Misery had plenty of company recently as residents across the nation suffered through one of the most widespread heat waves in recent memory.
The combination of heat and humidity made it feel like the temperature was in the triple digits in many big cities. In some areas, emergency crews were kept busy responding to dangerous health-related incidents. Nobody knew better how uncomfortable extreme heat could be than, perhaps, patients recovering from cosmetic plastic surgery procedures.
Patients who have undergone plastic surgery should already know that swelling is a common occurrence after any surgery, including cosmetic procedures. But even the most upfront and detailed warnings may not prepare you for the swelling and inflammation that you may experience once you get home, especially in extreme summer temperatures.
Make Life Comfortable
Fortunately, there are things you can do to reduce swelling and make your life more comfortable – in any weather. Swelling can reach its peak one or two weeks after surgery, depending on the thickness of your skin and the location of your procedure. So, the worst days may have already come and gone with the recent heat. In the months after surgery, swelling will continue to decrease.
Your face is more likely to swell than other parts of your body. The good news is that 90 percent of swelling should be complete within about three months. In the meantime, the best advice is to get plenty of rest, and use ice to drain fluids and reduce swelling,
You doctor may have given you a special compression garment for you to wear for at least the first two weeks after surgery. Cold compresses will also help to minimize swelling and reduce bruising. One tip is to keep the treatment area elevated with a pillow or two whenever possible. The elevation will allow fluids to drain from the affected areas.
Drinking plenty of water – especially during summer heat – should not be too difficult a prescription to follow. Meanwhile, vitamin C and arnica montana are excellent ways to boost your immunity to infection and accelerate healing.
Medications like aspirin and other non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs should be avoided. In fact, because they are blood thinners that will inhibit clotting and increase healing time, these medications should have been stopped two weeks prior to surgery.
If you couldn’t already stand the heat like so many others across the county, you should be happy to accept that withdrawing from exposure to ultraviolet light for at least the first three to six months following surgery is a good idea.
Remember that your doctor knows best. If itching, bruising, pain and swelling persists, let your cosmetic surgeon know of any changes or complications in your condition.
Swelling can be expected. For some, knowing what to expect can be the best remedy for easing any discomfort associated with plastic surgery. Time takes time, so give yourself plenty of it and let yourself heal. You will have more than enough time to show off your new look.
Exposure Is Not Everything
When you are ready to return to a daily routine after cosmetic surgery, sun protection should come as naturally as your procedure did. The specialists at Vitenas Cosmetic Surgery recommend using clothing to cover your incisions whenever possible. It is important to know that not all bathing suits, thin shirts or light pants will limit ultra violet light from penetrating your skin’s surface.
Sunscreen should become a daily habit, and not just during the summer or when you are at the beach. Some products are waterproof and sweat resistant. It’s important to read the instructions to know how often to apply.
Don’t Take Sun Lightly
Wearing a hat should become second nature after any facial surgery. Not all brims on some baseball or straw hats are wide enough to give your face enough protection and may allow too much light in. Cover up areas of the body with protective clothing whenever possible.
Protection from the sun should not be taken lightly. In other words, don’t leave home without it. Preserving your new look should be as important as it was to improve your old look. For more information on cosmetic surgery and the recovery, contact Houston plastic surgeon Dr. Paul Vitenas at (281) 484-0088.