The transition from summer to fall is not only a good time to clean out your closet. Many find the time to also be ideal to schedule the plastic surgery you’ve been dreaming about. Bigger procedures, which includes most surgical procedures and a few of the more intense non-surgical procedures, require some downtime for recovery. In certain parts of the calendar year, many patients find it difficult to take time away from their busy lives and/or find the help that they may need in terms of their aftercare. This is why the holidays may be the perfect time for surgery.
The period from the end of December into January and early February is a busy one for Dr. Gaurav Bharti and his colleagues at HKB Plastic Surgery in Charlotte, NC. He discusses the best ways to prepare for surgery and why earlier is always better.
With summer in the rear view window and the holidays fast approaching, you’ve probably seen the term “seasonal surgery” in your Instagram feed or online. And though it may sound like a marketing ploy, there is actually some truth in the phrase. Many patients who are planning on a surgical procedure or a bigger non-surgical procedure, like an ablative laser or chemical peel, often like to schedule their procedure over the holiday break. “As the seasons change and we move into fall and winter, that’s when our office typically picks up a lot of steam,” shares Dr. Bharti.
The tail end of December into January and/or early February is a period when many patients have time off work. And, if you are a stay at home mom, it’s a time of year when your spouse is around so that he can pick up the slack with the kids, allowing you to recover. Furthermore, scheduling your mommy makeover in late December, for example, means that your body will be beach-ready come spring break and summer.
“We encourage patients to come in pretty early so that they can get on the books and have a plan in the place,” explains Dr. Bharti. This is particularly vital for patients who are looking to schedule their surgery during a specific time during the year.
Procedures that fall in this category include:
- mommy makeover
- breast augmentation
- chemical peel
- ablative laser
For anything else that requires more than a few days for recovery, schedule a consultation to meet with your plastic surgeon sooner rather than later. While there is a lot of great information available today online, and it’s always a good idea to do your research, nothing that you learn on the web can replace an in-person consultation. Great plastic surgery is always about matching the right procedure to the individual anatomy and needs of the patient.
During the consultation, Dr. Bharti discusses the ins and outs of the procedure as well as what a patient can realistically expect in terms of the recovery. This enables patients to prepare at home. “One of the things that we never want to do is add to the stress of surgery by adding to the stress at home from a recovery standpoint,” Bharti explains. “It’s good for you to get all of your ducks in a row.”
Earlier the Better
Planning is crucial. The sooner that you can identify a time for your surgery, the better. Some patients schedule out a year in advance. “Starting the conversation as early as possible is always the way to go,” shares Bharti. Not only will your schedule get crazier as the holidays approach, but so will your surgeons. And let’s be honest, the time period between Labor Day and the New Year is always turbo charged. So, be prepared. This is not only true for scheduling surgery, but also for your recovery. A successful surgical outcome is not just about a great aesthetic result, but about managing expectations. As long as you know exactly what you can expect in terms of post-operative pain, limited mobility, bruising and swelling, the better you can prepare and the happier that you will be.
A Stable Weight is an Important Goal
One of the easiest and best ways for a patient to get ready for his or her surgery is to adopt and stick to a really healthy lifestyle. “We want patients to be stable from a weight standpoint,” says Dr. Bharti. He doesn’t want patients to yo-yo diet or lose a bunch of weight right before surgery. The reason is that if you do so and then regain the weight – always a very real possibility – this could adversely affect your results, or even nullify them. The key is to be at a maintainable goal weight before surgery. “What’s interesting about our practice is that we will take care of higher BMI patients,” shares Bharti. What’s important to him and his colleagues is that the higher BMI patient’s weight remains stable. This allows him to deliver a nice aesthetic result that will stand the test of time, and be ready for the sun on the beach.