7 essential health considerations if you’re thinking about cosmetic surgery
No matter what your stance on cosmetic surgery, if you’re thinking of undergoing a procedure for whatever reason, it’s important that you’re physically and mentally healthy and understand the risks associated with the surgery you're considering.
To understand some of the health factors involved in cosmetic procedures we spoke to Dr Hagen Schumacher, expert aesthetic surgeon at MyAesthetics, for the facts.
1. You must be open about allergies
It’s important to tell your surgeon if you have sensitive skin and about any known allergies, as some dressings contain ingredients which you may react to, including acrylates, silicones, rubber and latex.
Even telling your surgeon about minor past reactions from silver or nickel in jewellery, bra clips, watch straps or waistbands, can provide them with useful insights about potential allergens.
Most allergic reactions are minor but can be uncomfortable and in some cases may need extra treatment like topical corticosteroids or antihistamines. So, it can be worth pre-empting and discussing any concerns with your surgeon in advance.
2. You need to watch your BMI
Results are best for cosmetic procedures if your body mass index is under 30.
If someone is overweight or obese and planning to have surgery, it’s important to be aware that excess weight can possibly put the body under more strain and at risk of certain side effects and complications. These can result from the surgery itself or the anaesthesia which may be needed.
Being overweight also increases chances of sleep apnoea, which can be a complicating factor in the administration of general anaesthesia. Anyone prone to this already must tell their surgeon during a consultation, so they can tailor surgery to individual needs.
Improving your health before surgery can help make it as safe as possible, decrease chances of complications and help you get back on your feet faster.
If you are told by your surgeon or doctor that your weight might impact the results of your surgery - and the circumstances aren’t urgent - consider losing some weight under a doctor’s supervision. Any weight loss must be stabilised for at least six months prior to surgery.
3. You’ll need to quit cigarettes and cut back on alcohol
Many people don’t realise the importance of quitting smoking, before, duringandfor some time after surgery.
Nicotine causes the blood vessels to constrict, reducing them in size and restricting blood supply to organs and tissues which can slow down a wound’s healing post-surgery.
The complication rate risk for smokers has been reported to increase and according to a recent study, smokers needed 33 per cent more anaesthesia during an operation and 23 per cent more pain medication afterwards, compared to non-smokers.
The general advice is to stop completely for six weeks before and six weeks after surgery which includes all nicotine-containing products too.
Doctors also recommend cutting out alcohol one to two weeks before surgery, due to possible interaction with anaesthesia and increased risks of bleeding.
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