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What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag for Cosmetic or Plastic Surgery

Cosmetic and plastic surgery fields are fast-growing with several advances made in the technology and tools used for these procedures. With the number of plastic surgeries increasing, there is one question that often comes up but rarely gets answered; what to pack in the hospital or overnight bag.

Here, we will discuss what to pack in your bag and what to avoid completely. The aim is to make your hospital stay as comfortable as possible, with minimal to no hiccups related to paperwork or identity.

Hospital Bag Essentials: You will need these during your stay

When you come to the hospital for surgery, there are a few things that are absolutely necessary for you to bring with you. To avoid any confusion, it is recommended to create a checklist. This will enable you to cross off everything you pack and refer to the list any time you feel forgetful or unsure. Making a list also helps avoid family having to going back and forth between your home and the hospital for missing things.

These essentials may seem trivial but they are crucial and more often than not, people forget to pack them in their hospital bags. The essential things that you should always pack in your hospital bag, whether you are there for a cosmetic procedure or other surgical procedure include;

ID card and Medicare card

Many times people think that these cards are not important as the hospital already has all the information on file. However, these cards allow staff to do administrative tasks. It is beneficial to have them on you, at all times. You should also put them in a cardholder for safekeeping, so they aren’t hidden amongst other things in your bag.

Loose Change

Credit and debit cards are convenient and easy to use but they are completely useless when it comes to vending machines. We recommend you bring a wallet for your ID cards and loose change for snacks from the vending machine.

Mobile phone and the charger

You will need to contact your friends and family, and need to pass time. Although alot of people remember the phone many forget the charge. It is also a good idea to get a charger with a longer cord as you never know the location of the power socket.

Loose clothing

Wearing tight clothes or clothes that are a hassle to get on or off is not only uncomfortable but also annoying. You should pack a loose-fitting shirt, sweatpants, and a zip-up hoodie, to keep you warm.

Sleep mask and earplugs

These are your friends and will help you sleep comfortably.

Light dressing gown

This is only an essential item for hospital stays that are more than a day.


Although hospitals often provide you with slippers if you want maximum comfort, it is recommended to bring your own from home.


Another often forgotten item that you should definitely bring if you are staying for more than a day.

Surgical compression garments, if required

Sometimes, you must wear compression garments to avoid swelling and fluid collection. You should purchase them beforehand and pack them in your bag.


You should bring shampoo, conditioner, dry shampoo, and such for your stay as well. Hairbrush and hair care products may also be beneficial at this point.

Skincare products

What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag for Cosmetic or Plastic Surgery - 1
Skincare is essential, and you should bring your facewash, moisturizer, toner, and serums with you if you will be staying overnight. Put all your skincare products in one bag so that there is no spillage in your main bag.

Glasses or contact lenses, and their case

If you use glasses or contact lenses, remember to bring them with you.

When selecting between essentials, it is key to aim for comfort and relaxation, not style. You will be experiencing discomfort, bruising, and some swelling during the recovery period, and will not care about style but rather, comfort.

Some Extras Things to Keep in Mind

You can also pack in some extras. However, remember to pack a light, sturdy overnight bag and not a huge suitcase. Bring all the necessities and pack smart. Ensure you can access all your things easily without having to go through a pile of things every time you need something. Below we mention some of the extras that you can pack to make your stay more comfortable;

  • A neck pillow
  • Your pillow, if you have specific pillow needs for a good night’s sleep
  • Magazines, books, or an e-reader
  • Laptop or an iPad, both for work and entertainment
  • A wide-necked water bottle that will be easy for you to refill, and keep in your room
  • Some small, pre-packaged snacks such as granola bars may be beneficial
  • Teabags and pre-packaged coffee sachets
  • To make your tea, you should also bring a flask, so you can store hot water in your room.

What Not To Bring?

As important as it is to know what things to pack for your hospital stay, post-cosmetic or plastic surgery, it is equally important to know what not to bring with you. Packing unnecessary things increases the weight of your luggage but adds no value to your stay. The things you should avoid packing include:

  • Jewelry
  • Large sums of cash
  • Cigarettes and other tobacco products
  • If your procedure is an outpatient procedure, (meaning you will be going home the same day), it is not recommended to bring anything of value with you as the hospital does not take responsibility of any of these products.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a walker after a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)?

  • After a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) procedure, your abdominal skin is going to feel a bit tight which makes walking and standing with an erect back quite painful and difficult. During this period, you will find it helpful to use a walker as you will be hunched over. Although not vital.
  • This is not a permanent side effect and will resolve, on its own, within the first couple of weeks of the recovery period.

