What to expect
Before undergoing cosmetic surgery, your doctor will explain the recovery process involved in your procedure. They will also provide helpful information on bathing techniques, changing dressings and wound cleanliness. Make sure to follow these instructions carefully. Generally, patients tend to experience varying degrees of bruising, swelling and tenderness of the skin after surgery. These effects may seem alarming—especially during the first few days of recovery. However, these will eventually subside and patients will be able to see the desired results of their procedure after some time.
Arrange a caretaker
Immediately after your cosmetic procedure, you will need to arrange a caretaker; somebody to take you home and help you for the first 24 to 72 hours. During these initial stages of recovery, you will most likely suffer from fatigue—both from your medication and the surgery itself. As a result, simple tasks may seem difficult. Your assigned caretaker—usually a friend or relative—may need to assist in feeding you and redressing your bandages. Some clinics may include a personal caretaker as part of the package they offer—check this with your doctor beforehand.
Aiding your recovery
After any procedure, the body will require time to heal. Allowing yourself an adequate period to recuperate will aid your recovery. Patients can play an active role in the healing process by following their post-operative guidelines to a tee and leading a healthy lifestyle. Aim to consume a balanced diet filled with whole foods, fruits and vegetables. Staying hydrated is also imperative—drinking plenty of fluids will aid the body’s natural healing process and regulate its overall temperature. Applying an ice pack to the affected areas of the body is an effective way to combat post-surgery bruising and relieve any discomfort. Try to elevate the area as directed by your surgeon; this will help to reduce swelling and blotching. There are a number of things that can hinder your skin’s ability to heal, including smoking and sun exposure. Sunscreen should be applied liberally before leaving the house and smoking should be avoided at all costs.
Check with your doctor that any medications you are already taking—such as blood thinners or heart medication—won’t impede your recovery. Generally, sutures will be removed between five to 10 days after surgery. Your doctor will notify you of this during your follow-up appointments. These appointments are designed to allow your physician to track your progress. Recovering patients may also be asked to avoid operating heavy machinery, driving and strenuous exercise for a few weeks.
Consuming alcohol after surgery
Most clinics will recommend that you reduce (or preferably eliminate) your alcohol intake for some time after your surgical procedure. There are a number of reasons for this:
It dries the skin. When consumed in excess, alcohol depletes the skin’s moisture. This can be hazardous when trying to recover the skin’s elasticity. Dry skin is more prone to stretch marks, cracks and scars than hydrated skin.
It thins your blood. The thinning of your blood can wreak havoc on your recuperation. This can cause prolonged bleeding and infections to arise.
It mixes badly with medication. Pain medication is almost always prescribed after a cosmetic procedure—the type and strength will depend on the circumstances. Mixing prescribed drugs with alcohol can have dangerous consequences and should be strictly avoided.
It can increase risk of swelling. Alcohol naturally widens the blood vessels; this can lead to increased swelling in wounded areas of the body—the last thing any patient wants.