In my more than 25 years of practice in the field of facial plastic and reconstructive surgery, I have developed a regimen for my patients that optimizes their surgical outcomes.  What follows is what I recommend to my patients.  Every patient should adhere to the instructions of their surgeon; please avoid googling alternative methods or treatments.  

  1. Follow all written instructions. This is first and foremost.  We give our patients detailed instructions about best practices before and after the surgery.  
  2. Don’t go it alone. Contact the office directly with questions, concerns, or clarifications. It is best to contact the office by phone.  Emails and text messages are not prioritized and may not be seen in a timely manner.  
  3. Medications & Supplements. Before the surgery, avoid products that “thin the blood” including aspirin, vitamin E, and NSAIDS such as ibuprofen.  Smoking tobacco, use of marijuana, and excessive alcohol can delay healing. Appetite suppressants should be discontinued prior to surgery according to the instructions given for your particular surgery.  
  4. Practice Wellness.  Eat a healthy, balanced diet complete with fresh fruits, vegetables, and proteins.  Minimize excessive salt intake. Eat plenty of fresh pineapple, which has bromelain – known to help minimize bruising and swelling in the postoperative period.  Continue regular exercise prior to the surgery.  This is good for your physical and mental well-being.
  5. Prepare for the preoperative visit. The preoperative visit is 2 weeks prior to the surgery.  Things to gather before your appointment:
    - Your preoperative clearance by your primary care physician should take place 2 -3 weeks prior to the surgery so that the results can be reviewed at the preoperative visit and forwarded to the surgery center.  
    - Questions that you have thought about since your initial consultation.  It is best to write them down to ensure that all questions are addressed during your visit. 
    - Review the papers (instructions, consent forms, etc.) that were given at the consultation to help you to develop your questions.
  6. Preparation for surgery 
    - Place the bag of postoperative goodies given to you at your preoperative visit at your bedside. 
    - Pick up your prescriptions and place the bottles at your bedside. Read the directions to ensure you are clear on how to use them. There may be a prescription you would use before the surgery. 
    - Arrange for the following: transportation to and from the surgery center (not a rideshare company), someone to stay with you the evening after surgery, and someone to take you to the office the following day.  If you need assistance with this, we can supply information on nursing services with whom our patients have had good experiences.
    - Identify a few outfits that you can wear in the postoperative period.  We recommend loose fitting clothes that do not have to be pulled over the face, such as tops with zippers, buttons or snaps.  
    - Arrange for help with young children and pets that need care.  You will not be able to lift anything heavier than 5 pounds.
  7. Day of surgery
    - Do not eat or drink the day of surgery (nothing after midnight).
    - Arrive to the surgery center at the designated time.

In my next installments, I will discuss specifics about best practices with respect to the specific surgeries that I perform.  

Jennifer Parker Porter, MD, FACS
Founder & Medical Director, Chevy Chase Facial Plastic Surgery

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