As part of your initial consultations, I will ask you questions about your general health and lifestyle. This is to help me look after you during your procedure and afterwards. It also helps in choosing both the type of procedure and the timing of surgery to achieve the best results for you. Some of the things I may ask about and the reasons why are listed below.
Among the many negative effects that smoking has, is the ability to reduce the blood supply to skin. This can seriously affect healing ability and the risk of infection. In certain procedures for example facelift surgery and some types of breast surgery, smoking around the time of surgery adds so significantly to the risk of complications that I will not perform this surgery if you smoke. Smoking can also add to the risk of chest problems after a general anaesthetic. If you smoke, I will advise that you stop for the period before and after planned surgery (preferably six weeks before and after surgery). Of course, it is far better for your health to stop smoking completely!
Alcohol should be avoided in the immediate days around your surgery as it can affect blood flow rates. Excessive intake during your recovery period should also be avoided as it can jeopardise the final result.
It is vital that I know of any allergies that you may have and the type of reaction that you have suffered. Reasonably common allergies that can cause serious problems include penicillin, latex and iodine allergies. Any allergy that you have should be mentioned prior to all procedures.
For some procedures, your weight and any weight loss or gain are extremely important to the outcome of the surgery. If you are significantly overweight, you will have a higher risk of problems during and after a general anaesthetic and of problems with wound healing afterwards. For many cosmetic procedures to resculpt your body, the best results are achieved after you have reached a stable and healthy weight for your height and build.
If you suffer from medical conditions such as diabetes or collagen disorders, this can increase the risk of slow healing or infections after surgery. Heart and lung disease can also impact on the type of anaesthetic that can be offered to you. High blood pressure may need to be treated before having some procedures such as facelift surgery. You may need to have medical conditions stabilised prior to undergoing any procedure.
It is important to mention if you have ever suffered from cold sores before undergoing facial procedures. It may be necessary to take a course of anti-viral medication to prevent a flare up after the procedure.
Medications that thin the blood such as aspirin, some anti-inflammatories, clopidrogrel and warfarin increase your risk of bleeding, bruising and haematoma. For some procedures you will not need to stop these medications e.g. mole excisions or some skin cancer procedures. For others such as facelift surgery or some eyelid surgery, I will ask you to stop these medications in advance. Conversely, some medication such as contraceptives or other hormonal therapies can increase your risk of blood clots in your legs or lungs after surgery and will need to be stopped in advance for this reason. Advice on stopping medication will depend on which medication you are on, why you are on it and the procedure you are having done.
Medications such as steroids may slow down wound healing and increase the risk of infection after surgery. Advice on stopping medication or timing of surgery again will depend on the reasons you are taking the medication and the type of surgery involved.
Please let me know if you take any herbal or dietary supplements. Some of these supplements can increase the chances of bruising and bleeding and may need to be stopped in advance of surgery.