Recovery after surgery may seem like a waiting game, but it is important to be proactive in your recovery process. Listen to your doctor’s instructions, avoid rushing and doing too much too soon as it can increase your risk for complications. At the Kass Center for Cosmetic Surgery, we are here for you every step of the way. Here are some of our best tips to ensure a healthy recovery.
We will provide you with discharge and recovery instructions before your procedure and go over them once again before sending you home. These instructions provide important information about caring for your incision, what medicines to take, signs to look for, and rules to follow to ensure a successful recovery. If you are unsure about any instruction or want to know why it is listed, ask and we will be happy to explain its importance to you.
Remember to follow the wound care instructions carefully to avoid rubbing or scratching near the incisions. Unless otherwise instructed, we like water to run over the incisions daily (tap water is fine). Please do not pick at scabs.
Prepare Your Home
In the days before your surgery, ask your doctor how best to prepare your home or make it optimal for your recovery. Arrange for not just a driver but an actual caregiver for your first night home. Make your most-used possessions easily accessible from the bed or areas where you plan to rest during the day.
Consider asking a family member or hiring a healthcare aide to help you around the house during the early stage of your recovery. One or two days are usually sufficient.
You should be on bed rest for the first 12-24 hours after your procedure. If you don’t have bandages, please remember that it does no one any good to assess your healing process hourly. Or even multiple times per day. Please remember that the first day is the hardest (but it is not painful!), the second day is the next hardest, and it goes on from there. You will be amazed by what changes occur in the first few weeks.
It can be difficult to sleep especially with the head elevated as is desired after most facial procedures. There is nothing wrong with taking something to help you sleep in the perioperative period. Sleep allows your body to rejuvenate from the day before and encourages the renewal of cells.
Eat and Hydrate
Lean proteins, probiotics, seafood, fruits, and whole grains are all foods that contain beneficial nutrients to the recovery process. Be mindful of your sodium intake to avoid water retention and unwanted swelling. If you find yourself feeling nauseous or bloating, opt for smaller meals throughout the day. After some facial procedures, we discourage food requiring a lot of chewing since the involved muscles may be sore.
It is important to keep your fluids up, so aim for drinking at least 2 liters a day. Water is the best form of hydration we can recommend. We discourage patients from drinking energy drinks, sodas, or sports drinks due to the high levels of sodium and excess sugars. If water is becoming “bland”, fruit infusions can be a healthy flavor injection.
It is important to hydrate and fuel your body properly during recovery so that you can help the recovery process and help to minimize the risk of complications.
Before you even have your surgery, make sure you know when you are supposed to return to see the doctor. At that visit, be honest about how you feel and ask any questions that you may have. There’s nothing wrong with coming in with a written list of questions.
Even if you are feeling well and believe your wound is healing properly, continue to go to your appointments until you are cleared by your doctor. These appointments allow us to monitor your progress and check for things you may miss.
Resting is important, but so is movement. After the first 12-24 hours, slowly begin to move around without elevating your heart rate. Take your time and move at a slow pace. Movement is not for exercise, but rather to keep your muscles from becoming stiff. Walking helps to reduce the risk of blood clots and prevent the buildup of scar tissue. Begin by walking around your home or a few steps outside. Talk to your doctor about when you can begin more strenuous activities.
Patience after surgery, both with your healing and with your return to your normal schedule is the single greatest trait for someone who has had cosmetic surgery. Follow your doctor’s instructions as rushing your expectations and your recovery will only harm the success of your procedure. If you had any type of surgery, there will be some swelling and some bruising and this ALWAYS occurs asymmetrically. In other words, both sides do not swell and bruise identically. It is not how you look in the first days which are important but rather how you look after a few weeks or months have passed from your procedure.
Ask For Help
The general rule is if you are concerned, ask for assistance. If you are having trouble breathing, can’t keep fluids or food down, bleeding, or believe you may have an infection or complication, contact your doctor. If your doctor is unavailable, seek immediate medical attention.
After your surgery, it will take a while for you to feel and move like you used to. It is important to speak with your doctor often and follow their instructions during your recovery process so that you can get back to living your best life. For more information on how to ensure optimal recovery after surgery or to schedule an appointment, contact the Kass Center for Cosmetic Surgery today at (727) 522-3223.