Although the decision to have facial plastic surgery is a choice, procedures such as blepharoplasty and facelift are still medical procedures. For that reason, both you and your surgeon want to make sure you’re in the best health possible before the surgery. When you schedule a consultation with a facial plastic surgeon, she will most likely ask you about your medical history and request that you have a number of tests performed in advance of the procedure.
Tell Your Surgeon About Medical Issues
One of the more important things to do before a facelift or other facial plastic surgery is to tell your surgeon about any medical issues you have. A good rule of thumb to follow in this case is that no issue is too small to mention. Tell her about any conditions you have, such as diabetes or autoimmune disorders, as well as any allergies you have, even if they seem irrelevant. It might be that the anesthesia a surgeon was planning on using contains an ingredient you are allergic to, and that the surgeon might need to use a different one during your procedure.
It’s also important to tell your surgeon about the medications you take. Again, no medication is too minor not to mention. Even if you only occasionally take an aspirin or only take herbal supplements, tell your surgeon. Aspirin, for example, should be avoided starting a few weeks before surgery, as it can increase your bleeding risk. A number of herbal supplements and vitamin supplements should also be avoided, as they can increase bleeding risk or interfere with the anesthesia.
Have an Exam
Your surgeon will most likely recommend that you see your general practitioner or family doctor for a full medical check-up, if you haven’t done so before your consultation. A full medical exam is an important step to making sure you really are as healthy as you can be and to detect or rule out any medical issues that can interfere with or complicate facial plastic surgery.
If you’d like, it might be helpful to schedule the exam several months before you see a plastic surgeon. That way, you and your doctor can work on correcting any issues that are detected during it. You will most likely want to have another exam as the date of your surgery approaches, to make sure that no new issues have cropped up.
Have a Blood Test
A blood test is usually strongly recommended before surgery. Some surgeons won’t perform a procedure unless a patient has had a clear blood test within the past two weeks. Typically, a blood test will involve a complete blood count, which will tell a surgeon if you have an elevated white blood count, which can be a sign of infection, or not. A CBC will also let a surgeon know about your red blood cell levels and whether you are anemic or not. If you are somewhat anemic, your surgeon might recommend taking iron supplements before surgery.
A blood test will also measure your cholesterol levels and test your kidney and liver function. If there are issues with your liver or kidney function, it’s usually a good idea to postpone surgery until they are under control.
Have an EKG (in Some Cases)
Not every patient will need an electrocardiogram, or EKG (also called an ECG). The test measures the electrical activity of your heart. It can detect any issues with the heart’s function or determine what’s causing any heart problems you might have. The test can also give you peace of mind that all is well with your heart’s function.
Usually, a EKG is recommended for facial plastic surgery patients over the age of 50, even if they haven’t had any heart issues in the past. No matter how old you are, if you have any history of heart disease, your surgeon will advise you to have an EKG before a procedure.
It can help to be as prepared as possible before you schedule a consultation with an aging face specialist such as Dr. Jessica Kulak at the Naderi Center. Checking in with your family doctor first can help you feel more confident about your health when you do go in for a facial plastic surgery consultation. Knowing your medical history or any issues you means that you can fully discuss them with a facial plastic surgeon and make a plan that takes them into account.
Dr. Kulak practices at both locations of the Naderi Center, in Virginia and in Maryland. For an appointment at the Virginia practice, call (703) 481-0002. For an appointment in Maryland, call (301) 222-2020 today.