Benjamin P. Rechner, MD
Question: What should I eat before and after surgery, and why?
This is a great question! For most people undergoing standard cosmetic procedures a healthy well balanced diet consisting of low fat proteins, fruits and vegetables is excellent. As the surgical date approaches (2 weeks prior) one should consider avoiding NSAIDS and aspirin (since these can thin the blood and increase your risk of bleeding). Various foods, vitamins and supplements can also affect the clotting cascade, by increasing your risks of bleeding or clotting. An Internet search can provide an extensive list of these foods and herbs. Within 24-48 hours of your surgery alcohol, salty and fatty foods should be avoided. Remember to fast per your surgeon’s recommendations the night before surgery.
The post-operative diet is just as important. Initial dietary recommendations are based on post-operative nausea and vomiting concerns and usually consists of very light foods (toast, crackers, Gatorade, flat Sprite or 7-UP). Coffee and caffeine drinkers should also remember to dose themselves appropriately to avoid the dreaded “no-caffeine” headache. Twelve to twenty-four hours after surgery you can usually resume a normal diet. However keep in mind that your pain-meds can make you constipated. Try to avoid this issue – especially if you just had a tummy-tuck! Plenty of fluids, fruits, vegetables and a mild laxative will help to avoid this situation. Vitamin C is required to synthesize collagen (a major component of scar tissue) and proteins help heal wounds. But practically speaking a healthy well balanced diet is more than adequate for the healthy plastic surgery patient.
Maybe it goes without saying but I will anyway…people with special diets need to follow them and address them with their surgeon. And diabetics need to keep their blood sugars in check before and after surgery to avoid a slew of complications.
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