The Typical Recovery

The Typical Recovery

Below is a general guide of what to expect in the days, weeks, and months after your procedure. In the short term, we will ask you to change your normal life activities in a variety of ways to improve your recovery. Good nutrition, good sleep, and low stress are important. Probably the hardest part will be becoming a less active person, for a brief time, to minimize swelling and bruising.

The First Days

When you come out of the anesthesia after your procedure, you will have a dressing, sometimes large and bulky. This will remain in place for about 24 hours after your procedure. Tell us if your dressing feels too tight or uncomfortable. It is normal to feel discomfort, nausea, disorientation, or fatigue. It is best to prioritize rest. We will encourage you to be as quiet as possible during this time and not have too many visitors.

The day after your procedure, we will change your dressing and check your surgical sites. We will teach you how to take care of your incisions. Swelling and bruising typically increase over the first 48 hours before coming down, and we will teach you ways to minimize it. You should feel much better after this visit. After 24-48 hours, you may get your incisions wet (i.e. shower). You may apply mineral-based powder makeup or concealer around areas of bruising, but not near incisions.

The First Weeks

During the first 1-2 weeks, you will need to clean and treat your incision sites multiple times per day. We will see you multiple times to assess your healing. On some visits, we may remove sutures. After suture removal, generally far less incision care is required. After incisions heal, we recommend a daily sunscreen and moisturizer. You may apply mineral-based powder on the incisions. It is normal to feel numbness around incision sites. You will see most of the swelling and bruising come down in the first two weeks. Residual swelling is usually not as noticeable to others. Rest is very important during this time to prevent prolonged swelling.

The First Months

We will see you again between 1-2 months. At this point, far less incisional care is required and 90% of your swelling will have resolved. Generally, incisional firmness and numbness take months to resolve, and we may instruct you to massage incision sites to hasten softening. Your incisions may still appear pink or red for many months yet, and this is normal. Continued daily sunscreen will be important to prevent prolonged incisional inflammation. The appointments will be then be spaced apart by months and you will continue to see improvements from six-months to a year after your procedure.

Returning To Work & Resuming Social Activities

When you return to work depends upon the amount of physical activity and public contact your job involves, and also the amount of swelling and discoloration you develop. Many patients return to work and go out socially anywhere from one to four weeks after their procedure depending upon many different factors. Taking all of this into account, we will advise you when the time is right. Remember, the less you do in the early period, the faster the swelling will go away.

The Importance of Postoperative Office Visits

In the first two weeks we must see you at scheduled times to removed sutures and/or monitor your healing. If suture removal is planned, it is advisable that you try to eat or drink something high in calories before coming into the office and take 1-2 pain pills. Your later postoperative visits are extremely important for ensuring an excellent outcome. The most effective way we may help you heal properly and optimize your results is by seeing and examining you in person at critical time points. During the healing process there are maneuvers (e.g. massage and steroid injections) that we may perform to guide healing. These are most effective within the first six months after your procedure.
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