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The essential health considerations before undergoing cosmetic surgery

Posted on February 21, 2019

By Professor Marcos Sforza, Expert Aesthetic Surgeon, MyBreast

Cosmetic surgery breast augmentation

Undergoing cosmetic surgery is a big decision and requires a great deal of thought. If you’ve decided the surgical route is for you, there are some key health factors you should consider before continuing your journey…

Our Expert Aesthetic Surgeon and scientific director, Professor Marcos Sforza, offers his insight on the essential health considerations you need to know…

Can allergies effect cosmetic surgery?

Yes, allergies can have an impact on your cosmetic surgery procedure and recovery. If you suffer from allergies, no matter how slight, it’s important you disclose them to your surgeon during a consultation.

If you have particularly sensitive skin, you’ll need to be mindful as some dressings contain acrylates, silicones, rubber and latex, which can cause irritations.

It’s best to mention any past allergies, even if they are only minor reactions caused by silver or nickel in jewellery, watch straps or waistbands.

Although most allergic reactions are not something to worry about, in some cases, they may require extra treatment in the form of topical corticosteroids or antihistamines.

Will my weight effect my Cosmetic surgery?

According to NHS England guidelines, surgery is safer and more likely to achieve optimum results if you are a healthy weight. In fact, there’s evidence to suggest there are higher rates of complications for patients with both very high and low BMIs.

So, if you’re seriously considering an aesthetic procedure, it’s essential you’re in the best physical shape possible. For optimum results, it’s recommended your BMI is under 30.

Being overweight can increase the likelihood of sleep apnoea (a complicating factor in the administration of general anaesthesia). Excessive weight also puts the body under greater strain and can impede your recovery after surgery too.

Will I have to quit smoking if I want cosmetic Surgery?

It may come as a surprise but if you do choose to go ahead with surgery, you will have to quit smoking before and for some time after a procedure.

This is because nicotine causes the blood vessels to constrict; restricting blood supply to organs and tissues, which can impact your recovery. Research also shows smokers usually require 33 per cent more anaesthesia during an operation than non-smokers.

We recommend patients stop smoking at least 2 weeks before surgery to help reduce complications. For example, smoking can cause a negative impact on your breast surgery recovery, as it can lead to a wound infection. The best way to protect your breast implants is to reduce your cigarette intake or stop completely.

Regular alcohol consumption prior to a procedure can also impede the body’s natural healing processes by reducing the effectiveness of anaesthetic agents.

What if I have pre-existing conditions before my cosmetic surgery?

Let your surgeon know about medications you’re using prior to surgery, as even aspirin could have potential side-effects during a procedure. In addition, any heart or respiratory conditions should be reported.

It’s essential pre-existing health conditions such as asthma are well-controlled before surgery takes place.

Arrange a check-up with your doctor before booking a procedure and a few weeks prior to when it’s scheduled. This will ensure your condition is monitored correctly and you remain a good candidate for surgery.

If your asthma is more acute, you may have to take steroids or inhaled corticosteroids to better manage symptoms.

For those with diabetes, it’s vital to keep your blood glucose within the recommended boundaries set by your doctor. One of the main reasons for this is because hyperglycaemia (high blood glucose) or hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose) could impair wound healing.

To enhance the recovery process, consume plenty of high-quality protein and try to keep stress to a minimum as it can raise glucose levels.

Recovery after cosmetic surgery

What about the psychological impact of having cosmetic surgery?

We all know undergoing surgery can take a physical toll, but it can also impact mental health too. Your surgeon has an obligation to protect your overall wellbeing and ensure you have the tools needed to cope with any challenges that may arise.

It’s essential you receive detailed information during your consultation about what your desired procedure will entail and the realities of the recovery process. If you’ve experienced mental health issues in the past, you might be asked to consider psychological screening prior to surgery.

Consultations should have a holistic approach, to help you make a well-informed decision, with the support of your surgeon, as to whether surgery is right for you. It’s important to share your cosmetic surgery journey with a close friend or family so that you can rely on their support during your recovery.

Tips on selecting your cosmetic surgeon

Searching for the best cosmetic surgeons may be time-consuming, but it’s paramount you find someone who understands your individual needs and that you select a clinic which offers as much face-to-face time as possible.

Look for cosmetic surgeons who are members of the representative bodies tasked with maintaining the highest industry standards, such as the General Medical Council, ISAPS, BAAPS or BAPRAS.

Remember the most reputable professionals are those who are as transparent as possible and never rush you into making a snap decision through last-minute ‘deals’ or discounts.