When it Comes to Recovery, You’re in Charge
All cosmetic surgeries require some degree of recovery. While we do everything we can to make sure your surgery is safe and pleasant, recovery is the one area where you have almost complete control. And there’s a lot you can be doing now to help your recovery go as smoothly as possible. Our recovery timeline will help you prepare physically and emotionally for this important part of the plastic surgery process.
The #1 Rule of Recovery
Follow your plastic surgeon’s instructions. Pre- and post-op instructions are requirements, not suggestions. Follow them to the letter before and after your procedure. If you’re unsure whether an activity, food, or even article of clothing is okay, never hesitate to call your surgeon or patient care coordinator and ask. You, and your results, are too important not to.
2-6 Weeks Before Surgery: Plan Ahead
Your surgery is right around the corner. Now’s the time to get your body primed for the healing process. This means treating your body well and concentrating on practical matters of recovery.
- Stay hydrated. A good idea anyway, but it’s especially important to drink enough water prior to surgery. This will help your body handle the effects of anesthesia, reducing your chance of nausea and other side effects.
- Start honoring your list of foods and meds to boycott, such as green tea, NSAIDs, herbal supplements, etc. This is important to prevent unnecessary bleeding after surgery.
- Get adequate sleep. Being well-rested will help you stay relaxed and may reduce pre-surgery anxiety.
- Schedule adequate time off of work. This will be hard if you’re the smart, driven, and energetic person we think you are, but it’s so important that you don’t push yourself after surgery.
Are you a smoker? Quit now, or forget about surgery.
You know it’s bad for you, but it can be downright dangerous when it comes to surgery. Smoking prevents healing by hindering blood supply to the areas that have been operated on. Not only will your results be compromised, but your risk of infection skyrockets. Smoking also makes anesthesia riskier. Because of these potential recovery problems, many surgeons refuse to operate on a smoker. At minimum, you should not smoke for 2-4 weeks before and after your procedure.
1 – 7 Days before Surgery: Prepare for the Big Day
There’s a lot you can do ahead of time to see that your initial recovery goes as smoothly as possible.
- Prepare meals ahead of time, or arrange for someone to cook for you. Easy-to-eat foods like chicken noodle soup, oatmeal, or ice cream are good to have on hand. Plastic straws and a breakfast tray are a good idea too.
- Stock up on couch-friendly activities. Books, movies, and crossword puzzles are good options.
- Frontload the housework. You’ll be less stressed and have a nice, clean home to return to.
- Arrange for someone to stay with you for a few days. You will need someone at home with you the first 24-48 hours after surgery while residual effects of anesthesia wear off.
- Fill any prescriptions for post-op medications before surgery.
- Call your plastic surgeon with any concerns. It’s perfectly normal to start getting nervous about surgery just about now, and your surgery team will be glad to answer any questions you may have, big or small.
Your Surgery Day: Keep Calm and Rest Easy
Congratulations! By the end of the day, you’ll be the proud owner of a new look. Now you start recovering in earnest.
- You’ll need someone you know and trust to drive you home. You’ll be awake, but very groggy after surgery. It’s not safe for you to drive, and you’ll need help getting in and out of the car.
- Start drinking water as soon as you can (use those straws you bought for easier sipping). Hydrating can ward off nausea and help flush out remaining anesthesia agents. Also, eat as you feel up to it.
- Take your pain medication as prescribed for the first 1-2 days, at least. Many patients dislike taking meds in general; that’s understandable. But don’t suffer unnecessarily. You’re not “weak,” you just had surgery!
- After a day or so, start walking around to help with circulation and prevent muscle aches caused by sitting too long. Your surgeon will give you specifics on what’s okay and what’s not.
- DO NOT shower, bathe, or remove your bandaging until given express permission by your plastic surgeon. For most procedures, you’ll only have to wait 2-3 days to shower and see your results for the first time.
1-3 Weeks after Surgery: Looking Good…
Your energy and comfort level will improve steadily as you heal. Now you can begin light activity and start to transition back to work and family life. However, the emotional aspects of recovery start coming into play right about now. Don’t be surprised if nitpicking and restlessness take center stage. You may find that your new look feels strange, even if you think the results look great. This is a normal response at this point and doesn’t mean that you made the wrong decision. It may take a few weeks to start associating your new look with your self-image.
Additionally, boredom may tempt you to jump back into your full routine too soon. But, don’t do it! It’s not worth setting back your recovery by weeks or even months to try to sneak back to the gym before you’re ready. We promise you won’t lose years of fitness in just a few weeks. Be patient, and stay positive. The best part of recovery is about to begin!
4 Weeks and Beyond: Rocking Your GLAM New Look!
You’re getting back to your daily life, with one major change: you look different than you did a few weeks ago! You may be on cloud 9, ready to go spend a small fortune on new clothes, or just feel yourself smiling a lot more. By now, you’ll start hearing positive feedback from your friends and family – they’ll notice how you carry yourself with more confidence, and you’ll find this very reassuring.
The Emotional Side of Recovery
An excellent recovery actually begins well before you even set a date for surgery. Follow these guidelines, and you’ll enjoy lower risk of complications and less stress leading up to surgery. You’ll also be better prepared to cope with the emotional ups and downs of recovery.