How should I wear my hair for surgery?

  • You should wear your hair in a manner that keeps it out of the way during the surgery.
  • A ponytail or a braid are two of the recommended hairdos for surgery as they tie all the hair in the back, and keep the face clear of any hair strands.
  • It is also important to remember to not use any hair products such as hairspray or other flammable products before your surgery.
  • Wash your hair the evening before, and go in for your surgery wearing your hair in a ponytail or braid.

What do you bring to the hospital after surgery?

  • Generally, people think that the hospital is going to provide the basic necessities and that will be enough for a short hospital stay.
  • While that is true that the essentials such as gown, slippers, and toiletries are usually provided by the hospital, you should bring some personal items such as combs, lotions, toothbrush, toothpaste, cardigans or sweaters, etc. with you to make your post-surgery stay more comfortable.

What do I need in a hospital bag?

  • Your overnight bag should contain all the essentials mentioned above, and it should also contain some items for entertainment and comfort.
  • Even though you will not be staying in the hospital for a long period of time, it is important to make even that short of a stay as comfortable as possible. After all, you will be recovering from a major surgical procedure at this point.

Why can you not wear deodorant during surgery?

  • Deodorants, along with perfumes, colognes, scented lotions, and moisturizers are not to be worn prior to the surgery.
  • These substances generally leave a thick residue on the skin, which can make it difficult for the surgeon to make an incision.
  • Sterility of the skin is also compromised when these products are used before surgery.

What should I pack for hospital entertainment?

  • You should pack things to entertain yourself so that you aren’t bored during your stay in the hospital.
  • You should bring your phone, tablet, and/or laptop to catch up on your favourite Netflix shows.
  • If your electronic devices are your choice of entertainment, don’t forget to bring chargers as you will definitely need them.
  • You can also bring books for some light reading while you recover.
  • Magazines, E-readers, and Puzzles are other options for entertainment.

Do you wear clothes under a hospital gown?

  • For the sake of the procedure, usually, only underwear can be worn under a hospital gown.
  • For your specific surgery, the nurse will inform you what clothes you can wear under a hospital gown, if any when you arrive at the hospital.
  • During the recovery period, you can wear pj pants under a hospital gown or even wear your own clothes, such as a loose-fitting shirt and sweatpants, as long as your surgeon approves of this attire.

What should I wear to the hospital for a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty)?

  • You should wear light, loose-fitting clothes to the hospital for a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) procedure. Bring the following with you;
    • Slippers
    • Dressing gown
    • Pyjama pants.
    • You can choose between a loose-fitting shirt and sweatpants or a loose dress, based on your convenience.

What should I wear after breast augmentation surgery?

  • After a breast augmentation, you should wear clothes that you can easily remove, without having to raise your arms over your head.
  • It is important to remember that you cannot raise your arms during the initial weeks of the recovery period so wearing tight shirts or t-shirts that require you to move your arms strenuously might be difficult. Moving your arms will put pressure on the incision and complicate the healing process. Simply put, you can wear zip-up hoodies, and loose-fitting shirts after the breast augmentation procedure.

What should I wear the day after breast reduction surgery?

  • Much like the clothing recommendation for breast augmentation surgery, it is recommended to wear clothes that are zip-up hoodies, or shirts that are buttoned in front.
  • Clothes should be loose-fitting, as anything tight won’t be comfortable for you either.
  • You shouldn’t wear any clothes that require you to raise your arms above your head because that will put pressure on the incision, increasing the risk of complications and slowing the healing process.

Why should I shower twice before my surgery?

  • Human skin isn’t sterile as it has many bacteria living on it. On top of that, exposure to environmental toxins such as pollutants makes the skin even dirtier.
  • It is recommended to shower the night before and the morning of the surgery, with special antibacterial soap to clean the skin.
  • The unique soap used is the CHG soap and it cleans the skin, making sure there isn’t any bacterial growth that could result in infection during the post-surgery recovery period.

Can I wear makeup on the day of my surgery?

  • It is not recommended to wear any makeup on the day of your surgery. The main reason for this is that anesthesia affects your blink reflex, which is your body’s way of clearing out particles from your eyes.
  • The absence of this reflex means that tiny particles of makeup could enter the eyes and irritate them.
  • Moreover, your surgeon and anesthesiologists may not be able to read the signs of distress, if any, on your face during the surgery if there is makeup covering your skin.

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.

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