The recovery time and care needed after a surgical procedure will vary depending on the surgery you receive and your individual circumstances. Your surgeon will let you know how long it will be before you can return to your normal level of activity and give you and your caregiver detailed instructions about your postoperative care after your surgery. It is important you follow all the patient care instructions your surgeon provides.
Following your surgery, you will likely have bruising, redness, swelling, and some pain, but this will depend on the procedure you had and your individual tolerances.
- Bruising typically disappears within seven to ten days. Remember that you must not take aspirin or certain anti-inflammatory medications as these could make bruising worse and lead to bleeding.
- Swelling is a normal response after surgery. Keep the operated region elevated to help reduce swelling. Ask your surgeon about whether you can use cool compresses to help relieve discomfort and decrease swelling.
- For most procedures, the first two to three days is when you will experience the most discomfort, and you should expect to take oral pain medications on a scheduled basis (as prescribed by your surgeon). The discomfort level should rapidly decrease, and most patients can reduce medication to an as-needed basis by the fourth to seventh day after surgery.
Your surgeon will give you and your caregiver detailed instructions around how to maintain:
- Compression Garments
Your surgeon will also provide you with detailed instructions around how to minimize scarring, such as:
- Using pillows to minimize the tension on your incisions
- Avoiding direct sun exposure
- Not smoking
- Applying medicated scar reducing cream on top of your incision (once it has healed)
It’s always tempting to return to your daily routine, but your body needs time to heal. Surgery takes a tremendous toll on the body, and following your surgeon’s orders, both pre-and post-surgery, is essential to a happy and complication-free recovery. The ideal amount of recovery time will vary from patient to patient.
The decision to return to your normal lifestyle will depend on several variables, such as:
- The procedure you underwent
- What your job entails
- Your exercise routine - most plastic surgeons will recommend patients wait four to six weeks before beginning to build up to their previous fitness regimen.
- How your body is responding to the surgery
Please remember that the relationship with your plastic surgeon does not end when you leave the operating room. If you have questions or concerns during your recovery or need additional information at a later time, you should contact your surgeon. You will return to your plastic surgeon’s office for follow-up care at prescribed intervals so your surgeon can evaluate your progress.
Your surgeon will alert you to the signs of problems to watch for, such as:
- Increase in swelling, pain, redness, drainage
- Bleeding in the surgical area
- Fever, dizziness, nausea, or vomiting
- Shortness of breath, chest pains, or unusual heartbeat
- An accumulation of blood or fluid under the skin
- Signs of infection
- Changes in sensation
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should contact your surgeon right away.
You should discuss the risks and potential complications with your aesthetic plastic surgeon before and after your procedure to ensure you are on the right track to recovery.