Changes to AHPRA Cosmetic Surgery Regulations, as of July 1 2023, Learn More

Coco Ruby

Our Blog

Our Coco Ruby Skin Clinic team will ensure you receive exceptional customer service with a smile while visiting us at our Melbourne clinic. Please phone us on (03) 8849 1400 to schedule an appointment.

What To Eat Before Plastic Surgery – Pre-Op Nutrition And Diet

Watching what you eat before plastic surgery helps prepare you for a successful procedure. Proper pre-op nutrition can help boost your immune system and promote wound healing.

Eating the right foods and avoiding others can help prevent postoperative complications, like infections and delayed wound healing.

Make sure you prepare nutritious meals beforehand before surgery to avoid snacking on unhealthy treats during your recovery.

Why is Pre-Op Nutrition and Diet Important?

During plastic surgery, your surgeon may have to make incisions, dissect tissue, remove excess skin and fat, or reposition and reshape bone and cartilage. You’ll lose some blood and nutrients from your body along that process.

After any surgical procedure, your body starts healing by repairing wounds and injuries and replacing missing tissues and nutrients.

Nutritious food acts as your body’s natural medicine. The food you let into your body in the days leading up to the cosmetic procedure can help replenish the missing nutrients and determine how your body heals after surgery.

Many patients who get bariatric surgery to lose weight later get plastic surgery to remove excess skin. However, post-bariatric patients often have deficiencies in nutrients essential for wound healing and recovery.

Malnutrition impairs the immune system and increases the risk of wound infections, dehiscence, and delayed wound healing. Therefore, these patients must receive sufficient nutrients (like zinc and selenium) before plastic surgery to improve wound healing and decrease the risk of complications.

Moreover, you’ll need to get as close to your ideal weight as possible before plastic surgery. That will help your surgeon remove as much excess skin and fat as possible.

Additionally, losing weight before cosmetic surgery reduces your risk of infections and other post-op complications.

What Should I Eat Before Plastic Surgery?

Although several cosmetic surgeries, such as abdominoplasty, thigh lift, and liposuction, can help achieve your aesthetic goals, they are not weight loss procedures.

One of the ways to get ready for plastic surgery is to sustain a healthy, balanced diet for good pre-op nutrition. That will help you get as close to your ideal weight as possible, which reduces the risk of postoperative complications.

Additionally, eating healthy in the weeks before your cosmetic surgery boosts your energy and promotes recovery.

1. Bromelain

Bromelain (pineapple extract) is a digestive enzyme that reduces pain, inflammation, and swelling.

Taking bromelain before plastic surgery will help reduce pain, promote wound healing, and speed up recovery.

Pineapples are rich in bromelain, but you can also buy this enzyme as a supplement.

2. Vitamins and trace minerals

Vitamins (vitamin A, vitamin C) and trace minerals (selenium, manganese, zinc) are antioxidants that neutralise free radicals and promote wound healing.

Moreover, these vitamins and trace minerals can boost your immune system and help it fight infections. They also stimulate collagen production, which is needed to repair wounds and injuries.

You can take these vitamins and trace minerals as supplements before plastic surgery, or you can get them from the following foods:

  • Kale, spinach, and carrots (source of vitamin A)
  • Citrus fruits, green peppers, potatoes, and tomatoes (source of vitamin C)
  • Mushrooms and cabbage (source of selenium)
  • Raspberries, pineapples, and bananas (source of manganese)
  • Oysters, beans, nuts, whole grains, breakfast cereals, and dairy products (source of zinc)

Vitamins and trace minerals supplements taken at least two weeks before surgery can improve wound healing, reduce bruising and swelling, and decrease the risk of wound infection, dehiscence, and necrosis.

3. Proteins

In the weeks before plastic surgery, eat foods rich in proteins to help your body heal its wounds and recover faster.

After plastic surgery, your body needs collagen to repair skin, muscles, tendons, and bones.

