By James Marotta, MD
1. Divert from the recommended treatment plan
One of the main reasons you chose your cosmetic surgeon in the first place is for his/her expertise. Your surgeon wants what’s best for you and wants you to look good. He/she can evaluate your anatomy and anticipated outcome better than you can because of their experience. Yet, despite that, patients still take matters into their own hands by ignoring or diverting from the recommended treatment plan laid out for them by their surgeon. It’s a common mistake and one of the top five ways to ruin your surgery results. Numerous studies have shown that patient satisfaction with cosmetic surgery is lower when they don’t follow their recommended treatment plan given to them by their doctor. Trust the treatment plan your surgeon has prescribed and follow it!
Smoking directly injures the vascular system and impedes healing. It also increases the risk of complications like scars and skin necrosis. You should not smoke. Period. It’s not good for your overall health. And if you’ve quit in order to undergo cosmetic surgery, don’t light up while you’re recovering unless you want to risk ruining your results.
3. Lay out in the sun
Sun exposure after surgery or skin resurfacing is another top no-no. Being out in the sun after procedures like laser, dermabrasion and chemical peels can lead to complications like hypo (lightening) or hyper (darkening) pigmentation of the skin. It also decreases the ability for scars to fade. So stay out of the sun as much as possible after surgery, cover up and wear your sunscreen!
4. Take supplements or medication without telling your physician
There are several common medications and supplements that can cause an increased risk of bleeding and poor wound healing, not to mention complications from anesthesia or just make recovery more difficult with something simple like stomach upset. Make sure you tell your doctor what medications and supplements you take at your pre-op and don’t take anything while you’re recovering without speaking to your physician first. And remember that just because something is herbal or “natural” doesn’t always mean that it’s safe in all circumstances.
5. Don’t disclose prior procedures to your surgeon
Prior procedures may be relevant to how your doctor approaches your surgery. Having surgical and non-surgical procedures on the area being treated can drastically affect the outcome of your surgery. Therefore, your surgeon needs to know what you’ve had done, where, and when. With full disclosure, your surgeon can develop a plan to treat around specific circumstances that may arise during your procedure in order to provide you with the highest level of care. Don’t omit information on your intake forms or at your pre-op because you think it’s unrelated or unimportant. Let your health care provider make that determination. They may have questions for you – answer honestly. Even if you feel funny to tell them, remember that it is in your own best interest and that your surgeon wants you to have a positive end result as much as you do.
James Marotta, MD, is a dual Board Certified facial plastic surgeon who specializes in facial plastic surgery with particular expertise and interest in minimally invasive (endoscopic) facial plastic surgery and facial rejuvenation/anti-aging (surgical and non-surgical). He attended Columbia University and graduated as president of the medical honor society at SUNY Stony Brook School of Medicine. He trained at Yale University in head and neck surgery and was consistently recognized as the top head and neck surgeon in the program. He achieved board certification upon completion of his residency. Marotta then completed additional subspecialty training as a fellow in facial cosmetic and reconstructive surgery at one of the leading facial plastic fellowships in the country.