The following are some of the most common questions asked about plastic surgery, preoperative and postoperative instructions. However, you will still be required to visit with your surgeon prior to your procedure.

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Before Surgery
After Surgery

What are the benefits of having my cosmetic surgery procedure in a hospital?
The benefits include:

  • Surgeons have access to the hospital's full resources
  • High standards of care 
  • Added layer of safety 
  • Comfortable recovery rooms
  • Nurses can oversee you through early stages of recovery

Before Surgery

What do I do to prepare for surgery?
Although the preparation for surgery is pretty simple, it is an essential element in a successful outcome. To prepare for surgery, a preoperative phone interview will be scheduled with one of our experienced nurses.

What happens at the preoperative phone interview?
You will interview with our nurses to review your health history, answer your questions, instruct you on how to prepare for surgery, and tell you what to expect. Most of the instructions are listed here. This list of questions, however, will not take the place of a preoperative visit, which is essential in determining a patient's understanding and readiness for surgery.

What does informed consent mean?
Informed consent means you have an excellent understanding about the benefits of surgery as well as any side effects, risks, and all the preoperative and postoperative information. You are making an "informed" decision as to whether surgery is right for you.

What are the benefits and risks of the procedure?
As part of your initial consultation, your physician will review your expectations for surgery. At that time, he/she can provide a realistic picture of what surgery can and cannot accomplish. Depending on which procedures you are interested in, we will provide you with a list of any side effects and risks reported in the medical literature associated with any procedures you are considering. Although risks from surgery are uncommon, every patient should be fully informed.

What are some of the other things to do to prepare for surgery?
We review your health history and any daily medications you may be taking. Because tobacco use impedes wound healing, you will be asked to stop using tobacco for two weeks before surgery and two weeks following surgery.

What about my daily medications before surgery?
You will have a preoperative appointment well in advance of your surgery when your surgeon will review all mediations with you. If you are on "blood thinners," you will be asked to stop them approximately one week prior to surgery.

I take vitamins and supplements. Do I need to stop them before surgery?
Most vitamins and supplements have few side effects. However, there are some, such as vitamin E and ginko-bilova that can affect bleeding during surgery.

Do I need any special prescriptions before surgery?
Most patients do not need any special prescriptions before surgery. Please let us know of any special medical concerns you may have. We will ask you not to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery.

Why will I be asked not to eat or drink after midnight before the procedure?
Anesthesia medications can cause stomach upset. The best way to prevent after effects from anesthesia will be to avoid food or drink from midnight the night before surgery. For patients with special concerns, such as a patient with diabetes, our anesthesia team will be happy to address special arrangements with you ahead of time.

What about my privacy?
The check-in process, procedure and patient record remain completely confidential.

What happens when I check in for surgery?
Our nurses will help you get ready for surgery. Please let them know of any special needs you may have. Also, be assured that you have plenty of time for any last minute questions with your surgeon.

Does someone have to stay in the waiting area while I have my surgery?
No one needs to stay at the Cosmetic Surgery Center at Northwest Hospital during your surgery. However, you must have someone available by telephone at all times during your surgery and to escort you home.


After Surgery

What do I look like when I wake up from surgery?
Most patients experience swelling and bruising, however, this typically is more pronounced 24-48 hours after the procedure. Swelling can take two to three weeks or more to resolve.

What does it feel like when I wake up from surgery?
You will be comfortable and groggy as you awaken. We will make sure you are not nauseated or queasy. Our nurses will be right there with you as you wake up from surgery to give you special attention.

Does someone have to stay overnight with me after surgery if I'm outpatient?
Yes. You must arrange ahead of time for a responsible adult to stay with you the first night following surgery.

Are there any instructions about regular daily activities?
Your surgeon will provide instructions specific to your procedure. Expect fatigue and curb your activities accordingly. Absolutely no bending, lifting or straining for three weeks following surgery. If you have little children, bend at the knees or sit on the floor and let them climb onto your lap.

Will I need any special prescriptions following surgery?
Yes. Postoperative prescriptions are provided well in advance of surgery day so you arrive home completely prepared.

When do I start taking these prescriptions?
Patients take their pain medication as needed. You will begin the antibiotic medication when you arrive home from surgery. Wound care instructions are provided at the time of discharge.

How long will bruising and swelling last?
Depending on the size of the surgical area, swelling lasts upwards of two to three weeks or more.

Can I do anything to prevent bruising and swelling?
Avoiding aspirin and ibuprofen prior to surgery can minimize bleeding and bruising. For many patients, arnica, an over-the-counter supplement, significantly lessens bruising. Adhering to activity restrictions postoperatively will help swelling disappear more quickly. Elevation and ice applied to the affected area will help. Surgical garments may be recommended to assist in the reduction of bruising and swelling.

When can I shower?
Your surgeon will provide instructions on showering, based upon your procedure.

When is my first postoperative appointment?
The appointment for your first office visit (typically one to five days postoperatively) will be arranged at the time of the preoperative appointment. This allows you to plan on transportation if it is required.

When will I look normal?
You will be presentable at about two weeks. Your look will improve at six weeks and you'll look even better at six months as things settle and expressions become more natural. At two weeks you know you are well on the way to recovery. Final results are evaluated at one year.

How long does healing take?
Healing from cosmetic surgery to evaluate the final result takes one full year. However, after three months, most patients have about 90% of their final result.

If you have specific questions or concerns about your procedure, please contact your surgeon or call the Cosmetic Surgery Center at 410-601-WELL (9355).