Who Is a Good Candidate for Plastic Surgery?
Most patients who receive plastic surgery do so around age 35-50, according to statistics released by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). This age group accounted for 43% of the total surgeries performed in a single year. Many healthy adults who would like to change some of the aspects of their appearance are good candidates for plastic surgery, so it is simpler to look at who is not a good candidate. Some of the individuals who might not be well-suited for plastic surgery include:
- Those with major health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, or a bleeding disorder. Medical conditions like these might increase the risk of surgical and post-surgical complications, like hemorrhaging and wound infections. If you are as healthy as possible when you go into surgery, this will mean shorter visits, improved long-term success, and a faster recovery.
- The condition of obesity can make surgery more challenging. This is because if you are obese, the heart must work harder in order to give the body the blood and oxygen it needs. In addition, any kind of surgery can lead to an increase in stress levels. When combined with the potential use of anesthesia, surgery can put those who have obesity at a higher risk of heart attack, angina, stroke, or high blood pressure after surgery. Furthermore, obesity can also make the process of anesthesia more complicated in and of itself. For example, it can make it more difficult for a professional to locate the veins and deliver anesthesia and life-saving emergency medications intravenously. It can also make it more difficult to do the following:
- Determine the correct medication dosage
- Ensure the patient receives enough oxygen and airflow, especially patients with sleep apnea
- Control the risk of breathing problems from narcotics and other pain medications
- Minimize the amount of time it takes to regain consciousness during recovery
- Place a breathing tube
- Individuals who smoke can have more difficulty with surgery, which is why we advise patients to try to quit four to six weeks before surgery. Patients who smoke suffer from insufficient heart and lung function. They are more likely to have breathing problems during and after surgery, are at a higher risk of developing pneumonia, and are more likely to require a ventilator. The fact that smoking reduces blood flow does not help either. Blood flow helps facilitate healing, so smokers are more likely to suffer from an infected incision. Smokers also experience increased risk of heart attack during or after surgery. If the individual plans to continue smoking after surgery, we recommend waiting at least four weeks. This will allow your body to heal and give you a better defense against infections during recovery.
- Heavy drinkers are at higher risk of experiencing complications from surgery. When we talk about high-risk drinking, we are talking about individuals who drink three standard drinks per day, or 21 drinks per week. A standard drink is equal to a 12 oz. bottle of beer, a 1.5 oz. shot of hard liquor, or a 5 oz. glass of wine. Those who drink at this level are at a higher risk of post-surgery complications like bleeding, infection, lung problems, and heart problems. One study published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews examined the effect of intensive approaches that tried to help risky drinkers who were scheduled for surgery quit before the surgery. For pre-planned surgeries, the patient underwent intensive programs in the few weeks before surgery. For the emergency surgeries, the patient underwent these programs before or after surgery. Interestingly, they found that patients who underwent intensive approaches four to eight weeks reduced post-surgery complications, minimized the need for a second surgery, and reduced instances of wound issues, heart issues, and lung-related problems. Overall, these results tell us that the less alcohol a patient drinks before a surgery, the better prepared they will be to have a smooth and speedy recovery.
How to Prepare Your Body for Plastic Surgery
Now that you understand what might disqualify you from being a good candidate for plastic surgery, you might be wondering how you can become the best candidate possible. This is the right mindset to have. When it comes to plastic surgery, or any kind of surgery, preparation is key and will help facilitate your recovery. In addition to the health precautions mentioned above, some other steps you can take to prepare your physical and mental state for plastic surgery include:
- Planning your scheduling so you can get some assistance from family and friends
This is the most practical piece of advice we could offer. Some people do not realize how time-consuming a cosmetic procedure can be, nor do they realize the extent of the recovery that will be required of them. Of course, some procedures are more invasive than others, and this is helpful to keep in mind as you plan for your day. For most procedures, it would be wise to arrange a ride back home and to give yourself adequate time to recover. Some procedures might inhibit your ability to perform some activities during the recovery period, and you will need to plan accordingly. Our team will be sure to walk you through the specifics of your procedure, including what you should plan with family and friends.
- Increasing your fiber and protein consumption
You should not consume food too close to the surgery, as this could cause you to vomit during the procedure. This primarily applies to procedures that require anesthesia. Every patient’s needs will be different, but typically, we recommend avoiding food and drinks at least eight hours before undergoing anesthesia. However, the weeks leading up to the surgery are the time to indulge on fiber and protein. Protein will boost your immune system and trigger the body’s natural healing properties. Fiber will help the regular digestive process, which can help you avoid constipation after the procedure.
- Staying hydrated
According to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the average man should drink about 15.5 cups of fluids per day, while the average woman should drink about 11.5 cups. This is especially true in the weeks leading up to and following surgery. After surgery, the immune system weakens, which increases the chance of infection. Water helps keep these infections at bay and aids in recovery. If anesthesia was used during the procedure, water can help the body free itself of any toxins that may have entered the body. Drinking water is always a healthy tip, but it is even more advisable for those who are planning a surgery.
- Staying active
During and after any kind of surgery, your heart and lungs will have to work harder in order to assist the body in its recovery. When you exercise, your hearts and lungs become stronger. If you increase your level of physical activity in the weeks leading up to surgery, it will put your heart and lungs in a better position to have a smooth and simple recovery. If you are already at a healthy and regular level of exercise before scheduling the surgery, then you are already in a good position for a smooth recovery. We are happy to answer any questions about how often and how intensely you should be exercising before a surgery based on your body’s needs.
If you have any more questions about plastic surgery and whether or not you are a good candidate, call West Coast Plastic Surgery Center at (805) 978-8545 or contact us online.