What You Can and Cannot Wear on Surgery Day

If your surgery day is approaching, you may be filled with a mixture of emotions including excitement, anticipation and nervousness. Despite any underlying anxiety, remember that you are on your way to getting the body of your dreams! A great way to focus on your excited feelings rather than your nervous feelings is to read up and get prepared on what to expect on your surgery day. One common question we receive from nervous patients ahead of their surgery date is, “What should I wear on my surgery day, and what should I avoid?”

This is an excellent question, and one that all patients should be well-versed in before they come into their plastic surgery clinic on surgery day. While it may seem like a no-brainer (Just wear comfortable clothes?), there are actually certain items that are prohibited to wear on surgery day and that will get in the way of you having a smooth and seamless procedure.

Below is a list of what you SHOULD NOT WEAR / SHOULD AVOID and what you SHOULD WEAR / SHOULD DO on surgery day:

What you SHOULD NOT wear / What you SHOULD AVOID:

  • Do not wear any nail polish on the day of your procedure. Nail polish is prohibited on surgery day because the doctors and nurses need to be able to see your natural fingernail to check your circulation. Nail polish may also get in the way of the pulse oximeter which is a small machine that gently clips onto your finger to keep track of your pulse and how well you are breathing.
  • If you have acrylic nails, you should be sure to remove at least two of them (one on each hand) so that the pulse oximeter can be used. Failure to remove your acrylics before surgery may result in your surgery being rescheduled.
  • Body piercings and jewelry, including nose, lip, belly button or nipple rings need to be removed before you go into surgery. This is for two reasons: Firstly, any pressure on these piercings can result in loss of tissue around them, since you are not aware of that pressure under anesthesia and would not be able to automatically relieve it. And secondly, surgeons use an electrosurgical device to cut tissue and control bleeding during plastic surgery. Piercings can divert this electrical current, which could result in a loss of tissue.
  • Makeup and hair products should also be avoided on the day of your surgery. Makeup is prohibited in order to prevent makeup particles from falling into your eyes when you are under anesthesia. When you are under anesthesia, you don’t have a blink reflex. Your eyes will be taped shut to ensure they do not open during the procedure, but regardless, doctors advise patients not to wear makeup as a precautionary measure. Hair products are prohibited to avoid contamination with any open wounds. Additionally, some makeup and hair products are flammable, so avoiding wearing either of the two will keep you safe and prevent any complications during your procedure.
  • If you have any mouth appliances such as a retainer, elastic bands from your braces, or other wearable, you should make sure to remove these before your procedure as well.

What you SHOULD wear / What you SHOULD DO:

  • Make sure you shower the night before and the morning of your surgery. Wash all areas with antibacterial soap and make sure to wash your hair. Additionally, if you can avoid tanning before your procedure, be sure to do so, as it reduces your risk for added inflammation and scarring. If you wax or shave, make sure to do so about four to seven days before surgery and not the night before, as it reduces your risks of bacterial colonization. Alternatively, your surgeon or nurse can do it for you at the start of your procedure once you are asleep in the sterile surgical environment.
  • If you are on your menstrual cycle during your surgery, you may wear a pad or tampon.
  • On the day of surgery, you should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. Depending on the procedure you are having, you may be fitted with a garment when you leave and will want to have something soft and loose-fitting you can wear over it. Before you go into surgery, you will be given a hospital gown to wear. Your clothing and other personal items will be put in a bag until you are out of surgery. Don’t bring any unnecessary items into the clinic if you don’t need them to avoid the chances of you losing something. The fewer items you have to worry about, the calmer and more at ease you will feel before your procedure!
  • A good general tip is that less is more on surgery day. Don’t wear any makeup, hair products, or jewelry, including nose, lip, belly button or nipple rings coming into surgery.

Actual Questions Our Patients Have Asked:

Can I Wear Plastic Jewelry During Surgery? 

As noted above, jewelry is not allowed in the operating room. This prohibition includes plastic pieces such as nose rings or nipple rings. Depending on your surgical site and the equipment we must use, all types of jewelry can get in the way and could put pressure on and damage the surrounding tissue while you are asleep and unable to move in a way that corrects the problem. 

Can You Wear Clear Gel Nail Polish During Surgery? 

You should remove any nail polish, including gel polish, prior to your surgery. Monitoring your fingernail color is one of the ways we monitor your circulation levels during surgery, and nail polish of any kind can interfere with our ability to do so.  

Can I Wear Concealer During Surgery? 

No. Makeup particles can find their way into your eyes during surgery, causing irritation and issues. Makeup, brushes, and applicators can also introduce bacteria onto your skin prior to surgery. As such, makeup is prohibited in the operating room. 

Can I Wear Dip Powder Nails During Surgery? 

As is true of acrylic nails and nail polish, we would prefer you come into surgery sans dip powder nails and other nail adornments. We not only need to see your natural nail beds to check your circulation, but we also place a pulse oximeter on one of your fingertips to monitor your vital signs during surgery. For this reason, we ask that you remove at least two (one on each hand) dip powder nails prior to surgery. 

Can I Wear My Wig During Surgery? 

You may not wear your wig during surgery. Wigs can shed hair fibers and otherwise introduce contaminants into the sterile surgical environment. They are also quite flammable and introduce an unnecessary risk into the operating room. 

Can I Wear Hair Extensions During Surgery?  

We request that you do not wear hair extensions during your surgery for the same reasons listed above regarding wigs. It’s also of note that some microbead extensions use metal clips to hold the hair in place, which can interfere with electrosurgical devices. 

Can I Put Face Cream on Before Surgery? 

No, you should not apply face cream before your surgery. Face cream falls under the no makeup policy. 

Can You Wear Braids During Surgery? 

You can wear your hair in braids or cornrows for surgery. Make sure that you secure your braids with an elastic hair tie that is completely free of metal, however. 

Can You Wear Mascara During Surgery? 

Makeup of any kind is prohibited during surgery, including mascara. 

Can I Wear Eyebrow Makeup During Surgery? 

No. No makeup of any kind is allowed during surgery due to the risk of contamination of the sterile space and potential eye irritation while you are unable to blink. 

Can You Wear Fake Nails During Surgery? 

You should remove fake nails before surgery. This allows your team to monitor your nails for signs of good circulation during surgery and ensures that your artificial nails won’t interfere with the pulse oximeter you will wear during surgery.

In Conclusion:
Following these tips and being well prepared before your procedure will help you feel more at ease going into surgery. Be sure to remove any extraneous items before your procedure – nail polish, makeup, piercings, hair products, dress comfortable, and arrive on time. Your dream body awaits!

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