Eat Well…Heal Well!

Good nutrition is important.  And for those who have recently had surgery, it becomes even more important.    No matter how big your procedure, surgery places a huge stress on your body.  To recover as effectively and efficiently as possible, you need to know what to eat right after your procedure and what to do to achieve the best results possible along with the smoothest recovery.

Most importantly, you need to overcome three basic challenges:

  1. Your body has sustained an injury and needs better nutrition now more than ever
  2. Your doctor may not know what you should and should not eat
  3. Everyone is different 

Now that you know these three basic challenges, let’s discuss them one by one and come up with a plan.  Before we begin, let me emphasize that this article is merely an introduction to this topic and that there will be several more posts in the next few weeks which will hone in more specifically on topics mentioned here.

To begin, keep in mind that every surgery places stress on your body.  For example, to remove fat during liposuction, we (as Plastic Surgeons) must separate various tissue planes and then ask these planes to heal back together following your surgery.    To place a breast implant, we lift muscle up and create a pocket for the implant.  In doing so, some of the muscle fibers are cut and leaving the muscle to heal during the recovery process.   And in the case of much larger procedures such as tummy tucks and body lifts, we not only commonly perform liposuction but also move muscle, lift and trim skin, and create much longer incisions.  All of these individual procedures require some degree of healing and the type of food we eat following surgery can potentially modulate the success of this healing.

Does your diet before surgery include protein?  If you’re a typical American, you’re probably not eating enough.  And, once you’ve had surgery, this requirement is going to climb even higher.  Protein is one of the most important building blocks necessary for successful healing and the amount and type of protein you take in after your surgery can potentially make a huge difference in your healing.  Another benefit of protein is that it is a natural diuretic and can potentially draw out some of the water you gain early on from your surgery.

Next, understand that your physician may know next to nothing about what you should really eat after surgery. Really?  Yes!  During our medical training, there is very little focus on the value of food and proper nutrition.  We are taught the basics.   But many of these basic tenets have changed over the years and are simply no longer current.  Add to this the fact that very few physicians actually gain any new information on changes in the science of nutrition after they graduate.  The end-result is a highly skilled surgeon who knows how to fix the engine but knows little to nothing about how to keep it running.

Finally, everyone is different.  Although there are general recommendations that we can make, you may also have to make small adjustments to allow for the fact that everyone is a little different not only in the way that they heal but also how they process individual foods.

As a firm believer in the value of nutrition and nutritional supplementation following surgery, I will be offering more insights into how a proper post-operative diet can help you heal and recover following your surgery.  Stay tuned to the BEAUTY by BUFORD blog for more information from me as well as Guest Posts from experts from across the nation.

If you have any specific topics you would like us to cover, please let us know!  We enjoy working with you and look forward to helping you achieve your goals!