How Can I Get a Fast Recovery from Plastic Surgery?

 about to get a plastic surgery just a few weeks...what can i do to make recovering from it less difficult and slow?

Doctor Answers 12

There are many things a patient can do to speed their...

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There are many things a patient can do to speed their recovery after plastic surgery.

  1. Get your life in order before surgery - bills paid, shopping done, home cleaned, and care assistance arranged. This relieves the stress early after surgery and allows the patient to relax and focus only on their recovery.
  2. Avoid all products that enhance bleeding such as aspirin, Motrin, Vitamin E and many herbals. Your doctor should provide you with a list, which grows regularly as more herbal products are discovered that affect blood clotting. These products should be avoided for 2 weeks before AND after surgery so that your blood platelets (the factors in blood that cause clotting) will function normally.
  3. Avoid all activities after surgery that increase your heart rate and blood pressure for 2 full weeks. Delayed bleeding can occasionally happen up to 2 weeks after surgery, requiring surgery to drain it. If this happens, your recovery will be significantly longer that if you had followed these activity restrictions.
  4. Stay calm and positive because those who do will always have a dramatically better recovery than those who are high strung, anxious or negative people. Surround yourself only with positive people; negative individuals can make comments that hurt you during this fragile phase of recovery.

Healthy patients recover faster after surgery

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The best way for a person to get the speediest recovery from surgery is to start as a healthy patient. I insist that patients are non-smokers and that they have avoided smoke for at least several months. I also think that people with a healthy BMI will have a more satisying result and will also tend to heal faster. My patients all require bloood tests to and patients over 40 require EKG's.

On occassion, people are unhappy that they have been "turned away" if they have health issues that could result in a less than ideal result and / or recovery, but we are thinking about the patient's health and well being. We have had many patients improve their health by losing weight or stop smoking before seeing me in consultation and the change is amazing.

If you have had your pre-operative appt you may all ready have your post operative appts. for the next few weeks. If these appts are not yet scheduled, get them scheduled. Depending on your surgery your plastic surgeon will likelly want you to be seen in the office several times in the first week or 2 after surgery. ALWAYS BE AT YOUR APPOINTMENTS. If during your recovery you have questions or concerns always contact your doctor so he or she is aware of any issues going on.

Please make sure your caregiver understands your needs and limitations and is prepared to help. Always speak to your doctor about how soon you can drive. Even if you feel fine, you may be compromised in a way that could effect driving.

Taking supplements and viatamins can help the recovery process but you mist report all supplements to your physician. Some supplements, herbs or even teas may cause bleeeding or have other effects on surgery or recovery. Garlic, Ginko, ginseng, apsirin containing products and vitamin E are among the supplements many physicians would ask you to avoid.

Before surgery eliminate alcohol and minimize caffeine, processed foods and eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Try to get as much rest as possible before surgery and have your home life and professional life organized as well as possible.

Most importantly, follow all of the guidelines provided to you by ypour plastic surgeon. review your preoperative paperwork with your caregiver and be sure you know what to do and how to contact your plastic surgeon at all hours. Even if you feel great, don't start exercizing, lifting, etc. before your plastic surgeon gives you the Okay.

Best of luck to you.

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

Post-operative care for any cosmetic procedure is...

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Post-operative care for any cosmetic procedure is paramount in the success of the procedure and rapid healing time. I give all of my patients the following post-operative instructions after any facial surgery procedure.

  1. NUTRITION: It is very important to stay well hydrated following surgery with liquids, such as Gatorade, chicken broth, Jell-o, water, etc.
  2. FOLLOW-UP APPOINTMENTS: Always have a follow-up appointment with your surgeon within one week of your surgery.
  3. MEDICATIONS: You will experience some discomfort and pain for several days following surgery. Take the pain medications and the antibiotics that were prescribed by your physician. Do not take Aspirin, Vitamin E, Ginko, St. Johns Wart, or Ibuprofen two weeks prior to or one week following your surgery. Constipation may occur due to the pain medication and can be treated with mild laxatives, stool softeners, fruit juice or prunes.
  4. ACTIVITIES: Avoid heavy lifting or vigorous exercise for 2-3 weeks. Keep head elevated for 2-3days to minimize swelling.
  5. DRESSING/DRAINS: Your facial dressings and drains will be removed within 24 hours following your surgery. Sutures will be removed within 5-10 days and if tissue glue is used, allow the glue to slough off on its own.
  6. MASSAGING: Once sutures are removed and the flue has sloughed off, you may begin massaging your scars with Vitamin E oil. Avoid sun exposure including tanning beds as this will cause the scar to turn dark. You may resume your preoperative skin care treatment at this time.
  7. HEALING: Bruising and swelling may persist for 2-3 weeks. You will have residual swelling that will take a few more weeks to resolve. It is not uncommon for some patients to experience some depression during recovery and should resolve by the third week.

Renato Saltz, MD
Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

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Relaxing During Your Recovery Downtime

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After any type of surgery, including plastic surgery, it is essential that you give your body enough time to heal before returning to your more active lifestyle. Cosmetic surgery is primarily intended to make you look and feel better. So, to help ensure that your results are up to par with your expectations, take this time off to let your body and mind fully relax. I would suggest, instead of focusing on speeding up your recovery, that you set aside an appropriate length of time and free yourself of all obligations so as to have as smooth a recovery as possible. This downtime typically ranges for about 10-14 days, after which time you may slowly resume your pre-surgery lifestyle.

Sam Rizk, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 79 reviews

After any type of plastic surgery on the face there is...

