7 Things to Expect After Getting Cosmetic Surgery
- 01 April 2016
Patients who are contemplating on undergoing cosmetic surgery often focus on three things: the preparation, the actual procedure, and the final outcome. Seldom does the recovery period cross their minds in spite of it being an equally important concern.
The things to anticipate during the recovery period vary from surgery to surgery, but there are still a few common scenarios that patients can expect during this time. Knowing what these circumstances are can help you prepare better not just for your upcoming surgery but also for what lies after it.
Here are 7 most common things to anticipate after undergoing any type of cosmetic surgery.
1. It is going to be uncomfortable.
Even if it is just a simple and non-critical arm or thigh lift, you still went under the knife and thus would feel a bit out of sorts. Pain will start to creep in as the anesthesia that you have been given during the operation starts to wear off. You might also feel a bit nauseous, especially if you have been given general anesthesia. These initial discomforts could be felt during the first 24 hours after surgery.
Your plastic surgeon will prescribe you with oral pain medications although you need to take these with a full stomach to prevent further nausea. Right after surgery, it is best to eat bland, soft foods like crackers and applesauce. Foods that are low in sodium are also recommended in order to prevent extra swelling.
2. You will experience swelling and bruising.
It is normal to experience a little discoloration or even bruising on the surgical site. If you had rhinoplasty or blepharoplasty, you might get black eyes. If you had a facelift, you might notice a purplish discoloration on your face, neck, and chest areas. This will usually go away within seven to ten days, although over-the-counter supplements like Arnica might be able to speed up this process.
Swelling is also a completely normal occurrence, hence distorting the results of the cosmetic surgery. As weeks go by, the inflammation will subside and you will be able to see the final outcome of your procedure. To reduce swelling, apply an ice compress on the area. Wearing a compression wrap might also help, as well as elevating the area.
Take note also that 15 to 20 percent of the swelling might take months or even a whole year to fully subside, so it is normal to experience a little swelling on the tip of your nose months after you have had your nose done.
3. You will experience tingling and numbness.
There are tiny nerves all over your body, including the site of your surgery. Hence, it is normal for your plastic surgeon to cut those small nerves during the operation. Though these nerves will eventually regenerate, the process will take time.
That being said, you might experience numbness or diminished sensation in the area for weeks, months, or even a year. Those who undergo facial surgeries are especially prone to these sensations as every small facial movement can cause a bit of numbness and tingling. In fact, brow lift patients usually feel a sharp pain on their forehead when they try to raise their brows.
Remember that the tingling and numbness are perfectly normal for up to a year after surgery, so there is no need to worry.
4. Your incision site should be kept clean and protected.
Skin care is a very important part of the recovery process. The incision site should be kept cleanby using half-strength hydrogen peroxide to clean off any scabs. Using antibiotic ointment liberally on the incision site can also keep it moist, which is good for healing.
It is important to note that having clear or blood-tinged discharge is perfectly normal, as long as there is no severe bleeding involved. There is also nothing wrong with a pinkish incision line as this is an indication that it is healing nicely. During this time, you should avoid anything that can contribute towards skin irritation like hot tubs, saunas, sports, and swimming.
However, symptoms such as a pus-like discharge, a bright red incision line, and the presence of fever above 101.5 Fahrenheit may translate to an infection. You should call your plastic surgeon right away if you notice any of these symptoms.
5. You need a caregiver.
You may think that you can still resume your normal activities right after surgery, but you cannot do all of them alone. In fact, the moment you step outside the clinic, you will need someone to drive you home.
It is inevitable to feel some degree of pain and discomfort after a procedure, so your activities will certainly be limited for at least a few days after the surgery. Hence, it is important to have someone at home with you to help you out in your daily activities. You may also need assistance in keeping your incision site clean and bandaged, so make sure that you have a caregiver—like a friend or family member—who can assist you as you recover.
6. You need to help yourself heal.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle can assist and hasten your healing process as it strengthens and boosts your immune system. Make sure that you eat a balanced diet filled with antioxidant-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. You should also keep yourself hydrated since water is important in regulating the body's natural processes like temperature control, elimination of toxins, and overall healing.
But while exercise is also good for the body, it might be beneficial to refrain from doing heavy workouts for the meantime in order to avoid trauma to the affected area. Resting and reducing activity following plastic surgery can minimize stress to the incision site and thus lessen the chances of incurring further injuries or damages. Follow the aftercare plan that your cosmetic surgeon has planned out for you.
7. You need to be patient with the healing process.
Keep in mind that recovery does not happen overnight. You cannot dive headfirst into the usual tasks that you were doing right before the surgery. The body's healing course is highly complex and unique to each individual, so you need to be patient with yourself and the process. Understanding that recovering from a cosmetic surgery is a journey and not a race will enable you to have the proper perspective while your body slowly recuperates.
It is essential to talk to your doctor regarding your questions and expectations in order to physically and mentally prepare you for what lies after the surgery itself. Asking for a simple explanation of the healing process from your certified plastic surgeon can go a long way in alleviating your fears and concerns.