Proteins help your body produce new blood cells and collagen and repair surgical wounds. Proteins are also essential for an efficient immune system.

Sources of proteins include protein powder, chicken, fish, beans (and other legumes), milk, and eggs.

4. Iron

Iron is an essential component of the blood’s hemoglobin and is vital for oxygen delivery, cell growth, and cell survival.

An iron deficiency can increase blood loss and cause bad outcomes after plastic surgery, such as liposuction and breast augmentation surgery.

If your blood work shows low iron levels, you may need iron supplementation before plastic surgery.

You can take iron as supplements or from the following foods:

  • Nuts
  • Dried fruits
  • Legumes (mixed beans, baked beans, lentils, chickpeas)
  • Dark leafy green vegetables (spinach, silver beet, broccoli)
  • Oats

Iron supplements help prepare your body for breast reduction, breast lift, and other plastic surgery.

5. Fruits and vegetables

In the weeks before plastic surgery, you should eat lots of colourful fruits and vegetables.

Fruits and vegetables, like berries and dark leafy greens (kale, spinach), are rich in antioxidants, which help your body heal faster after cosmetic surgery.

Moreover, they’re lower in calories and rich in fibre, which slows digestion in the stomach to help you feel fuller for longer. Adding fibre to your diet can prevent post-op constipation after plastic surgery.

6. Omega-3

Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids before plastic surgery. Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory and have a role in blood clotting. They reduce inflammation and bleeding and help your body recover faster after plastic surgery.

You can get omega-3 from the following foods:

  • Fatty fish, such as salmon, sardine, anchovies, and mackerel
  • Flax seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Walnuts

Avoid taking omega-3 supplements such as fish oil or algal oil early in your surgical journey, as they may lead to excessive bleeding.

7. Probiotics

Gut bacteria help your body synthesise vital nutrients like vitamin K and short-chain fatty acids. They play a substantial role in human health.

Research shows that a disruption in gut bacteria after abdominoplasty, for example, can cause post-op wound infections.

Taking probiotics (found in yogurts or as supplements) before plastic surgery can reduce postoperative complications such as infections.

8. Hydration

Good hydration is essential for keeping yourself healthy before plastic surgery, such as a body lift, top surgery, or other cosmetic procedures.

Drinking plenty of water and fluids keeps you hydrated, flushes out toxins from your body, and boosts your energy.

9. Stool softeners

Because of the prescribed pain meds, you might become constipated after cosmetic surgery, like abdominoplasty, breast augmentation surgery, or facelift.

Your surgeon may prescribe a laxative or a stool softener a few days before plastic surgery to prevent post-op constipation.

What Should I Avoid Eating Before Plastic Surgery?

During plastic surgery preparations, avoid the following:

1. Cut back on foods with a lot of salt, sugar, and refined carbs

While preparing for plastic surgery, eat fewer salts, sugars, and refined carbohydrates, like pasta, white bread, pizza dough, chips, and candy.

Instead, eat whole grains such as barley, bulgur (cracked wheat), quinoa, or black rice, which are good sources of fibre. Use spices, like turmeric, garlic, onions, and curry, instead of salt to flavour your food.

A high sodium (salt) intake can increase inflammation and swelling and suppress your immune system.

Additionally, high blood sugar reduces nutrients and oxygen in the blood and decreases your body’s ability to heal wounds. Refined carbs mainly contain sugars and cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, which can slow wound healing.

2. Avoid greasy foods

Eating heavy, greasy foods the days before plastic surgery can irritate your stomach and take up some of the energy your body needs for recovery.

Alternatively, eat nutritious foods rich in proteins and fibres to help your body recover faster.

3. Don’t drink alcohol

Avoid drinking alcohol a day or two before plastic surgery, and drink water instead.

Alcohol acts as a blood thinner and could increase bleeding and bruising and prolong your recovery.

4. Stop certain meds

Before plastic surgery, you should stop taking certain medications like Aspirin (ibuprofen, Motrin, Aleve), anti-inflammatory drugs, and herbal supplements (cayenne, ginkgo, fish oil, garlic, ginger, and others).

