The ideal plastic surgery aftercare facility will depend on several factors such as individual health, type of surgery, and operative time. Nevertheless, a good number of patients are permitted to go home following a short period of observation, an “arrangement” known as outpatient procedure.
However, outpatient procedures only suit healthy patients whose surgery is completed less than five hours. Meanwhile, individuals with risk factors (multiple surgeries operation, borderline anemia, etc.) are typically required to have an overnight hospital stay.
Leading Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley explains the different types of plastic surgery aftercare facility or “arrangement.”
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Overnight hospital stay
While plastic surgeries are typically performed as an outpatient procedure, occasionally an overnight hospital stay is recommended to ensure patient safety. This is particularly true for individuals who are having multiple surgeries that may take more than six hours to complete.
There is also a perceived higher risk of complications among older patients (i.e., 55 years and older) and so an overnight hospital stay might be advised.
Accredited recovery facility
Some patients with risk factors (multiple surgeries, advanced age, underlying condition such as borderline anemia, etc.) are released from the hospital to a licensed recovery facility, which is staffed by qualified nurses or specially trained medical professionals who will monitor their health.
As previously stated, a good number of plastic surgery is performed as an outpatient surgery. After a brief period of monitoring the patients are allowed to return home, provided that they will have a designated driver and a capable caregiver who will stay with them for at least 24 hours after surgery.
With the growing popularity of medical tourism—patients traveling long distances seeking expertise or cheap procedures—hotels and spas can serve as a venue for recuperation.
Patients traveling alone for plastic surgery are often advised to hire a licensed healthcare professional who can monitor their recovery at least in the first 1-2 days following their surgery.
Recovery from mommy makeover surgery—a combination of body contouring procedures that can reverse the effects of pregnancy—may vary greatly from patient to patient. Nonetheless, patients are generally advised to avoid strenuous activities and heavy lifting for six weeks to prevent healing problems.
Leading Los Angeles plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley says most of the pain will come from muscle repair performed during tummy tuck, a surgery that contours the frontal and lateral aspect of the waist. The discomfort from breast enhancement such as breast lift and augmentation, meanwhile, is much easier to control.
To minimize the postop pain resulting from tummy tuck, which in turn can promote healing, Dr. Smiley says he always injects Exparel into the abdominal muscle at the very end of his surgery. The effects of this numbing medication can last for up to four days, allowing his patients to reduce their use of narcotics or even avoid them altogether.
In the first few days postop, Dr. Smiley recommends his patients to arrange for help at home so they can focus on their recovery instead of stressing over routine chores like childcare, cooking, driving kids, etc. Simply put, they need all the help they can get during the initial healing phase.
Taking care of small children (under the age of 2) at home is particularly discouraged during the initial healing stage. For this reason, mommy makeover really requires advanced planning for a more convenient recovery.
Patients should also expect lethargy that can last 4-6 weeks and so they may need to sleep more; additionally, they may lack the energy to do their usual activities, he adds.
In general, young patients bounce back sooner than older patients, although recovery from mommy makeover surgery still boils down to individual healing. For this reason, the celebrity plastic surgeon requires lab screening to ensure that they are healthy enough to handle the surgery and the ensuing recovery.
When going back to “desk” work, Dr. Smiley typically recommends 1-2 weeks off; however, some patients file for a longer leave or choose to work part time until they regain their preoperative energy level, which can take up to six weeks.
Nose reshaping recovery may differ from patient to patient, although most can go out in public after 8-14 days without having to worry about the “outward signs” of surgery such as bruising and swelling.
Many patients are surprised that the recovery following a nose reshaping surgery (which is medically referred to as rhinoplasty, or in layman’s term nose job) is not as painful as they have been expecting it to be. Nonetheless, most describe the experience as rather “uncomfortable” since they have to breathe through their mouth due to temporary nasal congestion.
Leading Inland Empire plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley has provided a list of activities to avoid or at least limit during the nose reshaping recovery.
* Running, jogging, dancing, and other similar aerobics exercises are best postponed for two weeks, or sometimes even longer depending on the individual healing. It is important to note that the pressure and nasal congestion also makes it difficult to perform rigorous workouts.
* Contact sports are best avoided for a minimum of 2-3 months to give the underlying framework of the nose the opportunity to heal completely.
* Avoid wearing eyeglasses. How long should one wait depend on many things, although patients who have had osteotomies (breaking of the nasal bone) are typically instructed to avoid wearing eyeglasses for a minimum of six weeks.
* Making extreme facial expressions. Anything that causes discomfort or results in excessive manipulation of the upper lid (which affects the nose itself) is best avoided in the meantime.
* Avoid showers to prevent bandages and splint from getting wet. Typically, they are removed about a week postop.
* Avoid blowing one’s nose. By two weeks postop, most patients can blow their nose as long as they do this with care. However, others are required to wait up to three months particularly if they have had septal perforation repair or other similar types of complex or reconstructive surgery.
* Avoid hard-bristle toothbrush in the first few weeks following a nose reshaping surgery. The goal is to prevent excessive manipulation of the upper lip to keep the nose at rest and prevent inadvertent injury or disturbance.
* Avoid accidental bumps with proper attire. Button down shirts and wrap-around dresses are particularly ideal in the first few weeks of recovery.
Each doctor has a specific set of rhinoplasty recovery tips. Nonetheless, they all boil down to controlling the amount of swelling and bruising, and preventing injuries during the healing phase to achieve optimal results from the surgery.
Most patients already know the basics of rhinoplasty recovery tips—the drugs and supplements to avoid a few weeks before and after surgery, the foods and drinks to limit, and the activities that could jeopardize their results. Hence, the list below explains the not-so-popular guidelines that can promote healing.
