Follow up care after plastic surgery differs from patient to patient. Nonetheless, most surgeons prefer to see their patients the morning after their surgery and a week afterward for monitoring the healing process.
The succeeding follow up visits become less frequent or will have longer intervals (e.g., one month, three months, and six months) provided that the patient heals nicely and does not encounter worrying symptoms such as persistent swelling and bruising, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, and fever.
Should any of the aforementioned symptoms arise during recovery, patients should see their plastic surgeon ahead of the scheduled follow up to prevent more serious complications. Take note that fever is usually a sign of infection, while increasing pain and bleeding signal that the body is not coping well.
Leading Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley, who regularly performs body contouring surgeries like liposuction and Brazilian buttock lift, may require follow up visits at six months to one year, although it will depend on patient’s availability.
There are specific protocols used by each surgeon during a follow up consultation. Oftentimes, he simply checks if the wound is healing well and asks the patients for symptoms that are bothering or worrying them. In some cases, he removes the sutures and/or dressing, or assess if the patient’s compression garment (commonly used after liposuction and body lift) fits snugly but is not causing skin changes or interfering with circulation.
Furthermore, during a follow up consultation doctors ask their patients about the progress of their healing and their level of pain. If needed, he may adjust the medications to help them cope with any discomfort.
Meanwhile, long-term follow up visits tend to be more important after a facial plastic surgery—e.g., facelift, neck lift, cheek lift, and fat transfer. This is particularly true for patients who want to maintain their more rejuvenated appearance for as long as possible. For instance, people who have had facelift may need minor tweaks in the form of dermal fillers or mini facelift to preserve their youthful look.
Nonetheless, the details of follow up care after plastic surgery depend on many variables such as the patient’s age, type of surgery she had, her expectations and level of commitment, and lifestyle.