These drugs can interfere with the anaesthesia, cause excessive bleeding, and may compromise postoperative results.

Prepare a list of all your vitamins, supplements, and medications, and ask your surgeon how and when you should stop taking them.

Most importantly, you should quit smoking before plastic surgery. Smoking is generally bad for your health – it can prevent your wounds from healing properly and increase the risk of postoperative complications.

During your consultation, you can ask Dr Craig Rubinstein questions about what you should and should not eat before plastic surgery.

FAQs about Pre-Op Nutrition

How can I heal faster after plastic surgery?

Your diet and nutrition before plastic surgery can help you heal and recover quicker after the procedure. Reaching a stable, healthy weight before surgery will reduce the risk of postoperative complications. Moreover, consuming nutritious foods rich in proteins, vitamins, and other nutrients will give your body enough energy to recover and fight infections.

What is the best thing to eat before plastic surgery?

Avoid eating greasy and heavy foods the day before plastic surgery. Instead, consume a light meal containing lean proteins (eggs, chicken, fish), vegetables, and unprocessed carbohydrates (whole grains, beans). Make sure you drink plenty of water and juices to stay hydrated.

Medical Sources about Pre-Op Nutrition and Surgery:

Specialist Plastic Surgeons and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeon

With a wealth of experience and training, our Specialist Plastic and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeons are dedicated to best-practice patient care and education, customising Surgery for each and every patient to best meet their needs and desired surgical outcomes.

Dr Craig Rubinstein
Dr Broughton Snell
Dr Stephen Kleid
Dr Gary Kode

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001124843

Dr Craig Rubinstein

Dr Craig Rubinstein is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon based in Hawthorn East, Melbourne. With over 20 years of surgical experience especially in all areas of Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery, but particularly in breast surgery. These include Breast Augmentation and Breast Reduction as well as Breast Surgery Revision.

Furthermore, he believes that surgical customisation, precision planning and technical expertise help him to provide optimal surgical outcomes for his patients.

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001190266

Dr Broughton Snell

Dr Broughton Snell is a Specialist Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon based in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. His training in Plastic Surgery took place in Australia and the United States of America (USA).

Dr Snell is a fully qualified specialist plastic surgeon having completed his Fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in plastic and reconstructive surgery.

ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeon MED0001052799

Dr Stephen Kleid

Dr Stephen Kleid is an experienced Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeon (Otolaryngologist) based in Melbourne with a passion for Septo-rhinoplasty, Septoplasty, as well as, a strong interest in Rhinoplasty Revision.

Dr Kleid trained at Melbourne University, then completed surgical training at various hospitals including Royal Melbourne, Royal Children’s, The Eye and Ear and St Vincents. He worked as a surgeon at the University of Florida Medical school for further experience.

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001405964

Dr Gary Kode

Dr Gary Kode is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon, with experience in Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery, as well as non-surgical treatments.

Dr Kode is a member of several organisations, including the Australian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS), The International Confederation for Plastic and Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, and he holds a Fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.

What to do next?

Our Patient Liaison Team can assist with any questions you may have when considering a procedure. You can send in an enquiry form below or call our Melbourne Clinic between 9 am – 5 pm Monday - Friday.

Disclaimer: Results depend on individual patient circumstances and can vary significantly. Results may also be impacted by a variety of factors including your lifestyle, weight, nutritional intake and overall health. Consult your Specialist Plastic Surgeon for details. This information is general in nature and is not intended to be medical advice nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Surgery risks and complications will be covered in detail during a consultation with your Surgeon.

Start your journey

Book a Consultation

Our Practice

Hawthorn East

759 Burwood Road, Hawthorn East, VIC, 3123

Get Directions

Get in touch

Ask us a question

Reach out to us to secure your appointment.

  • Looking for before and after photos?
  • Want to know more about recovery times?
  • Wanting to find out costs?

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.