Chronic stress can put a toll on your immunity. For this reason, a longer time off from work might be more ideal than returning to office just 10-14 days after surgery, or once the outward signs (bruising and swelling) are gone.
If a longer leave of absence is not possible, you may ask to work part-time until you regain your pre-surgery energy level, which often takes 4-6 weeks after surgery. The goal is to control your stress level, according to experts at the California Surgical Institute.
Of course, managing stress also boils down to adapting a positive attitude in life.
- Use of bed wedge pillow or recliner bed
Head elevation all day long and during the night can keep swelling to a minimum and can also promote healing. Many patients have noted the convenience of using a bed wedge pillow or a recliner bed, as opposed to the soft standard pillows.
You may want to sleep alone in your bed and avoid pets and small children for the time being because even the slightest bump may cause bleeding or interfere with healing.
Other things to avoid while not yet fully healed include wearing eyeglasses, blowing your nose, making excessive facial expressions, and applying too much pressure when brushing your teeth. Moreover, it makes sense to wear button down shirts or wrap-around dresses during the initial healing stage to avoid accidental bumps on the nose.
Aside from consuming more fiber-rich foods and lean protein, it is important to follow a low-sodium diet. It is important to note that too much salt causes water retention, which can aggravate the amount of postop swelling.
Empty calorie foods laden with sugar and fats can also suppress your immunity and aggravate constipation, which is not uncommon after any type of surgery due to narcotic painkiller use.
Sun protection is one of the most critical rhinoplasty recovery tips. It is important to note that after surgery the nose is extra sensitive to UV rays and thus the risk of discoloration or hyperpigmentation is perceived to be higher.
If you cannot stay away from the sun, try to slather on sunscreen with at least SPF 30 or use a wide-brimmed hat.
Rhinoplasty swelling is a common part of recovery, although by 2-3 weeks it is barely perceptible that most patients can return to work or attend social events. However, the final results could take up to one year or even longer since the skin needs time to redrape to the new cartilaginous framework, according to the California Surgical Institute website.
While the social recovery from rhinoplasty in general takes 2-3 weeks, some patients may experience a period where the swelling fluctuates (i.e., slight swelling only during the morning) as they move forward to their recovery.
However, swelling that remains obvious or persistent after several months or about a year postop might be caused by aggressive scar formation.
The presence of scar tissue in the internal nasal cavity and subcutaneous tissue is normal and for the vast majority of patients it will resolve with time and possibly with a use of some conservative management such as massage. A good rule of thumb is to wait at least a year before resorting to a more aggressive method such as steroid injection and revision surgery.
Steroid injection (Kenalog) is particularly helpful in rhinoplasty swelling in the supratip, which lies just above the tip. This treatment can reduce the amount of scar tissue by breaking up the bonds between the collagen bundles; however, it involves judicious injection to prevent skin depression or thinning, hypopigmentation (the skin turning lighter), and other untoward side effects.
If the supratip develops excess scar tissue, the area becomes swollen to the point that the nose appears like a parrot’s beak; hence, it is also referred to as polly beak deformity.
To avoid skin changes, a highly diluted form of Kenalog is injected deep enough so as to prevent the dermis of the skin from shrinking. To further reduce the risk of complications, there should be a 6-8 weeks interval for each treatment.
While Kenalog may start working as soon as 1-2 days after injection, most patients can expect its full effects in two weeks.
To further control the amount of rhinoplasty swelling in the supratip, it may be necessary to tape the area for about a week after injection.
The amount of bruising after facelift surgery varies from patient to patient due to a gamut of factors affecting the recovery time, e.g., individual health and nutritional habits, surgical techniques, use of adjunct procedures (such as fat grafting), and quality of postop care.
However, most patients will look social presentable, i.e., no outward signs of surgery such as noticeable swelling and bruising, about two weeks postop.
Minimizing bruising after facelift surgery requires advance planning. In general, products with blood thinning properties (aspirin, ibuprofen, anticoagulants, alcohol, some type of antidepressants, and certain herbal supplements and remedies) must be avoided or at least reduced at least two weeks prior to surgery and during the initial healing stage.
Also, the use of tobacco products must be discontinued for at least three weeks to prevent extensive bruising and poor healing.
After surgery, it is important to further avoid products with blood thinning properties for 1-2 weeks or until most of the bruising has subsided.
The quality of postop care will also determine the amount of bruising, and ultimately the recovery time.
Celebrity Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley has shared some tips that can reduce the amount of bruises after facelift surgery.
* Head elevation for a few days postop. While propping up one’s head with some pillows will suffice, some people swear by the additional comfort and “stability” provided by bed wedge pillows.
* In the first 48 hours the use of cold compress can reduce the amount of bruising, which could shorten one’s social recovery.
* Taking things slow. A good rule of thumb is to avoid over-straining, heavy lifting, bending from the waist, and strenuous activities for at least three weeks. Nonetheless, it is important to walk and move around throughout the day (instead of taking prolonged bed rest) to control swelling and reduce the risk of blood clots.
* Herbal remedies. While not every facelift surgeon recommends the use of bromelain and arnica montana, proponents suggest that taking them a few days before and after surgery can reduce bruising and swelling to some extent.
* Superb diet. A good rule of thumb is to increase protein intake (it should account for 15-25 percent of the total calorie intake. Meanwhile, avoid processed carbs and foods high in refined sugar and salt because they can suppress the immune function and contribute to lethargy, swelling, and weight gain.
A diet high in sodium is particularly detrimental to one’s recovery as it triggers the body to hold on to more water, resulting in more swelling, which usually accompanies bruising.