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Steps You Can Take To Improve Your Surgical Experience

Starting Now
Stop Smoking: Smoking reduces circulation to the skin and impedes healing.  (This includes avoiding rooms with smokers.)  You must be nicotine free for at least 1 month prior to the procedure and throughout the duration of the various stages (a minimum of around 10 months).  Note: nicotine in your system increases risk for wound healing complications, infections, cardiac complications, pulmonary complications, or flap loss/failure.

Get in Shape:  While reconstruction process will help improve parts of your body, it is important to be in optimal shape prior to surgery.  A Body Mass Index between 19%-25% is an ideal goal.  We do not recommend “crash diets” or extreme lifestyle changes.  However, statistics have shown patients with a lower Body Mass Index have fewer wound healing complications, infections, pulmonary complications, and cardiac complications.

Protein Intake: Protein is a very important component to the healing process.Here’s an easy way to determine how much protein you need pre- and post-operatively:

Your Weight In kg x 2 = Grams of Protein Daily
(to convert pounds to kg you divide your weight in pounds by 2.2)

Take Multivitamins: Start taking multivitamins (with Vitamin C and iron) twice daily to improve your general health prior to surgery.

Avoid medications that affect bleeding tendency. These include – but are not limited to: Tamoxifen, Soltamox, Aromasin, Femara, Vitamin E, Fish Oil and herbal medication intake: 2 weeks pre-operatively and 2 weeks post-operatively. (Also, please inform your doctor if you are on any other form of hormone therapy or anticoagulation.)

Stool Softeners:  Begin natural vegetable powder stool softener (i.e. Metamucil) 2 weeks prior to your surgery and continue for 2 weeks after surgery.  Drink plenty of water and maintain a high fiber diet.

Fill your prescriptions:  You will be given prescriptions for medications prior to your 1st stage procedure.  Please have them filled before you are discharged from the hospital.  After being discharged you will continue on an antibiotic to prevent infection, a stool softener to prevent constipation, medications for pain management, to prevent muscle spasms, nausea, and an antibiotic ointment for the incisions, and an injectable blood thinner.

*DIEP patients should avoid shaving the groin area for at least 2 weeks prior to surgery to reduce the risk of infection.*


In The Weeks Before

Surgery Lab work:  Pre-surgery lab work must be completed prior to your surgery. Out of town patients can have their lab work done close to home, and have the results faxed to the hospital and our office (843-849-8419). We recommend that this be done at least 2 weeks before your surgery.  You will be given a prescription order to present at the facility of your choice.  Patients in our area will have a pre-operative consultation at the hospital, and may have lab work and testing done then.

Call the Office
Notify our office promptly if cold, fever, or any illness appears before surgery.  Call in any allergies, medications, or conditions that may have appeared after your initial consultation.  We must be aware of any and all health conditions.

The Day before Surgery
Cleansing:  Purchase Hibiclens or Dial soap and wash all surgical areas with these products.  (The Hibiclens is provided with the other prescriptions given pre-operatively.) DO NOT use this after your surgery unless otherwise instructed.

Do not shave the day before your surgery. Open wounds can invite infection.

Eating and Drinking:  Do not eat or drink anything after 12:00 midnight the evening prior to surgery.  This includes water.  No breath mints, no chewing gum.

Pre-Operative Office Visit:  It is necessary for you to come into the office the day prior to surgery with your MRA disk.  At that time, we will talk about the planned procedure, answer any questions you may have, review the list of prescriptions, and apply the surgical markings.  Be sure to set up this appointment with our receptionist.

The Morning of Surgery
Special Information:  Do not eat or drink anything!  If you take a daily medication, you may take it with a sip of water in the early morning unless the hospital has given you instructions otherwise.  No breath mints, no chewing gum.

Oral Hygiene:  You may brush your teeth but do not swallow the water.

Cleansing:  Shower and wash the surgical areas again with HIBICLENS or DIAL soap.

Make-up:  Please do not wear any moisturizers, creams, lotions, or make-up.

Clothing:  Wear only comfortable, loose fitting clothing that does not go over your head.  Remove hairpins, wigs, and jewelry.  Please do not bring valuables with you.

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