Health advice for those contemplating surgery
As with any surgery, your overall health will have a significant impact on the result, and the more we know about it, the more steps we can take to ensure a smooth surgical journey. For this reason, it is important to let me know of any previous surgeries, anaesthetics, or underlying medical conditions (even if they are well controlled, for example blood pressure or cholesterol). We also need to know of any allergic reactions to medications or dressings. If you are on any regular medications (including over-the-counter and herbal remedies), be sure to let us know. Certain drugs can make you more prone to bleeding or bruising, and may need to be avoided in the run-up to surgery. I may ask you to check with the prescribing doctor if it is safe to stop such medications for a short period around surgery, as they will likely be in the best position to take this decision.
Alcohol, taken in line with national recommendations, is not generally thought to have an adverse effect on surgical outcomes. However, it is not advisable prior to a general anaesthetic, and may make you more prone to bruising afterwards (as it causes vasodilation or widening of the blood vessels). It is therefore best to abstain for the short period of time around your procedure.
Nicotine causes the small blood vessels in the body to constrict/ narrow, reducing the overall blood flow. Its presence, whether through inhaled cigarette smoke or nicotine replacement products such as gum, patches, e-cigarettes, etc., can therefore have a dramatic impact on healing after surgery, as this process is dependent on a healthy blood flow to the affected area. Certain operations may need to be modified slightly to make them safer in someone who smokes, while others may be unsuitable. It is therefore vital that you let me know if you do smoke, in order that I can advise you as to the safest and best options to achieve your desired result.
Nutrition and weight
The best, most lasting results from cosmetic procedures are generally seen in patients who have good overall health, are physically active, and who are at a stable healthy weight prior to their surgery. Significant changes in body weight after an operation are likely to have a significant (often detrimental) impact on the end result. I recommend that surgery is undertaken when you have been at the same weight for a few months. This is because you need to be sure that this is a weight you can maintain in the long term, as well as the fact that you may have certain nutritional deficiencies if you have just completed a very restrictive diet. It is more important to me that you are at a stable weight that you can maintain, than at an “ideal” unrealistic weight for you, however some procedures are simply too risky in those over a certain BMI. I am very happy to meet you to discuss appropriate goals if you are still in the process of weight loss: many patients find this useful as it gives them a solid goal towards which they can aim.
Fitness and exercise
Many people seek cosmetic surgical procedures as part of their overall journey towards a healthier, fitter body and mind. It is certain that being physically fit will be of benefit to you from both an anaesthetic, surgical, and healing point of view. It is important, however, that you take adequate time off training to allow recuperation after any procedure. You will find approximate estimates of the amount of time you will need off in the “Essentials” section provided on each procedure, and I will give you individual advice as part of your care. From a personal point of view, I understand how frustrating “enforced” time off from training can be, so you may be assured that I will understand just how anxious you are to get back from a physical and mental point of view!
Sick notes and certificates
We are happy to provide you with a sick note stating that you require time off work or other commitments for medical reasons. This will usually take the form of a letter written on our headed paper, which clearly states that I am a plastic surgeon. Should you wish to have such a note written on Beacon Hospital paper, please ensure that you request this whilst in hospital. Sick notes can only be provided once a procedure has been completed. Please note that I do not provide Social Welfare certificates: these can be obtained from your GP, should you so require.
CONSEQUENCES, LIMITATIONS, AND COMPLICATIONS OF SURGERY
It is my duty to provide you with a balanced view of the surgical procedure that you are considering, in order that you can make an informed decision as to whether to proceed. Some of the specific issues related to individual surgeries are discussed under the relevant section on this website, although this information should not be considered to be an exhaustive list. A comprehensive discussion, individualised to you and your proposed procedure forms an essential part of the consultation and consent process. I encourage you to ask any questions that come to mind, no matter how insignificant or silly you may think they are – in my experience, those “silly” questions are rarely that, rather relevant, important issues that need to be addressed in order for you to be happy with your decision to go ahead.
Advice for patients after general anaesthetic at the Day Unit in the Beacon Hospital
Keep well hydrated: have a glass of water by your bed overnight
Rest as much as possible for next 24 hours
Take a light diet initially
Do not drive or operate machinery for 24 hours
Arrange for someone to mind your children
If you are having problems, please contact us on 015553777: if unavailable call your GP. If your GP is unavailable, call the Day Unit with any queries on 012937588 or 012937586 between 7am and 7.45pm. Out of hours, please call the Nursing Supervisor on 012937535. Ms Fitzgerald will be contacted immediately by Beacon Hospital staff if necessary.