Recovery and Help at Home: 10 Helpful Tips to Help Someone During their Cosmetic Surgery Journey
Post Surgery TIP 1: Beds, Blankets and Sheets
- DO wash all linens just before surgery (use a product they are familiar with OR consider hypo-allergenic products that won’t irritate their skin, especially if they have sensitive or reactive skin)
- DO change the patient’s bed linens often to reduce bacterial risks and aid in sleeping comfort.
- DON’T disturb the patient if they have been told to stay in bed or are sleeping (most will be given instructions about when it’s appropriate to move around after surgery, very gently, and they should – above all else – follow their Surgeon’s instructions).
- DO consider buying some luxurious, 100% cotton sheets (several sets) or new pillows (but DON’T throw out the old pillows as they may be the most comfortable – just be sure they have clean pillow cases on them every day).
- If the sleeping position must be elevated after surgery, BUY the pillows (or rent an adjustable bed) and TEST out different sleeping positions BEFORE surgery, not after.
If support pillows or half-reclining sleeping positions can be tested BEFORE Surgery, the patient can discover what DOES and DOESN’T feel comfortable – and remedy this by choosing different pillows or bed heights. Again, do this BEFORE surgery, so that healing is more comfortable AFTER surgery.
Avoid unnecessary movements or jarring right after surgery – ask your Surgeon for details.
Post Surgery TIP 2: Have lots of ICE or ICE PACKS on hand.
- Buy at least 2 large and 4 small freezable gel packs and at least 10 soft cotton/flannelette covers
- As with other materials, you’ll need to wash them after EVERY single use to reduce bacterial risks
- DON’T stuff them anywhere in the freezer when they’re still room temperature/warm – lay them flat to freeze
- DO be sure you freeze them lying FLAT so they are comfortable to use (otherwise, they go into strange shapes that are not very comfortable to use)
The higher quality the ice packs, and the more of them, the better.
In a pinch? You can always freeze a mixture of crushed ice with isopropol-alcohol – in strong, triple bagged zip-lock bags (use more than 2 strong-sealing bags, as otherwise they can leak as they melt – you don’t want your friend to have WET bandages or to get cold and uncomfortable).
WASH ALL covers after every use – you want your friend or family member to have cool packs nestled in freshly cleaned, soft fabric each time they are called into use.
Post Surgery TIP 3: Toilet Seat DOWN, Lid UP
- Leave all toilet seats DOWN and ready to use
- DO NOT close the top cover or toilet lid – avoid the patient’s needing to bend down
- Consider installing a temporary toilet lifting-assistance frame (the kind of support frame that elderly individuals use to get up and down) or rails on the wall for extra support (be sure they are firmly in place/sturdy enough to handle the weight load)
Bending after most surgeries is painful, if not impossible, and could interfere with stitches and wound healing if the incision line becomes stretched.
Another good tip is to keep the toilet UN-OCCUPIED so that your partner or friend can use it as frequently – or urgently – as they need to.
Offer to help with bathing and showers, too, when that time comes (or recommend a caring friend of the same gender).
Post Surgery TIP 4: Bathing options and dry shampoo
- Find out what the Surgeon says about WHEN the patient will be able to shower and/or to wash their hair.
- GET dry shampoo and gentle products that the Surgeon approves for use after surgery. Check what the Surgeon recommends for incision line care and VET any other products you plan to use (including perfumed products which may be harmful).
- IF the patient is able to have a hair wash but not a shower, work out a comfortable way to do so – but beware pulling on the incision lines or sutures.
Dirty hair can be resolved readily in time, but incision lines need extra care to minimise scars and avoid going back into surgery.
Post Surgery TIP 5: Phone call HEADSET or SPEAKERPHONE
Make sure there’s a fully charged, HIGH QUALITY blue tooth HEADSET the patient can keep in her ear after surgery for listening to music OR for phone call purposes – or affirm that the speakerphone button on their phone is in easy reach (VOICE CONTROL OPERATIONS may also work well, but the patient would need to set this up, and practice it, in advance).
- DO ask how you can help with answering or placing calls for the patient
- DO ask who they want you to inform (a) after surgery was completed or (b) in the event of any urgent scenarios you need help with
- ASK your partner if they want their phone on silent while they rest, or on VIBRATE – or completely OFF
- If they want to screen calls, make sure they have a headset they can use to check voice-mails and/or can see the screen readily.
