Being asked to remove jewelry for your surgical procedure can be tough – especially if it’s an important wedding ring or favorite body piercing. But it’s also extremely important to ensure your surgical procedure remains safe and low risk. Here’s what to know about removing your jewelry for plastic surgery and what questions you should ask during your private consultation with our board-certified plastic surgeons, Dr. Susan MacLennan or Dr. Alexandra Schmidt.
Although jewelry may seem harmless during surgery, there are very good reasons to consider leaving it at home. First, jewelry can increase the risk of contamination in the operating room. While you’re being prepared for surgery, everything in our operating room is wiped down, cleansed, and sterilized. Even the surgical site on your body will be cleaned with an antibacterial solution and the rest will be covered with sterile sheets to prevent contamination. Jewelry can carry bacteria from daily wear and introduce it to the operating area, increasing the risk of infection.
Additionally, jewelry can pose risks if our team uses any electrical or heating implements during surgery. Most surgical procedures require a cautery device to prevent bleeding and the current could travel to a metal piercing and cause a skin burn. Even jewelry located outside the surgical field can be problematic.
Finally, jewelry can be in the way if our team needs to quickly access an area where you have a piercing or ring.
Any removable jewelry should be left at home, including rings, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Additionally, any facial or body piercings must be removed – tongue piercings in particular can interfere with general anesthesia and airway access, and genital piercings can interfere with urinary catheterization. Even if your planned procedure does not include these things, they may become necessary in an emergency. So, please make sure to remove any and all jewelry before surgery. If you’re unsure or have any questions, ask our team during your consultation.
If you are worried about any pierce holes closing, metal piercings can sometimes be replaced with silicone or plastic jewelry. We ask that the metal jewelry is removed the day before surgery, the site is cleaned with antibacterial soap, and the piercing is replaced with a clean silicone or plastic ring/bar. Please ask your surgeon about any areas you are concerned about, especially if they are near the planned surgical site.
It can be risky to plan on leaving your jewelry among your things at the hospital or surgical suite. There is a risk of losing your jewelry to misplacement or theft, and the medical centers and facilities we work with do not accept liability for lost or stolen items – nor are they liable if your jewelry needs to be removed during surgery or an emergency. If you won’t have a close friend or family member to hold on to your jewelry during your procedure, it’s best to leave it at home.
If necessary, certain types of jewelry can be covered with a nonconductive tape to prevent it from conducting electrical current. However, it’s important to note that this is not an ideal solution and is reserved only for cases where the jewelry can’t be removed (for example, a ring that can’t fit over the knuckle). Our team prefers that any and all jewelry be removed prior to surgery.
To ask questions and learn more about our surgical process, contact Mountain Lake Plastic Surgery by calling or filling out our online contact form.