Having cosmetic surgery is exciting to most patients, but the uneasiness of not knowing how you will feel and look right after surgery can overshadow the anticipation. It is important to discuss how to prepare for the days and weeks following plastic surgery with your board certified plastic surgeon prior to having any procedure.
Dr. Jejurikar always encourages his patients at Dallas Plastic Surgery Institute to begin to plan their recovery process a few weeks in advance. Eating properly, not smoking, and modifying your intake of certain medications and supplements are important for optimal healing. Ask your surgeon which medications and supplements need to be discontinued prior to surgery. The popular supplements Arnica and Bromelain may help minimize bruising after certain procedures, but should not be taken without your surgeon’s approval. After your surgery, be sure to follow the instructions regarding the post-operative medications your doctor has prescribed and contact the doctor’s office with any questions. Dr. Jejurikar suggests taking vitamins or metabolic supplements prior to your procedure; be sure to bring this up with your surgeon as well.
Giving your family, friends and work advanced notice that you’ll need downtime for recovery will enable you to take the appropriate time to heal and allow you to not overexert yourself too soon. If at all possible, prepare to have someone readily available to you for the first 24 – 72 hours following surgery to help you move around your home, help you to the restroom and give you your medication. It is beneficial for those who will be caring for you after your plastic surgery to understand that you will be depending on them for rides, help with the children and around the house for a specific timeframe. The length of time you’ll need assistance will most likely depend on the type of plastic surgery you have.
Having plastic surgery hurts and you should expect to be sore, swollen and bruised afterward. Typically, the first couple of days following surgery will be the most uncomfortable. You’ll mostly rest these days, which will help your body heal. However, you also need to get up and move around as much as possible to keep your blood flowing and prevent blood clots from forming. Some procedures require drains to be placed in order to collect excessive fluid and control swelling. Patients can also experience normal drainage out of the small cannula incisions after liposuction. Your surgeon should provide you with the specific post-operative instructions that will need to be followed.
You may not have much of an appetite initially after surgery, but it is important to drink plenty of fluids and eat a nutritious diet. Your body needs plenty of nutrients and protein to help it mend quickly. Constipation is one of the most common side effects of the pain medication patients take during recovery. Eating a lot of fiber will help to prevent the problem. An over-the-counter stool softener can also be taken to help alleviate the symptoms of constipation.
Finally, you are having plastic surgery to look better, but remember that you will not look wonderful immediately after the procedure. Swelling, bruising and asymmetry are all very common and expected initially after surgery. It’s important you temper your expectations in the first several weeks after your procedure. Expecting immediate results will undoubtedly lead to unnecessary worry and anxiety.
Preparing for your recovery in advance and talking to your doctor about post-operative expectations can answer your questions and alleviate much of the anxiety you may feel before having plastic surgery. It can allow you to focus on the excitement of having the procedure you’ve been looking forward to!