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Why do I need to remove hair extensions, nails and piercings for cosmetic surgery?

February 14th, 2019 |Ask an Expert

Prepping for cosmetic surgery

There are certain things that patients need to do before their cosmetic surgery procedure to ensure they are fully prepped and safe to go ahead with surgery. These pre-operative requirements are essential for your surgery to take place and will be discussed in detail at your Nurse ePre-op appointment and can be found in your pre-op information on the MYA patient portal. 

What do I need to remove before my procedure?

We understand that lots of patients shudder at the thought of removing their eyelash extensions, gel nails and taking off their fake tan but unfortunately this is the MYA policy and it is a clinical requirement to ensure you are ready for surgery. Stripping back and removing ALL can be daunting, but everyone is in the same boat, and we have to ensure patient safety is first and foremost!

  • Hair extensions (clip in and metal bonded)

  • Earrings and Jewellery 

  • Body piercings

  • Dermal piercings 

  • Hair bobbles and clips containing metal

  • Nail varnish 

  • Acrylic or gel nails and extensions

  • Eyelash extensions

  • Fake tan

  • Makeup 

Why do I need to remove piercings and hair extensions before surgery?

Patients must remove all body piercings, jewellery and metal bonded hair extensions prior to admission; this includes dermal piercings. Wearing piercings, jewellery or metal bonded extensions puts the patient at risk of burns to the skin during surgery. A major concern during surgery is the effect metal has on electrocautery, the technique used to electrically seal bleeding vessels. Wearing metal jewellery or extensions, may cause an electrical arc, resulting in mild to severe burns. Your surgery will be cancelled if you do not adhere to this guidance. If you have any concerns or questions regarding this, please contact your clinical team at MYA.

Why do I need to remove fake tan and makeup before my procedure?

During your operation, the surgeon will clean the area of skin where the incisions will be made with iodine to help kill any bacteria on the surface of the skin. This will lift any fake tan on the body and can cause issues for the surgeon. The surgeon would then have to remove all the fake tan from the area to ensure it is sterile, as not to cause unnecessary risk of infection. 

Why do I need to remove nail varnish or acrylic nails before my procedure?

In theatre the anaesthetist will need to monitor the oxygen levels in your blood. This is done by placing a plastic probe onto your finger, which may not work properly over acrylic nails/nail varnish/gel nails.

Why do I need to remove eyelash strips or extensions before my procedure?

Any fake eyelashes need to be removed before surgery, this includes strip lashes, individual lashes and lash extensions, in case your surgical team needs to use tape over your eyelids during your procedure. Upon removing the tape, it could pull on lash extensions and damage your natural eyelashes.

Why do I need to remove my makeup before surgery?

Patients who are having rhinoplasty surgery or a face lift need to remove all makeup and skin products before admission to the hospital as their face needs to be clean before being operated on. Patients having any other procedures, such as breast or body surgery, also need to remove all makeup before their operation to ensure they are clean and sterile. While you are under anaesthesia or sedation, you do not have a blink reflex so small particles of makeup (especially mascara) could injure or cause damage to your eyes. During anaesthesia, the anaesthetist will place a endotracheal tube into your windpipe to assist with breathing, therefore all makeup such as lipstick needs to be removed to avoid any infection or contamination. 

Think au-natural when it comes to your procedure day. All of the above is for your safety and well-being; should you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask your clinic nurse.

Why can't I wear moisturiser or deodorant on the day of surgery?

Patients are told to shower with non-perfumed products the night before or morning of surgery to clean their bodies and remove any remaining deodorant or moisturising products. This is to remove any microbes on the skin and avoid the risk of contamination to the area in which the incisions are made, especially for patients undergoing breast procedures due to the close proximity.

Wearing moisturiser or body lotion on the day of surgery, creates an oily film on the surface of the skin. Excess oil on the skin makes it harder for the clinical team to make the area sterile and get  the ECG dots to stick to your body. ECG dots link up to a machine that monitors your heart rate during surgery and are essential for keeping you safe during your procedure.  

What should I do with my hair on procedure day? 

Long hair must be tied up using a non-metal hair bobble. Although your hair will be put in a hair net, tying your hair back in a bobble or in plaits makes it easier and less prone to getting caught or in the way during surgery. Breast surgery patients can often feel a bit tender following their surgery and are sometimes unable to lift their arms, so having your hair tied back off your face makes you more comfortable during recovery. 

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