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Medically Reviewed by:

Robert Applebaum M.D.

Pre Op Nutritional Needs for Plastic Surgery

Deciding to undergo elective plastic surgery is more than just getting the procedure, it’s about the whole process from beginning to end, and one of the important  components is nutrition. Any surgical procedure is going to create a need to tolerate the surgery as well as to optimize recovery and proper healing, and how you feed your body plays a critical role. This is why, as the American College of Surgeons states, that nutrition is important.

What Does My Body Need

There is not a singular vitamin or mineral that your body needs prior and after a procedure, instead it requires a group of these in order to support both immunity, the replenishment of red blood cells, and recovery needs. Therefore, it is important that you focus on having a balanced approach to your diet, including healthy quantities of vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.

The Importance of Proteins

After surgery your body needs to repair tissue, and this is the central role of protein. Various tissues and muscles are primarily protein based, so making sure that your body is consuming the proper amounts of amino acid to promote the repair of incision points is crucial for proper recovery and the best end results. Making certain to choose protein source such as  chicken, fish, eggs, dairy products and even plant based proteins, will ensure that you will have the building block  materials to repair your body.

What Vitamins Will I Need?

For many plastic surgery procedures, there is an immediate need to boost collagen production as well as immune function to prevent infection. And while maintaining a balanced diet is important, it serves the patient well to focus on some key vitamins and minerals. And there are certain specific vitamins and minerals that the human body requires to heal at its full capability.

The Importance of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a natural anti-inflammatory, and also promotes collagen production, making it an important nutrient. In addition, it can also help boost your immune system to help prevent infection. However, this does not mean you should load up on store-bought supplements. Instead, incorporate fruits and vegetables such as citrus juices, peppers, cabbage, and green vegetables such as broccoli. Obtaining vitamins that are naturally occurring within these foods is the most effective method.

Pay Attention to Vitamin A

Having the building blocks for tissue and muscle is not the only vital factor of repair and recovery, skin integrity is just as critical. Vitamin A is one of the best nutrients that can contribute to this factor. Found in potatoes, leafy greens and carrots, making certain to enhance your diet with these types of foods will aid you in getting the best results.

The Important Mineral

While the aforementioned vitamins will contribute to immune health, Zinc is a mineral that truly focuses on it. Nuts, meats and seafood often contain high levels of this vital nutrient, and maintaining healthy levels of it in your system can help you ward off infection and keep you on the road to a smoother recovery.


It probably comes as no surprise that staying hydrated is important to the success of any elective surgical procedure. Drinking plenty of water will help flush waste out of your system and clean your body and skin of impurities. It also helps your body build its immune defenses and strengthen it for the recovery process.

What to Avoid

Not all foods will aid in your recovery and final results, so it is just as important to avoid them as it is to make the aforementioned foods a part of your diet. Supplements and herbs, even in small amounts, while maybe helping in other aspects of your health, are not good for your pre or post surgery processes. Not only can they increase bleeding but can negatively affect anesthesia. Avoiding vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, garlic, ginseng, and ginkgo biloba is critical. It is extremely important to discuss any supplement with your doctor prior to the procedure.

The Foods You Should Restrict

It is also important to avoid processed foods as sugars and fat can impede your immunity or could cause negative chemical reactions. In addition, cutting back on caffeine and alcohol is also a good idea as they are diuretics and can cause dehydration.

Discuss With Your Doctor

Everyone’s nutritional needs and diets are different. Beverly Hill Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Robert Applebaum highly recommends you discuss every detail of your diet with your doctor to make assessments and any adjustments necessary to ensure your procedure is successful and obtains the results you desire.

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