Recovery from Cosmetic Surgery

For optimum recovery from cosmetic surgery procedures, the first 72 hours are the most crucial. You will be given printed instructions on how to treat the affected areas once you get home. A nurse will call you the day after surgery to check up on you and answer any questions. And of course, Dr. Marvel’s staff is always available to answer any questions over the ‘phone.

When I got home the first afternoon, I took an antibiotic and a pain pill and went straight to bed. From the CO2 I felt (and looked) like I had a bad sunburn. My face was also quite swollen from the fat transfer, and the liposuction sites hurt. As instructed, I lay on my back with my head and upper body propped up on pillows to minimize swelling. I stayed there most of the evening, except to get up and eat dinner. To ease any discomfort, I wrapped some clean cloths around ice packs and used them intermittently.

The next day, I was feeling much better. I did tire easily, so I lay on the couch and read most of the day. My face actually looked worse between 24 and 72 hours after my procedures, primarily because of the swelling. Then it started improving daily.

For the first three days after cosmetic surgery, you should follow these general rules of recovery:

1)      Drink plenty of fluids and rest.

2)      Apply ice packs or cold compresses within 8-12 hours to ease pain and minimize swelling. After this initial period, icing doesn’t have much value.

3)      Eat light, low-salt meals and avoid alcohol. Salt promotes edema and alcohol increases blood flow to the skin. You don’t want either.

4)      Do not rub or scratch the area.

5)      Following CO2, wash twice daily with a gentle cleanser and apply prescribed ointments and creams at the intervals suggested.

6)      Following fat transfer, change dressings until any drainage subsides. Massage the liposuction donor areas several times a day to help them heal smoothly.

7)      Do not engage in vigorous activity for the first 1-3 weeks, depending on which procedures you’ve had done.

It’s important to go into any facial rejuvenation procedure with the knowledge that it will take some time (and effort) to look presentable. A good rule of thumb is to allow at least one full week for the peeling to subside and/or the swelling to minimize. By the end of the second week, you might not be ready for prime time – but you’ll at least look good enough to go out!