What’s the best way to recover from cosmetic surgery?

The best way for a person to get the speediest recovery from surgery is to start as healthy as you possibly can. It is very helpful to be a non-smoker /non-drinker. People with a healthy BMI will have a more satisfying result and will also tend to heal faster. Patients require blood tests too and some surgeons require patients over 40 to take an EKG before they will agree to carry out the surgery.

On occasion, people are unhappy that they have been refused surgery if they have health issues that could result in a less than ideal result and / or recovery, but cosmetic surgeons are thinking about the patient’s health and well being. This does not necessarily mean that you can never have your chosen procedure; just that you need to ensure you are in the healthiest state you can be before your operation.

If you have had your pre-operative appointment you may already have the dates for your postoperative appointments for the next few weeks. If these appointments are not yet scheduled, get them scheduled. Depending on your surgery your surgeon will more than likely want you to be seen in the office several times in the first week or two after surgery. You must always attend these appointments. If during your recovery you have questions or concerns always contact your doctor immediately so he or she is aware of any issues going on and can deal with them before they get worse.

Please make sure your caregiver once you leave the surgery understands your needs and limitations and is prepared to help. Always speak to your doctor about how soon you can drive. Even if you feel fine, you may be compromised in a way that could affect your driving, or driving may take its toll on your body in a way you were not expecting.

Taking supplements and vitamins can help the recovery process but you must report all supplements to your physician. Some supplements, herbs or even teas may cause bleeding or have other effects on surgery or recovery. Garlic, Gingko, ginseng, aspirin containing products and vitamin E are among the supplements most surgeons would ask you to avoid.

It is best if you can ensure you are eating a healthy diet before your surgery. Eliminate alcohol completely and minimise your intake of caffeine and processed foods and eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Try to get as much rest as possible before surgery and have your home life and professional life organised as well as possible. The less you have to do after your surgery, the more you will be able to rest and recover.

Most importantly, follow all of the guidelines provided to you by your plastic surgeon.

Review your preoperative paperwork with your caregiver and be sure you know what to do and how to contact your plastic surgeon at all hours. Avoid heavy lifting or vigorous exercise for 2-3 weeks. If you have facial surgery keep your head elevated for 2-3 days to minimise swelling. Even if you feel great, don’t start exercising, lifting, etc. before your plastic surgeon gives you the go-ahead. Most facial dressings and drains will be removed within 24 hours following your surgery. Sutures (stitches) will be removed within 5-10 days and if tissue glue is used, you should allow the glue to come off on its own. Its important not to pick at the glue, as this can cause irritation. Once sutures are removed and the glue is off, you may begin massaging any scars with Vitamin E oil. Avoid too much sun exposure including tanning beds as this will cause the scar to turn dark. You may resume your usual skin care treatment at this time.

If you’re prepared for your recovery period, it will go much smoother and you’ll be soon enjoying the “new you”!

This article was written by Simon, marketing assistant for Dr. Jeremy Hunt, a professional plastic surgeon based in Edgecliff (NSW), Australia

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