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After any type of plastic surgery on the face there is going to be approximately two weeks of some degree of swelling and bruising located in the facial areas. It is recommended that patients do not go back to work for at least two weeks post-operatively, or have any social engagements, because the incisions, swelling and bruising will be detectable during that time.

Within two weeks after the surgery, makeup can be applied and most patients are able to return to their normal lifestyle of exercise, social activity and work environment.

Aspirin, ibuprofen, Vitamin E, and herbal supplements have blood thinning properties and should be avoided two weeks before and after surgery. Additionally, smoking retards the healing process and is discouraged. Arnica is acceptable in the postoperative period.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Recovery & Plastic Surgery

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It’s important to prepare for cosmetic surgery for a variety of reasons. Preparation can improve the quality of your result and the quality for your experience as well. It’s important to prepare physically, medically, and mentally for these procedures.

It’s important to be in good physical condition before proceeding with these procedures. Ideally, results are best when patients are within ten percent of their ideal body weight. In some cases, patients are unable to reach this goal. This group still benefits from cosmetic surgery, but results may not be as dramatic and recoveries may be slower.

It’s also important to be medically ready for cosmetic surgery. Patients should be extensively evaluated to rule out other medical conditions. Areas of particular concern include cigarette smoking, blood pressure management, and the patient’s baseline hemoglobin.

Mental preparation for cosmetic surgery is extremely important and helps lower anxiety levels before surgery. It’s important that you have a comfort level with your surgeon, anesthesiologist, and the surgical facility. It’s essential that all your questions be answered so there are no surprises.

Arrangements for postoperative care also need to be in order. It’s important to have a care giver not only for yourself but your children as well. Addressing as many of these issues as possible before surgery will significantly improve results and the quality of the experience. 

10 Tips To A Faster Recovery:

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1. Don’t smoke. Smoking (even a little) slows down the recovery process. Refraining from smoking two months before your surgery will help speed up your recovery as well.
2. Eat healthy. This means eating plenty of whole foods and trying to avoid processed foods.
3. Always attend your follow-up appointments. This is an easy way to have your recovery questions answered directly by your doctor while providing you with needed support through your recovery process.
4. Don’t drink alcohol. Alcohol can also slow down the recovery process.
5. Minimize your caffeine intake.
6. Rest up! Sleep is one of the best and easiest ways to speed up recovery.
7. De-stress. Make sure things are taken care of with work, plants, etc. pre-surgery so you can completely relax through your recovery process. Meditation can also help to speed up recovery.
8. Follow all post-op instructions as directed by your doctor.
9. Ask for help doing things. This may sound silly but many patients start going about daily activities before they are fully ready. It’s ok to need/ask for some help lifting that heavy box from your garage.
10. Avoid aspirin and other products such as Ginko, Ginseng and other herbal supplements, unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

Wishing you a happy, healthy and speedy recovery!

-Dr. Franco-Webb

Fast Recovery from Plastic Surgery

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There are quite a few things that a patient can do to prepare for surgery which will enhance recovery including:

A) Ensure that a stable and loving support system from family and/or friends exist so they can help you with your recovery. You should not have to go through surgery alone.


B) Avoid Aspirin (acetyl salicylic acid) and Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.) for 10 days before and one week after surgery, since they interfere with normal blood clotting and cause bleeding problems.


C) Avoid Vitamin E, fish oil supplements and antihistaminics for 10 days prior to surgery as they may also interfere with blood clotting.


D) Daily intake of multivitamins with minerals is encouraged.


E) Arnica Montana taken properly for 2 days pre-op and 3-4 days post-op may help reduce swelling and bruising.


F) Smoking delays healing and causes complications. It is very important to let the surgeon know that you have smoked cigarettes so that he/she can adjust the surgical plan. At a minimum, smokers should avoid smoking 3 weeks before surgery.


G) Alcohol and non-prescription drugs should also be avoided before and after surgery.


H) Please report any signs of a cold or an infection.


I) Your financial, work, family, and other obligations should be in order prior to surgery to avoid that stress.


A calm and relaxed patient will have a better postoperative recovery generally.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

How to speed up healing after rhinoplasty

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There are many things one can do to speed up the healing phase after rhinoplasty.

Some of the factors that may increase swelling include secondary surgery that requires an open approach with multiple cartilage grafts, thick/sebaceous skin, large reduction in nasal size (especially at the tip).

The nasal tip is the last place for swelling to come down adn for the skin to re-attach and shape itself on top of the cartilage framework that has been modified.

Here are some tips:

  • Ask your doctor to show you how to tape the skin down so that the "dead space" between the skin and the cartilage and bone is sealed off.
  • Try to sleep with several pillows under your head so that you are not completely flat. The taping can be done for as long as 4 weeks without causing acne or skin irritation.
  • Ask your doctor which tape he/she recommends.
  • Also, try to avoid salty food and beverages, which can increase swelling anywhere.
  • Do not fiddle with your nose too much.
  • Do not rub or pnch or squeeze it. Any movement can stir up the swelling and disrupt the skin from sticking down nicely.
  • Also, some herbs can be effective such as Arnica Montana and Bromelain.

Ashkan Ghavami, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 105 reviews

Plastic Surgery Recovery

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Younger, healthier patients tend to have a faster recovery. Having said that, you need to follow your plastic surgeons directions if you desire to have a smooth and fast recovery. This means asking questions if you are unsure about what you can or cant do. It also means ready whatever literature your surgeon gives you on the postoperative treatment plan.

Follow you doctors plan and you will be on your way to a smooth, fast and hopefully successful recovery.

Good luck.

Farbod Esmailian, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 88 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.