While many cosmetic procedures can be performed at an out-patient facility, patients must remember that these procedures are still surgical and require some healing time. Always follow the advice of your plastic surgeon for post-surgery instructions, but here are a few tips to go along with that list.
Post Surgery Tips
- Prepare beforehand to help your body recover faster. Get your life in order, make sure your bills are paid, that your home is cleaned, and that all your shopping is done so that all you have to do is relax and focus on recovery.
- After your surgery avoid any substance that could enhance bleeding, which could include over-the-counter medications and herbs, such as Motrin, vitamin E, aspirin and anything not approved by your doctor.
- Expect swelling and mild bruising of the surgical area, but these should subside after several weeks.
- Shower when the surgeon recommends and you remove the dressings. When finished showering simply blot the steri-strips dry to prevent water seepage into the incision. Patients should only bathe with running water at this point as it is cleaner and the possibility of bacteria infiltration is minimal.
- Avoid tub bathing for at least four weeks after the procedure. The reason doctors recommend this is because the incisions are still not fully closed and bath water can cause infections.
- Standing water in whirlpools or pools should be avoided for a four-week period. Although incisions are virtually closed 48 hours after the incision, water could still seep in and bacteria found in pools or whirlpools could seriously affect incisions causing severe infections and illness.
- Stay away from lakes and rivers for at least three months after your surgery. Doctors may tell you that bathing and swimming are fine after removing the incision tape, or about four weeks after the surgery. Even so you should consider staying out of river or lake water for even longer. Most doctors recommend at least a three month waiting period before swimming, skiing or playing in lake or river water due to bacteria concerns.
When meeting with your physician express your concerns about after-surgery care. Most doctors offer a list of dos and donts before performing the procedure. Ask your plastic surgeon about continuing with normal activities, and if you swim for exercise be sure to mention this, so he/she can give you specific instructions. Remember that healing is based on your particular body and everyone heals differently.