1. Prescriptions: The most important you will need when recovering from surgery are the prescriptions that are given to you at your pre-operative appointment. It is a good idea to get these filled prior to your surgery so that you will not have to worry about running to the pharmacy on your way home from the hospital. These prescriptions usually include a pain medication and possibly an antibiotic.
2. Ice Packs: Icing is an important part of your recovery for the firs 24-48 hours. In this period of time icing will help to decrease the amount of swelling you will experience. After this time icing can also be used for comfort. For example, icing after liposuction helps greatly to decrease the amount of pain experienced. Making your own ice packs is quite easy. Take a heavy duty freezer ball and fill with 3 parts water and 1 part rubbing alcohol. This mixture will get really cold, but will not harden!
3. Ointment: Most cosmetic surgeries (but not all) will require you to use ointment of some kind on your incisions. It is a good idea to have both an antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin as well as a non-antibiotic ointment such as Aquaphor or Vaseline. We will instruct you on where and when you should use these ointments for your specific surgery.
4. Liquids: Hydrate hydrate hydrate!! This is very important for both before and after surgery. We recommend that the day prior to your surgery you up your fluid intake. You must not have ANYTHING to eat or drink after midnight the night before your surgery, but up until that point we ask you to push those fluids. After surgery, you will be able to eat and drink anything you can tolerate, however, some patients are not able to tolerate solid foods right away so having a lot of different liquids to choose from is a good idea as it is so important to keep hydrated.
5. Proper Undergarments: Depending on what type of surgery you are having you may need to purchase new undergarments to aid in your recovery process. If you are having breast or abdomen surgery you will be given a compression garment at the time of your surgery to wear for at least the beginning of your recovery process. You most likely will need to purchase something else to get into for the end of your recovery process. For example after breast reduction surgery you will wear the breast binder provided for the first one to two weeks, but following this most patients will wear a sports bra, cotton bra without under wire or a tight tank top with a shelf bra in it until you are 6 weeks out from surgery. Some patients also find the abdominal binder we provide them with to be bulky under clothing. It is usually necessary to wear this for the first 4 weeks to ensure you are getting enough compression, but after this time when patients are going back to work they usually are able to get into some kind of shape wear that is more sleek under their clothes. Make sure to ALWAYS ask us if what you want to wear is okay. It is a good idea to bring the garments you have bought (with the tags on, so you can return is necessary) to one of your appointments for us to approve.
6. Comfy Clothes: Being comfortable after surgery is key! Make sure you have plenty of comfortable sweatpants, fuzzy socks and slippers and big sweatshirts for after surgery. If you are having breast surgery it is easier in the initial recovery period if you have shirts that either button or zip up the front.
7. Gauze and Hypoallergenic Skin Tape: You may not end up needing gauze depending on the surgery you have, however, it is a great idea to have it in case you do. We recommend using tape as sparingly as possible to avoid extra irritation to your skin. Typically placing gauze over your incisions and then applying your breast or abdominal binder over it will keep the gauze in place. Having some tape at home in case you need it is a great idea too though.
8. Gloves: Make sure you have gloves in a size that will fit whoever is taking care of you after surgery. If you have drains that need to be emptied or need help with dressings it is a good idea for whoever if helping to wear gloves while they are helping you. Make sure that they wash their hands before after they help you even if they do wear gloves!
9. Antibacterial Soap /Hand Sanitizer: We will ask you to use antibacterial soap in the shower starting a few days before the surgery. After surgery hand sanitizer will come in handy for your caretaker as they will be doing a lot of hand washing!
10. Pillows: Make sure you have plenty of extra pillows for use after your surgery. It sometimes difficult to find a position that is comfortable after surgery, but pillows can help to fix this dilemma. We recommend that after surgery you sleep with your head elevated. This can be achieved by sleeping in a recliner for the beginning of your recovery period, however, not everyone has a recliner! So, you can fake it by propping yourself up with pillows. You may also want to put some pillows on your sides so you don't roll over while sleeping and under your knees.
The last thing that did not make the official list but is also important to have on hand is our phone number! (413) 565-4400. If you have questions or concerns after surgery we are always available to help! Our trained receptionists are able to answer many questions and of course Dr. Brooks, Leah and Julia are also available if they cannot answer your question! We are here to make your recovery process as comfortable as possible!