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Should I Shave my Chest Before Surgery?

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Shave Chest Before Surgery

Many patients who are about to undergo cosmetic surgery wonder if they are expected to shave the area in question before the procedure. They feel that it will help their surgeon in the operating room and often indulge in this hair removal without consulting their surgeon or medical expert.

Unfortunately, this well-intentioned gesture is actually a bad idea and may cause additional complications following your surgery.The reason for this is simple: when most people shave with a standard razor, they cause microscopic damage to the skin beneath. This damage allows bacteria to penetrate the skin and infiltrate the body. Typically this is not a huge problem as the body’s immune system is able to deal with the occasional infiltrator but, when this is combined with serious surgery, the body has its hands full trying to repair and recover from your procedure. Any extra bacteria that infiltrates the body at this time may tip the scales and lead to a situation your immune system simply cannot handle on its own.When this happens, infection can set in and lead to serious consequences such as:

  • Complications in the healing process
  • Increased medical costs (such as post-operative antibiotics and other expenses)
  • More time off work/school

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) advises patients that they should bathe, but not shave, before all surgical procedures. Cleaning your skin is a great way to help prepare your body for surgery, but leave the hair removal to the experts!

Surgery Preparation Tips

  • Bathe the night before and the morning before your surgery. Each time, use antibacterial soap and scrub gently from your neck down. Pay special attention to the neck, underarms, breasts, feet, groin, and skin fold regions and be sure to rinse well. Use only gentle friction and a washcloth or soft sponge and avoid getting the soap in your eyes, ears, or mouth.
  • Wear clean, comfortable clothing on the day of surgery.
  • Do not use deodorant unless otherwise instructed by your surgeon.
  • Do not use creams, powders, or lotions on your skin after bathing.

If you have any more questions regarding how to prepare for your procedure, do not hesitate to contact your surgeon as soon as possible. It's better to be informed than to worry about asking a silly question and risk not having important information. As the expert, it is your surgeon’s job to answer your questions so you can make an informed decision.