Monday, June 18, 2012

Tip Tuesday: What to Wear - When You're Having Surgery

So you've got a surgery or medical procedure coming up and are thinking of all the big issues at hand- what it will be, the pain afterwards, why you need it, time off work, but when it comes down to the day of surgery, it is what you wear and how you wear it that will make all the difference, so for Tip Tuesday, I'm going to share my best tips and tricks to make you feel great, comfortable and sensible! 

Makeup:Wear little to none the day of surgery. 

  • Mostly, go without eye makeup. Sometimes when you go under anesthesia they will tape your eyes shut to protect them, keep them moist and the like. That being said, your eyes will sweat and you will look like a raccoon when you wake up.  
  • Foundation, base, blush and lipgloss are all fine. Keep it plain, the medical staff doesn't care and your family won't mind! 

HairThis is a tough one to give advice on, because everyone is different. 

  • The best advice I can give is this: if you will be without a hand or arm for weeks to months post-op, get it cut short. The patients I have had that have done that are always happy that they've done it because they can do their own hair. Most donate it to locks of love even!
  • If you put it in a ponytail, put it in a very high ponytail (think pebbles or Bam Bam) or a very low ponytail. If you have it in the middle of your head you may wake up with a headache from lying on it wrong for hours. 
  • Take out any metal that is in your hair. Extensions included. I've had patients complain that their hair smells like it was burnt where a bobby pin was left in. If you've ever burnt your hair, you know, it STINKS! Take it out!
Shirts: This one is probably one of the easier parts!
  • Keep the shirt loose fitting and comfortable. The most comfortable patients wear workout shirts, such as older, larger t-shirts or the silky workout tops available at Target or such. Make it easy to put on and make sure you feel comfortable, the more comfortable you are, the better!
  • If you're having a shoulder or arm operated on, wear a tank top with larger sleeves, a spaghetti strap tank or even a tube top. All will make it possible to dress yourself post up with one arm. Make sure it is one size larger than your usual, just in case the sling doesn't want to cooperate correctly. If it is winter you can layer with a jacket and only put it on one arm, tucking the sleeve into the sling.
  • Men, the same rule applies, but men's tanks usually have large arm holes so it is easier for them. 
Pants/Shorts: Getting fit for the right bottoms can be the most important part! 
  • If you are having your foot, knee, ankle or hip operated on, this is very important. WEAR BAGGY BOTTOMS. For foot and ankle surgery, you can still wear long sweatpants with no issue, but make sure it is 1-2 sizes larger than your normal. If you MUST wear your normal size, then make sure the bottoms flare out or roll one pant leg up to make room for your boot. 
  • If you are having a knee or hip surgery it may be easiest to wear basketball shorts. It has been advised to borrow a males shorts, a husband, boyfriend, brother, father. They are usually larger than you and it will fit well. 
  • Make sure you have pockets in them, if you have a nerve block they can put the pump in your pocket, making it so you wont have to carry it. This can work for almost any small piece of equipment you may have to have carried with you at all times (drains, telemetry devices, etc). 
Shoes: They're a girls best friend and a surgeon's worst nightmare. What are your best options?
  • Flip flops are GREAT during the summer, easy to get on, you can put them on yourself post-op and they work out awesome for everyone. 
  • If you cannot stand flip-flops, opt for slip on shoes such as Vans, Toms, or Keds. Sneakers are ALWAYS a great option. 
The biggest goals with surgery and fashion are being able to dress yourself after surgery - at the hospital AND at home, comfort - less clothing pain, more ability to heal and usefulness! If you dress properly to surgery most of the time they doctors will let you wear your own clothes in hospital, making it an easier stay for you! 

Hope this helps, and happy Tip Tuesday!


  1. Great advice!! This is the part no one thinks about!

  2. Such a great idea for a post! :)

  3. Thanks ladies! I know it is one of the "little things" with surgery that turns out to be a big thing if you don't think about it!