Deciding to undergo cosmetic surgery is a major decision.  The following list outlines 10 ways to prepare for cosmetic surgery to increase your likelihood of achieving the best possible outcome:

Research your surgery

It is important to be well-informed before undergoing cosmetic surgery.  The most reliable information may be obtained from reputable sites, for example, those of board certified plastic surgeons or national medical organizations.  There is certainly a wealth of information available on the internet, however it should be interpreted with caution.  Although many patient blogs and message boards exist, medical advice should only be obtained from medical professionals, ideally in a clinical setting.

Research your surgeon

Be sure to check your surgeon’s qualifications to ensure s/he is board-certified in plastic surgery, ideally with additional fellowship training in aesthetic surgery.  Although many practitioners offer cosmetic treatments, completing a weekend course in aesthetic surgery does not equate to a 5- or 6-year residency in plastic surgery, plus fellowship training and successful board exams.  Years of plastic surgery training ensure that s/he is experienced and well-equipped to perform meticulous surgery and to deal with any complications should they arise.  As cosmetic surgery increases in popularity, you may know friends or relatives who have undergone procedures .  Be sure to ask for word of mouth referrals.

Achieve a healthy body weight

For breast and body procedures in particular, it is important to achieve a safe and healthy lifestyle for your body mass index (BMI) pre-operatively.  You may calculate your BMI using an online calculator and also use it to guide any recommended weight loss.  A BMI of 25 or lower is ideal before undergoing breast lift or reduction, tummy tuck, or liposuction in particular.  If weight loss occurs following a breast lift or reduction, breast size may further decrease in size leading to less predictable results.  Excess skin may develop following significant weight loss after a tummy tuck or liposuction due to decreased skin elasticity.

Delay cosmetic surgery until after pregnancies

For breast and body procedures, it is recommended to defer most surgeries until 6 months post-pregnancy and completion of breastfeeding.  It is possible for a patient to carry a full-term pregnancy following tummy tuck, however the aesthetic benefits of the procedure will likely be reduced.  The muscle repair will stretch and excess skin, soft tissue, and stretch marks will likely recur following future pregnancies.  Similar changes will affect the breasts following pregnancy and breastfeeding after breast lift or reduction.

Stop smoking!

This topic has been discussed in several previous blogs.  Smoking cessation lowers the risk of healing complications, particularly delayed wound healing, infection, and necrosis.  Smoking cessation for at least one month pre- and post-operatively has been shown to lower risk of these complications.  It is important for all elective surgeries and an absolute requirement before facelift, breast lift, and tummy tuck.  Smoking poses greater risk for these surgeries in particular given special considerations relating to blood supply.

Stop taking anti-inflammatories one month before surgery

Advil, Aleve, and other anti-inflammatories should be held one month before elective cosmetic surgery.  If you experience mild discomfort over this time period, Tylenol plain or extra-strength is preferred to lower risk of bleeding during and after cosmetic surgery.

Fill prescriptions in advance

A prescription will be given in advance for pain medication and antibiotics, if indicated.  It is recommended to fill these medications in advance to avoid additional trips to the pharmacy during early recovery. 

Begin fasting at midnight the night before your cosmetic surgery

It is important to begin fasting – no eating or drinking – at midnight before your scheduled surgery.  This lowers the risk of complications when placed under a general anesthetic.  If surgery is performed under local anesthetic without sedation (for example, upper blepharoplasty and labiaplasty), fasting is not required.  Dr. Power will give specific recommendations based on your surgery and planned anesthetic.

Bring a list of questions to your pre-operative visit

A cosmetic consultation relays a lot of new information.  You may come across medical words that you do not understand or points you would like to clarify regarding the surgery, risks, and recovery.  It maybe helpful to bring a list of questions to your pre-operative visit to ensure all questions are answered to your satisfaction.

Prepare for recovery time following cosmetic surgery

Every patient has unique personal, home, and workplace responsibilities.  Dr. Power will make specific recommendations following consultation regarding anticipated time off work.  If you have young children at home, you may need to arrange help during your early recovery.  Following most cosmetic surgeries, exercise, strenuous activity, and heavy lifting are to be avoided for one month to lower risk of bleeding and other healing complications.  You may wish to hold your gym membership over this time period.  Be sure to allow for sufficient recovery time to minimize additional stress during your early healing.


Cosmetic surgery involves many steps, from pre-operative work up and planning through surgery and long-term recovery.  Preparation is key to your overall outcome.  Please contact us if considering cosmetic surgery to schedule a consultation with Dr. Stephanie Power in Toronto.

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