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The Recovery Process – What to Expect After Plastic Surgery

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The amount of recovery time varies by procedure. Typically, patients need help with basic tasks for the first 48 to 72 hours after surgery. Your doctor gives you instructions before your surgery for a reason. Not following them can lead to complications and affect your results.

Take Your Medications

Suppose you are planning a procedure from a plastic surgeon, in that case, Joel Aronowitz, MD, requiring you to stay home for the first couple of days, having someone available to help with things like cooking, cleaning, and running errands is helpful. It is also helpful to have someone with you in an emergency. It’s essential to take your medications as directed, including antibiotics and pain medication. In addition, make sure you have plenty of supplies on hand, like gauze, ointment, clean underwear, and large pillows. Stocking up on items like dry shampoo and face wipes is also a good idea to keep you feeling fresh until you can shower again. Also, don’t forget to get some stool softeners. Anesthesia and pain medications can cause constipation. Avoid taking aspirin or other NSAIDs for two weeks before and after surgery (like ibuprofen or naproxen) since these drugs can increase bleeding. You can take acetaminophen instead. You should also avoid bending over or lifting anything heavy for one week.

Follow Your Surgeon’s Instructions

Although recovery times vary based on the specific procedure done by a plastic surgeon such as Dr. Joel Aronowitz, and individual healing capacity, there are certain things that every plastic surgery patient should do to speed up the process. The most important tip is to follow all of your surgeon’s instructions. Pain, bruising, and swelling are a part of the body’s healing process and should not be ignored. It is essential to take any prescribed painkillers and not overdo it in terms of physical activity – too much exercise can cause damage to sutures or drains. Before your procedure, inform friends and family about what to expect from your recovery. Make arrangements for help with cleaning, meal prep, transportation, and caregiving if necessary. Having people on hand to help with any children or pets you may have is also a good idea. Staying hydrated and getting plenty of sleep will also help you heal faster. Remember to attend your follow-up appointments, which are essential to the process.

Take Care of Your Incision Site

If your surgical procedure involves stitches, a wound must be appropriately handled. This helps prevent infections and reduce scarring. Avoid picking or scratching crusting areas, leading to bleeding or a wider scar. The body produces crusting to protect the wound as it closes. Some stitches dissolve independently, while a provider must remove others. During this time, the area will likely have some itching. If the itchiness becomes worse or is severe, contact your provider. Don’t expose the wound to sunlight until it heals. Sunlight can cause the new skin that forms over a wound to burn, resulting in worse scarring. It’s also essential to clean the surgical site as instructed. This includes washing it with mild soap and water or using an antibiotic ointment. Avoid activities that may get the wound dirty, such as mud runs or pond swimming.

Stay Active

Even though a jog or trip to the gym may be tempting, you must resist the urge to exercise until cleared by your doctor. Over-exertion after plastic surgery can cause damage to incisions and sutures. Additionally, bending over or lifting can cause the sealed blood vessels to be forced open, causing swelling and possible bleeding. This is especially important when caring for children and pets at home.

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Eating a healthy diet will also help you heal faster. Eat foods high in vitamins and minerals, such as fruit, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and yogurt. Avoid processed sugars, which can slow down healing. If you are a smoker, quitting smoking before your surgery is essential. Smoking constricts oxygen flow throughout your body, inhibiting healing and causing complications during recovery.

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