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Surgery Advice

Tips and Advice for Surgery

Before Surgery:

  • No aspirin before surgery - it'll make bruising and swelling worse.
  • Take Shark cartilage for leukocyte formation to fight infection.
  • Take Vitamin C 1000 mg with bioflavanoids and rutin for tissue integrity.
  • Eat a nutritious, high-protein diet.
  • Drink LOTS of water before and after surgery. Hydration helps skin to heal better.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Before you leave for surgery, arrange your living space so that you won't have to reach for anything you need (food, etc.) when you get home.
  • If it's going to be warm or hot after your surgery, you might want to ask the doctor ahead of time to order you two vests/binders. That way when the one you're wearing gets dirty you can wear the other while washing the first one.

Things to take with you to surgery

  • Acidophilus supplements (you can get them anywhere they sell vitamins) to take while you're on antibiotics to prevent yeast infections - you don't want those to happen. You can also eat plain yoghurt every day, but it's much easier to just take the acidophilus supplements.
  • Large safety pins - you'll want to pin your drain-bottles to your vest to keep them stationary.
  • Button-down pyjamas and button-down shirts - you may not be able to get clothing up over your head after surgery.
  • Sweat-pants - immediately after surgery you might be too swollen to fit into the jeans you wore that morning.
  • Backscratcher - get one so you won't pull any of your stitches trying to scratch your back.
  • Baby wipes or some sort of 'Wet Ones' so you can keep clean during the time before you're allowed to shower again. Be careful of using them near the drain holes, though, people have got infections by getting too close.
  • Loofah on a long handle - reaching your shoulders, upper arms and back is painful for a while after surgery, and it can also stretch/rip your stitches.
  • Bendable straws in case you're too sore to lift drinks for the first couple of days.
  • Slippers and slip-on shoes - take loafers, flip-flops, or anything you don't have to bend for.

After Surgery:

  • Immediately after surgery, make sure you leave everything you need within reach, especially at night.
  • Do not bend over for several days after surgery. It puts pressure on your new chest and can cause hemorrhaging, breaking of stitches, tears, etc. Stoop by bending your knees, keeping your back straight.
  • Do not carry your luggage after surgery. You will traumatise your chest this way by causing internal bleeding or pulling stitches. Have someone carry it for you. If you're alone, ask for assistance. If you're flying, most airlines will be able to provide this, contact them in advance to arrange it.
  • If you have scars, once the surgical tape is off your scars, rub Palmer's Cocoa Butter with Vitamin E lotion on them to help them fade or use a scar treatment such as Mederma or Kelocote (UK name Dermatix).
  • If you have scars, keep your scars out of the sun for a year to prevent keloiding. If you must go out in the sun bare-chested, put white medical tape over your scars - not even the strongest sunscreen can do the job.
  • Anaesthesia can take a long time to drain out of your body - up to a month or more, especially if you're sensitive to it. While it's draining from your body, it can cause significant depression. Talk to your doctor about getting a one-time prescription for antidepressants if this concerns you.

Tips to make your first days easier:

  • Nausea - Get a loaf of bread and eat a slice every time you take a pain pill, even if you're not hungry or you just ate something else. The bread will help reduce or even eliminate nausea from the pain pills.
  • Bathing - If it's difficult for you to get in and out of the tub using only your leg-muscles, this will be more difficult following surgery. Baby-Wipes can assist you in cleaning yourself until you can bathe. If you can perform the acrobatics, only fill the tub 2-3 inches and you don't want to get the top half of your body wet at all.
  • Hair - You might be able to run the shower by pointing the water straight down and on low-force and bend over enough just to wet and wash your hair yet not get your vest/chest wet. Kind of risky though. Some guys have someone wash their hair in the sink for them.
  • Fridge - Rent a small fridge to keep in your hotel room. Eating out three times a day gets expensive! With a fridge you can store milk, cereal, fruit, as well as snacks, juice, water, etc.
  • Walking - Don't plan to do a lot of walking the first few days after surgery, no matter how good you feel. Even if you feel great, the surgery is a lot of trauma for your body to recover from. Lots of rest is the key to a good recovery.
  • VCR/Videos - You might want to rent a VCR and some videos to hook up to your hotel-room TV.
  • Avoid reaching, stretching, or movements that can pull/rip your stitches - Before you go for surgery, get everything down that is up high that you might need for the next two months: cereal bowls, plates, toilet paper, towels, clothes etc. You don't want to take the risk even once. Write this down and put it up where you won't forget, and two weeks before you're to go for your surgery, start considering everything that you use. If it's high, bring it down and put it somewhere low.
  • Surgery in warmer weather - If it's going to be warm or hot after your surgery, you might want to ask the doctor ahead of time to order you two vests/binders. That way when the one you're wearing gets dirty you can wear the other while washing the first one.