Our diets can play an important factor in the healing process after both surgical and significant nonsurgical cosmetic procedures. Since aesthetic medicine is elective, there is often ample time to prepare and optimize the healing process. Most individuals are not likely to maintain the recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals that are essential for expediting wound healing, reducing the risk of infection and scarring.
Prior to surgery we need to re-inforce our protein and antioxidant levels. Protein is needed for fibroblast proliferation, new blood vessel formation, collagen production and is vital to the function of the immune system. Protein deficiencies impair wound healing. Some of the best sources of protein include lean organic meat, eggs, wild fish, nuts, seeds and soya.
Antioxidants such as Vitamin C, Vitamin A, selenium and magnesium help protect against free radical stress. Free-radicals can damage tissue and slow healing time, particularly in patients undergoing surgery or significant laser procedures. To help your reservoir of antioxidants it is important to consume a minimum of five servings of organic fruit and vegetables one month prior to surgery.
I recommend supplementing prior to surgery with:
• Vitamin A: 25,000 IUS
• Vitamin C: 750 mg
• Zinc: 21 mg
• Selenium: 210 mcg
• Copper: 2,055 mcg
• B-complex (if it causes nausea, take at bedtime)
Foods to stay away from prior to surgery are anything with a high refined sugar or high glycemic index because they promote inflammation and suppress the immune function.
Other foods to minimize prior to surgery are those that interfere with bleeding time and healing time and should be discontinued 14 days prior to surgery. Examples include:
• Increase bleeding time:
• Omega 3s, fish oils
• Vitamin E
• St Johns Wort
• Green tea, cayenne, gingko, flaxseed, ginger, garlic,
• Aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine
• Some antibiotics: doxycycline, flagyl,
• Medications: alka-seltzer products
• Interfere with anesthetic:
• Avoid all diet aids, including over the counter and herbal
• Avoid all diet aids, over the counter and herbal
After your procedure, the goal is to promote wound healing, decrease the chance of infection and reduce inflammation. Foods that help with inflammation include those that are high in monosaturated fats, such as sour cherries, blueberries, extra virgin olive oil, avocado. All refined sugars should be avoided. 72 hours after, supplements such as vitamin K, C, E and fish oils can be resumed.