Plastic surgery requires a lot of planning, including before the surgery, during it, and afterwards. In some cases, it can be easy to forget to come up with a plan for the weeks after surgery, since they seem so far away.
But, no matter the type of surgery you’re having, having a good plan in place for your recovery, before the actual date of your procedure, will help things go a lot more smoothly afterwards.
The good news about most surgeries, from rhinoplasty to facelift, is that most patients are able to return home the day of the procedure. That means no overnight hospital stay and that you can start to recover in the comfort of your own home.
But, getting to your home after surgery will take some planning. If you live with a spouse, partner or friend, ask if he or she can bring you home from the surgical center, as you won’t be able to drive yourself home and you probably won’t want to take a taxi. That person’s responsibilities don’t necessarily end once you’re safely at home. The first day or so after surgery, you’ll want to have someone around in case you need any help.
If the person driving you home after your surgery can’t stay with you overnight, find someone who can. It might be that you have a small group of friends who agree to take turns taking care of you that first day back after your procedure. Just make sure each person is fully briefed about what to expect, if multiple people will be chipping in to help.
Coping With Bruising and Swelling
Swelling is to be expected after any type of surgery, whether it’s a facial procedure or a body procedure. On top of that, certain surgeries, such as an eyelid lift or rhinoplasty, also cause bruising. You might be alarmed at how long the swelling and bruising lasts after your procedure. In the case of rhinoplasty, there might be some mild swelling for up to a year afterwards.
While for the most part all you can do is wait for the swelling to decrease after your surgery, there are some things you can do to keep it from getting worse or to help minimize it. Your surgeon will most likely recommend that you remain upright as much as possible after a facial surgery. Keeping the head elevated will help the fluid drain, bringing swelling down. Applying ice or a cold compress to the area can also help reduce swelling. If you had liposuction or another body procedure, wearing a compression garment afterwards can help, too.
What to Eat or Drink
After plastic surgery, your body is trying to heal itself. It usually needs all the help it can get, so it might be worth it to take a look at your dietary habits and make adjustments if needed. The more nutritious your diet, the better, as vitamins and minerals help wounds heal.
Depending on the type of surgery you’ve had, some foods might be more enjoyable to eat afterwards than others. Since vigorous chewing can affect the nose, causing it to move or to be jostled, you might want to avoid steaks or other very chewy foods for a few weeks after rhinoplasty.
How much you eat right after you return home from surgery depends in large part on how you feel. If you’re very hungry, you might feel okay about eating a large meal. Some patients only want to take a few bites of a meal or only want to eat soft foods for the first few days after surgery.
As far as drinking goes, water is always a good pick, since it keeps you hydrated. Odds are likely that your surgeon will recommend avoiding alcohol during the initial recovery period, since it dehydrates you and can disrupt healing.
What to Wear
Admittedly, you won’t be making many fashion statements during your initial recovery period after your surgery. Many patients want to wear comfortable clothing during this time. The type of garments that are best suited to you depend on the type of surgery you had. Button front shirts are often a good idea for patients who have eyelid or nose surgery, as they can put on the shirts without accidentally bumping the operated on area. If you had a breast procedure, you may need to wear a special bra afterwards. Your surgeon will most likely recommend a particular style or provide you with the right type of bra.
The Work Question
Generally, surgeons give patients the okay to head back to work a week or two after the surgery. When you return to work depends in large part on the type of job you have. A person who works at an office might be comfortable heading back a week after surgery. But someone whose job requires standing up for hours on end, a lot of bending over or picking up heavy objects might need to wait even longer before returning to work.
Since every surgery and every patient is different, the recovery process can be a bit personalized. If you are thinking about facial plastic surgery, Dr. Ross Clevens, Brevard County’s only double board-certified, practicing facial plastic surgeon, can provide advice and guidance to help you plan for your recovery. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Clevens, call (321) 727-3223 today.