- If it’s painful to raise their arms to adjust the headset, offer to put it in (or over) their ear AND take it off when they desire.
A great idea is to sew or buy a soft flannelette style phone bag, on a string that can be worn around the neck, if appropriate. This keeps their phone handy in the event of an emergency or if they’re feeling weak or nauseous, they can phone you for some assistance.
If you don’t have time to make one, or aren’t good with a sewing machine, consider this type of pouch from AMAZON.
This is NOT recommended for Facelift surgery or Neck Lift Surgery, but might work for tummy tuck or breast surgery; this could mean a soft pouch bag that hangs softly near their body (so long as it doesn’t swing against or hit their incision lines).
Again, find out in advance where the incision lines ARE and search for an effective phone holder accordingly.
Post Surgery TIP 6: MEDICATIONS AND RAPID RECOVERY PRODUCTS (SUPPLEMENTS)
At Cosmetic Surgery for Women & Men, we provide information on post-surgery medications, pain management strategies AND rapid recovery healing aids. We also provide Rapid Recovery Packs with items proven to assist with healing.
- Buy a white board and write on the medications and supplements needed, times and so forth.
Set phone alarms and help with medication administration if required (antibiotics, pain meds, etc.)
- TICK off the white board whenever these are administered.
- Ask us about extra healing aids such as additional probiotics or Healite II sessions.
Post Surgery TIP 7: Silicone Strips (image is a rendered demonstration and does not reflect a real silicone strip)
- Ask your surgeon about using Silicone Strips and where to buy them.
- Ask our Care Team about how to make the most of this investment in minimising your surgery incision lines and reducing scar visibility.
- Find out how to help your friend or family member CARE for their wound – and what to watch out for that might indicate an infection or stretching incision line. (DO make sure they DON’T try to do too much – it can pull their sutures or stretch their scars!)
Post Surgery TIP 7: Prepare healthy MEALS and offer regular SNACKS – and plenty of water to drink
- DO be ready for post-surgery patients to experience some nausea
- DO purchase and have on hand Plain crackers, a few bowls of Jelly, several meal replacement drinks (smoothie style).
- DON’T cook anything very spicy or strongly scented during the first few days after surgery. Stick to PLAIN foods and easy to digest foods.
- DO be sure you encourage the patient to remain well hydrated with plenty of fresh water (include a slice of lemon or lime for flavour).
Post Surgery TIP 8: . Unscented Flowers
- A few fresh flowers by the bed are lovely, but make sure they are not overly scented
- Find out his or her favourite flowers OR plant
Post Surgery TIP 9: Avoid putting your foot in your mouth and expect the patient to be emotional
- DO expect your partner to question their decisions when they are feeling frightened, uncomfortable, sleep deprived, bruised, swollen, or disheveled.
- DO expect your partner to be emotional as healing and recovery can be like an emotional roller coaster.
- GIVE compliments and REASSURE the patient they are going through healing for a reason – remind them of their motives for having surgery (be sure you are clear with WHY and be supportive).
- DO NOT, under any circumstances, say anything non supportive and/or critical in nature.
- This is NOT the time to bring up old arguments or make a dig at behaviours that annoy you.
Post Surgery TIP 10: PETS and KIDS
- Ask for additional help from other friends or family members if you know a person is on their own with child care, or has a partner who regularly travels.
- Even if you’re NOT the main care giver, make sure he or she has enough practical support.
DO hire a cleaner if your partner is OKAY with this – weekly for at least 4 weeks would be best (for at least the kitchen and bathrooms)
- DO offer to walk the dog/feed all pets for at least 3 weeks.
- DO offer to run errands for any food cravings or doctor’s appointments or medication/supplement purchases.
- DO organise that any younger children can sit NEXT to their parent (the patient) on a sofa without crawling on their incision lines – this is a way to HUG children gently without picking them up. Snuggles on the sofa are the go to.
- Find a caring AUNTIE or grand parent to sit with the child so the child DOES get lap time and cuddles from a trusted, familiar family member of close friend.
- Keep big, boisterous pets out of the way and/or under control around the patient, at all times. Consider a baby gate that lets the pet get close for a pat but not jump up.
Want to know more about having a successful surgery experience?
Phone us on (03) 8849 1444 or send an enquiry form today, and ask for our FREE guide ebooks for Cosmetic or Plastic Surgery.
Visit our Downloadable Guides pages
For more information about Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery options and research in Australia.