Plastic surgery is an elective medical procedure, in most cases. As an elective procedure, few plastic surgeons will perform surgery during pregnancy, though not all women reveal they are pregnant or think they may be pregnant before the surgery is scheduled. This does not mean, however, that pregnant women can hide their pregnancy from the plastic surgeon.
Plastic surgery pre-op
Blood tests are ordered before all surgeries, including plastic surgery. The tests ensure the patient is healthy, type blood in case transfusion is needed and test for pregnancy. The pre-op blood tests can be performed one to two weeks before the plastic surgery date, but getting pregnant in the time between pre-op and surgery will not go undetected in most hospitals.
Immediately prior to plastic surgery, in most hospitals, a pregnancy test is performed to double-check pregnancy has not occurred since the last pregnancy test. Even if the patient assures the plastic surgeon she is not pregnant, a test is still performed for the safety of the unborn fetus.
Risks of plastic surgery
The risks of plastic surgery if you are pregnant are the same as any other surgical procedure, but pregnancy can decrease the immune system function and then increase the risk of infection after surgery. There are also potential issues with anesthesia, fetal monitoring, and post-surgical medications required to prevent infection and ease pain.
A C-section is surgery too!
Yes, a C-section is major surgery, but after the surgery the fetus is no longer at risk. The recovering new mom can take antibiotics and pain medications as fetal implications are no longer an issue. C-sections have recently been a topic of hot debate in the clinical community. An increased number of elective C-sections have sparked concern for pregnant women at risk of surgical complications when vaginal delivery is not contraindicated so some obstetricians are choosing to not offer C-sections unless there are good reasons.
What about breastfeeding?
Plastic surgery while breastfeeding is generally treated like plastic surgery during pregnancy – patients are asked to wait. Many plastic surgeons will not perform elective procedures on breastfeeding women, though there are likely more surgeons willing to accept breastfeeding patients than pregnant patients.
Plastic surgery during pregnancy is not advised. Not only will plastic surgeons refuse to operate on pregnant patients, hospitals test for pregnancy in female patients prior to surgery, so there is no way to sneak the pregnancy past the doctor. If you have medical issues that require plastic surgery, talk with your obstetrician about the best course of action during your pregnancy.