Plastic Surgery Prep

Preparing For Your Plastic Surgery

We want you to have the best possible experience and these steps will help:


Prescription medications, over-the-counter supplements and lifestyle habits can help or hurt your surgical results. To prevent the risk of bleeding or excessive bruising and to help tissues heal after surgery, here are some management guidelines:

Medications to avoid two weeks prior to surgery:

  • Discontinue use of any nicotine products. This includes cigarettes, cigars, nicotine gum, chews, and patches. Nicotine causes blood vessels to constrict, decreasing the amount of oxygen that is delivered to your tissues trying to heal. This is never a good thing and is one of the major contributors to healing problems after surgery.
  • Stop using medications containing aspirin and NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) NSAIDS include such commonly taken over-the-counter and medications as Ibuprofen, Motrin, Alleve, and Advil. These medications can affect how blood clots and can cause bleeding and excessive bruising after surgery. Be sure to read the labels of any non-prescription remedies you regularly take as many of them may contain aspirin (e.g., Alka Seltzer). For these same reasons, stop taking Vitamin E or drinking red wine before your surgery.
  • Stop all herbal medications before surgery. The most common herbs used are Echinacea, Ephedra, Garlic, Ginseng, Ginkogo, Kava, St. John’s Wort, and Valerian. They may adversely affect anesthetic drugs, prolong bleeding and impair healing after surgery. While there is some debate as to which herbs have negative effects on surgery, none of them are life-saving or essential so all should just simply be stopped before your surgery.
  • Females: All osteoporosis drugs (e.g., Boniva) should be stopped. They have been reported to increase the risk of stroke after surgery

Medications to start two weeks prior to surgery:

  • Begin using an Arnica supplement 7 days prior to surgery and continue for one weeks afterwards. Arnica Montana (extract of the Mountain Lily flower) is a well known naturopathic remedy that has a positive effect on bruising. It not only helps prevent some of the that would otherwise occur but also that which does appear to go away faster. Arnica is available in multiple preparations; oral tablets, topical gels, and an oral spray.
  • Begin a multivitamin supplement at least two weeks, or more ideally one month before surgery. Vitamins and minerals, combined with a diet high in protein, provides the nutritional elements needed for good wound healing.
  • Begin high dose Vitamin C supplements (2 grams per day) one week before and for one week after surgery. Vitamin C is a critical molecule needed for making collagen, the very substance that heals tissues back together. Because Vitamin C is water-soluble, there is no risk of ever getting too much as what is not used will be excreted naturally.

Restrain from eating and drinking 8 hours prior to surgery

This is an absolute rule before any surgery that requires any form of an anesthetic and violating it can have life-threatening consequences. In other words, you are risking death over that cup of coffee or little morsel of food that you think you just cannot go without. Food or liquids in the stomach may be vomited during anesthesia, entering the lungs (aspiration) and causing a lethal pneumonia. For this reason, anesthesia is never performed without being assured that the patient has an empty stomach (being honest could save your life!). Regardless of the type of anesthesia you are scheduled to have- the risks are the same.

Arrange for Transportation To Take You Home After Surgery

You will need a ride. Because you are having an anesthetic, someone will need to be available to take you home. You cannot drive yourself nor can a taxi take you home. The only exception is for procedures done exclusively with a local injection anesthetic.


Dr. Eppley feels that informed patients have much less anxiety before and after plastic surgery. Great effort is made to educate you as much as possible…from the consultation process to the many educational items that are available and provided to you. Everything you are going to experience is something that we have seen or heard many times over. When in doubt..ask!

Elective plastic surgery, while both exciting and scary, should not be a mystery. The procedures you are having are something we have lots of experience with, and what will occur both during and after surgery can generally be predicted. Being fully informed should make you more comfortable about what you are to experience and what the outcome of surgery will be. Share this information with the person who will be taking care of you for the first few days after surgery. It can be very frightening for a spouse or your family to see how you may look immediately after surgery. A good suggestion is to leave a copy of this ‘PREP’ plan and your Post-Op instructions from your procedures out for your caretakers and supporters to read.

Post-Op success:

Plan for the hours immediately after your surgery ahead of time

Make trips to the pharmacy and grocery store, and arrange for child care. Plan your wardrobe for the day of surgery and a few days after. Loose-fitting clothing that can be unbuttoned or unzipped down the front is best. Designate an area in your home for yourself- such as a quiet bedroom or sofa away from busy family activities. Even if you are having a minor procedure, you will still need a minimum of 24 hours to fully recover from anesthesia, and will not be up to handling responsibilities by yourself. If you do not have a friend or family member to care for you the night of surgery, arrangements can be made for you to spend the night after surgery at the surgery center or in a local hotel or your home for a fee.

Rest and hydration

Rest and sleep, combined with a small meal and plenty of fluids are keys to making you feel better sooner after surgery. Fluid and electrolyte replacement is much more important than food.

Allow yourself adequate time for recovery

The biggest mistake most patients make after surgery is shortchanging the time needed for recovery. The number one cause of postoperative pain and complications is ‘over-doing it’ on your arrival home. Plan to take it easy for a few days, and be patient.

If you need help: call! During our normal business hours, call the office at (317) 706-4444. We’ll also give you a dedicated after-hours line so that you can reach someone anytime you need to.