Although every plastic surgery is slightly different, one thing that all procedures have in common is that at least a little recovery is necessary after the surgery. Before you go in for surgery, your surgeon should give you a list of post-op instructions. These instructions explain what you should do to optimize healing, lay out any activity restrictions, and go over what you can expect during the days and weeks after surgery.
While it’s easy to look at your post-op instructions as a list of “suggestions” or “would be nice” ideas, following them as closely as possible (if not exactly) is essential. Your surgeon isn’t giving you the instructions to make your life difficult, but instead to ensure that you get the best possible results from your surgery.
You’ve most likely spent a lot of money and time on plastic surgery. Following any directions from your surgeon will help you maximize your investment. Here are just a few reasons why following post-op instructions is a must-do.
Improve Your Results
No matter what type of surgery you have, whether it’s a rhinoplasty, facelift or breast augmentation, the surgical area is going to be tender and delicate for several days, if not weeks and months. The healing area needs all the help it can get from you. You should avoid anything that could hurt or alter the area, as this could compromise your results. For example, your surgeon may recommend that you avoid wearing a bra after breast augmentation for about six weeks. That might seem unnatural or uncomfortable to you. But it’s important to remember that your breast implants need the opportunity to settle. Wearing a bra, especially a bra with a wire, can impede proper healing.
Similarly, your nose is going to be fragile and tender after rhinoplasty. It’s in your best interests to avoid any sort of activity that could bump the nose or otherwise compromise healing. Disrupting your sports, exercise, or swimming schedule might be an inconvenience, but it’s essential after nose surgery. Rhinoplasty is permanent, and you’ll want to make sure you’re setting yourself up for the best results possible.
Improve Your Comfort
The post-op instructions your surgeon gives you aren’t only designed to help you get the best results. They are also designed to help you enjoy a comfortable recovery. Trust us, you probably won’t want to be back at work two days after surgery. You are likely to have some level of discomfort and you may be on painkillers. You might also feel self-conscious about your appearance, especially if you’ve had facial surgery and have bruising and swelling.
Resting and taking it easy for the first week or so after your surgery is really the best option for you and your body. Waiting until your surgeon gives you the all clear to resume your everyday activities again will help you feel your best after surgery.
Lower the Risk of Complications
Even after a successful surgery, there is still a small chance of complications occurring if you don’t follow post-op instructions. For example, if you smoke and you start up again right after a procedure, there’s a risk of delayed healing or other issues developing. Or, if you don’t properly clean and care for your incisions, you could develop an infection.
Increase Your Safety
Finally, following the post-op instructions given to you will help keep you safe after a plastic surgery procedure. If you’re taking a prescription pain reliever, your surgeon will recommend that you avoid driving while on the medication. Pain relievers can make you drowsy and you don’t want to be behind the wheel when you feel sleepy or groggy.
Right after your surgery, having someone to drive you home is essential for your safety as the anesthesia wears off. Having a friend or loved one with you is also important in case you have any difficulties — with anything — during the first day or two after your procedure.
Any Questions? Ask Your Surgeon
The odds are likely that your surgeon isn’t going to just hand you a list of instructions and send you on your way. They will be there to answer any questions you have about your post-op instructions and to explain the reasoning behind particular directions. If you have any concerns or questions about why you should or shouldn’t do something after surgery, your surgeon will help to make the reasoning clearer and help you better understand the instructions.
In Houston, Texas, Dr. Paul Vitenas is a board-certified plastic surgeon with three decades of experience. He’s available to answer any questions you have about surgery and to explain the post-op and recovery process to you. To learn more, call 281-484-0088 to schedule a consultation today.