated time period—typically starting with low-impact cardio workouts and then ramping it up gradually to ultimately include any type of rigorous exercise.

If you are not able to quit on your own, then we recommend being seen by your primary physician as they may have programs that might make this process successful for you.

4. Stock Up on Post-Surgery Supplies

Recovery is an ideal time for sedentary activities. Make sure to stock up on plenty of books, magazines, or movies before your surgery. Be careful not to choose movies that might make you laugh out loud. Though using a fluffy pillow over the operative site such as breasts or abdomen can help with laughing, coughing or sneezing during the early recovery process.

During the first few days, you will have some limitations related to getting out of your home and going up and down stairs. After some procedures, you may have limitations related to bending over and lifting. Make sure to pick up medications in advance and stock up on other items before your surgery, including single-serving snacks, moisturizing skin wipes, comfortable clothing, ice packs, and traction socks.

If you do not have someone with you during the early recovery, you might also want to make sure items in your kitchen, bathroom, and other locations are at an easily accessible level instead of high on shelves or on the floor. Though using a fluffy pillow over the operative site such as breasts or abdomen can help with laughing, coughing or sneezing during the early recovery process.

Other Ways to Prepare

Before your consultation, it can help to research your procedure, the doctor who will perform it, and his or her previous results via before-and-after photos. You may also research what to expect during the consultation itself. When you meet with the board-certified plastic surgeons at UVA Plastic Surgery, you will be able to ask specific questions regarding the procedures you are interested in and discuss the surgeon’s expertise and recommendations specific to your individual needs.

When you’re ready to move forward and request a one-on-one consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon in Charlottesville, VA, contact us online or call (434) 924-1234 (Charlottesville) or (540) 932-5771 (Fishersville) to schedule an appointment.

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