The decision to go under the knife is a big deal. Most people spend years deciding on surgery, and extensively research which surgeon to go with. Once you’ve made these important decisions, the next step is preparing yourself and learning about the pre & post op instructions so that you can get the best possible outcome from your surgery.

Your surgeon will give you advice on what to do before and after your surgery. These instructions might be things like what medications or food to avoid, or what garments to wear. Can you take fish oil? How about nurofen for your back pain? When can you exercise?

Some of these things may seem minor, but there’s a reason why your surgeon gives you these pre & post op instructions. Certain foods (like fish oil) and medications such as anti-inflammatories can thin your blood. It’s very important to avoid them before surgery because it can make you bleed more during surgery, prolonging the procedure, and increasing your risk of developing bruising or a collection of blood (called a haematoma). When you go to your first consultation, do bring a full list of medications and supplements that you take and discuss them with your surgeon. There may be some medications that you can’t stop for medical reasons, but it’s important that your surgeon knows about them.

What exercise you can do after surgery is a very common question! It’s great that you are active and want to get back to your routine as soon as possible, but do listen to the restrictions that the surgeon has for you. For example, don’t dead lift after a facelift! You may think that weights make you sweat less than going for a run, but there are other reasons to avoid weightlifting after facial surgery. When you bend over to pick up that barbell, the blood rushes to your head, and when you lift, you strain. All of these things will make your face swell, and may even pop a small blood vessel. It may be frustrating not being able to do the activities you love, but remember that it’s only short term, and in the long term you want the best possible result from your surgery.

Your surgeon wants you to be happy with your results – just as much as you do – so do take note of the pre & post op instructions that are given, and ask questions if you need anything clarified. Picking the right surgeon, and deciding to undergo surgery, were two important steps that you’ve taken. Now it’s time to prepare yourself for surgery by ensuring you follow the pre & post op instructions and look after yourself post-operatively.