It is never too early to begin your preparation for facial rejuvenation surgery. Here are some practical recommendations that I share with my patients at the Whole Beauty® Institute in Chicago and Winnetka
Optimize your Nutrition
Whether you are planning to have a lifting surgery in 6 weeks or 6 months, now is a good time to optimize your nutrition. The best way to do this is to adopt a variant of the Mediterranean Diet, which emphasizes fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and cooking with olive oil. Foods rich in antioxidants, such as berries, pomegranate juice, and colored vegetables are great for you at any time, but particularly as you prepare for surgery. Many of my patients use the time before surgery as a great opportunity to permanently reset their habits in a way that will extend benefits for a lifetime.
Protect your Skin from the Sun
Sun exposure depletes your skin of protective antioxidants and supercharges the activity of pigment forming cells. This could potentially affect the healing process and lead to excess pigmentation along surgical incisions. Please make sure to use high quality sunblock on the face, especially in the four weeks leading up to surgery.
Optimize your Exercise Habits
Exercise optimizes the circulation and supercharges the body’s internal repair mechanism. There is no question in my mind that patients with good exercise habits recover quickly and easily from surgery. I always tell my patients that the closest thing we have to the proverbial Fountain of Youth is regular exercise and good nutrition. A planned face lift or other facial surgery provides a perfect motivation to develop solid habits of exercise.
Optimize your Weight in a Realistic Way
With facial surgery, especially in the neck and jaw-border area, it is best to have your weight near a realistic target prior to the surgery. It is better for you to pick a realistic goal for your weight that you can maintain for many years than for you to do a “crash diet” in order to reach an unsustainable goal. Good habits of nutrition and exercise will help to achieve healthy weight reduction.
Prepare your Skin for Surgery with Medical Grade Products
Our team of medical aestheticians can arrange a program of medical skin conditioning that will help to prepare your skin for surgery. We recommend that our patients consult with our aestheticians as part of the process of preparing for surgery.
Pick a Time for Surgery that Allows for a Smooth Recovery
It is unwise for you to feel rushed during your recovery from surgery. My patients tend to be busy, successful people, so they have a tendency to want to turn the recovery period to productive use. It is better to treat the recovery as a mini-vacation where you can detach yourself from your day-to-day concerns. If you do this, your recovery is much more likely to be smooth and uneventful. Often with facial aesthetic surgery there will be a friend or family member who will help you through the first few days after surgery. Please make sure well in advance of your surgery that your helper will be available on the days he or she is needed. If it is difficult for you to find a helper, please contact us and we can help arrange for a caregiver.
Prepare your Entertainment for the Recovery Pperiod
Put together a playlist of your favorite music. If your surgery involves the eyes, it will be necessary to rest them for the first few days after surgery. Audiobooks are a wonderful way to pass the time after surgery.
Prepare your Kitchen in Advance
With most facial surgeries it is best for you to enjoy relatively soft foods for the first few days after surgery. Pick some of your favorite easy-to-chew foods and stock your kitchen with them. Feel free to talk to our team for suggestions.
Prepare your Hair for Surgery
If your planned surgery is a face lift, a neck lift, or a neck and jaw border lift, Dr. Cook will make incisions that follow the contours of the ear. These generally heal so there will be very little trace, but for the first few weeks they will be noticeable. The longer you keep your hair around the ears, the easier it will be for you to hide the incisions in the early weeks after surgery. If you color your hair, make an appointment to do so a few days before surgery. That way your hair will hold its color during the recovery period. It will be several weeks before you will be able to color your hair after surgery.
Prepare your Bed for Surgery
For the first few days after surgery you will sleep with your head elevated. This diminishes swelling and bruising. There are several strategies that have worked well for our patients. If you have a recliner chair in your home this may be a very good solution. If you sleep in a bed with a flat mattress you should experiment with sleeping on several pillows that prop up your back and head. If you can sleep comfortably in this manner, this will be your sleep position. Another good option is to purchase a wedge that elevates you head and upper body. These can be obtained on-line or at most stores that sell sleep-related products. Another item that may be helpful is a tray table for the bed. This will help you keep your phone, books, music, and other items organized for the first few days after surgery during the times when you are in bed.
Our goal at the Whole Beauty® Institute is to optimize both the surgery and the recovery process. Please contact our team if there is any way that we can help you prepare for your surgery.