You’ve made the decision to undergo breast surgery and you’ve booked the big day. All you’ve got left to do is count down the days until your surgery day. With these important decisions out of the way, you may find that anxiety starts to crawl in. You may start to feel a bit stressed about the procedure and the recovery period.
There are several things that you can do to help relieve your stress and anxiety. Your surgeon will provide you with preoperative instructions, and they should always supersede any other guidelines that you read.
- Be aware of supplements, vitamins and other medications
There are a number of supplements, vitamins and even prescription medications that can interfere with your surgery and recovery. Aspirin and products that contain aspirin can thin the blood, which may lead to serious bleeding complications during surgery. Birth control pills can bring with them an increased risk for blood clots, which many patients are at a higher risk of developing after any type of surgical procedure.
Be sure to provide your surgeon with a list of everything that you take. According to breast surgeon Dr. David Sharp, even your multivitamin should be mentioned. If you take certain prescription medications, you may not be able to go without them for too much time. Your surgeon will be able to provide you with the best advice about these medications.
Keep in mind that you may need to stop taking a number of these supplements and medications prior to surgery in order to avoid the potential for complications. Medications that can impact your blood, such as aspirin or birth control pills, should be halted several weeks prior to surgery.
- Learn, learn, learn
Perhaps the most important thing that you can do for yourself prior to any surgical procedure is to educate yourself. Learn all that there is to know about the procedure and the recovery. Read through all of the information that your surgeon sends home with you. It will include a list of supplements and medications that you should avoid, along with letting you know what type of foods you should consider eliminating or including into your diet.
You should be aware of the potential complications that can arise after surgery. This can help to ensure you know when the right time is to seek out medical advice while you are healing. Be sure to also ask your surgeon how their clinic handles emergency situations.
- Stop smoking, as soon as is possible
If you are a smoker, it’s important that you stop before you undergo any type of surgical procedure. Smoking can have an impact on blood pressure and on the wound healing process. Your surgeon may be able to point you in the direction for smoking cessation products and programs if you need a bit of additional help.
- Get postoperative help lined up
You will need to have someone drive you home after your surgery, and it would be a good idea to have them take care of you for the first few days of recovery. After any breast surgery, whether a lift, reduction or augmentation, you’ll find it difficult to use your arms much at all. Having a family member or friend help you out will be immensely helpful. If you have children or pets in the home, then it’ll be even more important that you have help tending to their needs. You won’t be able to bend over or pick up your children until you’ve completely recovered from the surgery.
- Stock up on essential supplies
As a part of learning more about recovering from breast surgery, you’ll need to learn how to tend to your incisions while they are healing. Keeping sterile wound care supplies on hand will help you to keep your incisions clean as they heal after surgery. Beyond supplies to treat your incisions, you should consider getting several pairs of comfortable pajamas with loose-fitting tops that will be easy to get on and off. Avoid investing too much in new bras and tops until your swelling has subsided. It could be several months before your swelling has gone.
You can also use the days and weeks prior to your surgery to pick out some great new books to read or learn some new stress-relieving meditations. You won’t be able to get in a good workout for at least four weeks after your surgery, so it might be useful to learn some great low-impact yoga stretches that you will be able to do. While you can’t work out, you should still keep your body moving to help with your circulation. Short walks around the house, and eventually around the neighborhood, can also help you to regain some of the energy that surgery may see you losing. Above all, trust in what your surgeon tells you.