It’s a given that good nutrition is a basic requirement for healing after surgery, but plastic surgery patients often have unique needs. Being more body-conscious, they are more likely to diet, may already have had significant weight loss, and frequently use supplements. We definitely encourage our patients to be in optimal health before having elective surgery, and nutritional support is vital. There are some potential problems with certain diets and supplements however, so good communication is critical for a successful outcome.
Why you should discuss diet and supplements with your plastic surgeon
In the days following surgery, the body enters what is called a “catabolic state” of increased metabolic demands. Vitamin and protein intake are especially important during this phase, and one way to get adequate protein is hydrolyzed collagen. (I’ve posted before on the benefits of collagen after nonsurgical procedures and skin health.) Certain vitamins such as E can impair blood clotting, possibly increasing the risk of bleeding, so if your surgeon advises against supplemental vitamin E it is wise to comply. For similar reasons, it is also smart not to second-guess your plastic surgeon’s judgment by not disclosing what supplements you may be taking, as they may interfere with medications or anesthesia.
Weight loss strategies such as the ketogenic diet may be helpful in losing weight and maintaining health, but be cautious when recovering from surgery. The altered metabolism of a keto diet may not be what the body needs during the early phases of healing. One scientific paper even suggested that kidney failure can occur from increased nitrogen excretion in the catabolic state after surgery.
Most of what you need to know about nutrition before and after plastic surgery is common sense, but as the saying goes, common sense is not always so common. This is especially true where supplement marketing is concerned, so I prescribe a healthy dose of skepticism. Take a good multivitamin, eat well with enough protein and fiber, stay hydrated, and like your momma said, eat your vegetables.