Properly preparing for surgery is an extremely important step in a successful dermatology surgical procedure. If you are coming in for surgery, your dermatologist should give you a detailed list of guidelines to follow in the days leading up to your procedure so you feel prepared, safe, and comfortable. With all procedures, we try to be as minimally invasive as possible, but by following these guidelines ahead of time, as well as minding the post-surgical care afterwards, you’re recovery will be quicker and easier. Below are some general guidelines recommended for patients:

In the week and a half before surgery, you’ll want to prep your body for the procedure.

This means that you will want to be particularly aware of the medications you are using. NSAID pain relievers such as motrin are known blood thinners, which you want to avoid before having surgery in case of complications.

Additional blood thinners to avoid in this time frame include Vitamin E, Glucosamine, Fish Oil, Ginseng, Ginko, and possibly others.

Consult your doctor with any questions. Additionally, avoid taking aspirin unless your doctor has specifically prescribed it for you. If you are avoiding these things and you experience aches and pains, use Tylenol instead of blood thinners to soothe the pain.

If you are taking Coumadin or Plavix, do NOT stop taking them.

In addition, you’ll want to make sure that the surgeon is completely aware of your health conditions so that he or she will be able to keep you safe for the surgery.

In particular, make sure your dermatologist is fully aware of all major health conditions such as a pacemaker, defibrillator, diabetes, prosthetic joints or limbs, experience with major surgeries such as heart surgery, or Mitral Valve Prolapse.

Lastly, use this time to prepare yourself for the days after surgery. Make sure you’re fully aware of and prepared for the recovery time and that you’re planning for any required post-op appointments. In most cases, you’ll need to return to the dermatology clinic within one to two weeks of surgery.

As you prepare for the recovery time, take care to purchase a good healing ointment like AquaPhor or Vaseline, which will make a significant difference in how your skin heals after surgery.

The day of surgery, you will not need to go hungry – keep yourself fully fed, hydrated, and comfortable as you normally would.

In addition, come wearing comfortable clothing that is dark and loose, such as a dark button-up shirt and jeans, and bring a jacket if you think you may need it.

Most importantly, make sure you’re prepared for what the surgery will do to you: pay close attention to the instructions the dermatologist gives you for after the surgery, and bring someone to be with you in the car or to drive you home afterward.

Give yourself reasonable recovery and rest time, and again, take note of the medication adjustments required around surgery.

Do not pick up blood thinners again for at least a few days. With aspirin in particular, if you stop taking it before surgery, give yourself a good 5 days after surgery before taking it again.