Can I Speed Up My Recovery after Plastic Surgery?

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8 Rules For Cosmetic Surgery Recovery:   How long cosmetic surgery recovery takes and how you can speed up your recovery after plastic surgery.

Can you speed up Recovery after having Plastic Surgery or Cosmetic Surgery? And how long does recovery actually take?

These are the questions every patient asks as they plan their cosmetic surgery journey with our Melbourne Plastic Surgeons.  You CAN aim to have a faster recovery from plastic surgery or cosmetic procedures, but it’s important that you allow for adequate down time so you heal properly with fewer complications. So although we aim to provide you with rules, tips and methods for experiencing a more comfortable recovery after cosmetic surgery, we also want to remind you that RUSHING RECOVERY after surgery is NOT recommended. Doing too much, too soon – or going back to the gym, yoga or running too quickly after an operation – can ruin your results and lead to higher surgery complication risks.

So while we AIM to help you have a speedier recovery after surgery – when possible – we ALSO want you to achieve the best possible results from your surgical investment.

The quick answer is this:

  • although we may suggest things you can DO AFTER your surgery to enhance your healing and surgery recovery period, or to reduce post-operative surgery risks
  • you’ll also need to ensure you DON’T try to overly shorten the process of recovery.

The other thing to keep in mind at all times is that every operation is unique, and every patient is unique – so healing has a bit of unpredictability.

  • Being patient and resting and eating well are the basic tenets of having a good recovery experience after surgery.
  • Some surgeries require at least 2 or more weeks of avoiding more strenuous activities – some have more. Other procedures may allow you to start walking and resuming non-taxing work again in as little as a week; but again, this varies, so speak to your Doctor/Surgeon for further details.
  • You can also find more recovery after cosmetic surgery information in our Plastic Surgery Recovery Guides.

Plastic Surgery Recovery Advice: If you try to rush your surgery recovery OR start doing too much too soon, you could be risking your health, incision line healing/scars and overall long-term results.

The best things you can do to ensure a good recovery – and help avoid having a longer-than-desired recovery period – is to check with your Surgeon BEFORE resuming normal exercise or other activities. Follow your Surgeon’s and Nurse’s advice precisely for best results and patient-safety after your operation. And be sure you eat well, rest well and never ever smoke as you heal from your procedure.

Surgery Recovery Rule #1 – REST

Resting After Surgery – Getting Good Sleep during your Recovery after Cosmetic Plastic Surgery

  • Allow your body to heal and get good nutrition and rest.
  • Recognise that rest may be difficult at first in the early stages of post-operation healing but will get better.
  • A lack of comfortable sleep at first is expected and can leave you feeling emotional after surgery; questioning your decisions to have surgery is also very common.
  • Know what to expect in terms of emotions and have good support around you (supportive friends and family who understand why you chose to have your procedure).
  • Make your post-op room as comfortable as possible. Read TIPS for at-home recovery.

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How we help you with Surgery Recovery after Plastic Surgery

  • We go the extra mile to ensure you are not only prepared for your surgery, but you’re prepared for your recovery period as well.
  • We have a Rapid Recovery Package to help you during the initial healing and surgery recovery period.
  • We provide follow-up visits as part of our service and these are included in your quote (be sure you DO book and attend all follow-up appointments are recommended including annual follow-up check ups with your Surgeon).

But it’s important you don’t rush your recovery.

  • Surgery is a major event.
  • You want to allow your body to heal well by giving it adequate rest and recovery time, and NURTURING your body and mind during the process of plastic surgery recovery.

Surgery Recovery Rule #2 – HYDRATE

  • Your doctor or Surgeon will advise you to stay hydrated.
  • This is important because all of your healing processes require adequate water intake to function optimally.
  • Dehydration also harms your body’s immune responses and healing functions.
  • Plain water – rather than soft drinks – is highly recommended.
  • Infuse the water with some lovely fresh lemon or lime juice for some extra Vitamin C can be helpful as well.
  • If you’ve had a Tummy Tuck, make sure you get help with going to the toilet and be sure you wear your garment as recommended.
  • Gentle slow movements as you heal are usually a good idea and be sure you know the circulation-related surgery risks if you stay still for too long – ask your Surgeon for specific advice on how often you need to move and which movements might be best in the early stages of recovery after surgery.

Want more SPEEDY RECOVERY TIPS for Healing After Plastic or Cosmetic Surgery?

Download the Ultimate Cosmetic Surgery Recovery Guide.

What’s important to remember, as you read these surgery recovery rules:

  • Recovery time for patients varies greatly depending on the individual and the procedure.
  • There are, however, several things you can do before and after your surgery to move along your recovery and improve your scar healing.

This is where you can really help facilitate your own recovery.


Surgery Recovery Rule #3 – FOLLOW YOUR SURGEON’S INSTRUCTIONS AND STAY INFORMED AND ALERT

Your Surgeon will give you advice, and it’s important to follow this advice precisely. This information does NOT constitute medical information and does NOT override what your own Surgeon or Doctor has told you to do after cosmetic plastic surgery. Do recognise when to be concerned and check with your Surgeon or Nursing team if any concerns or unusual symptoms.

Following simple suggestions from your Surgeon MAY help you move through your surgery recovery stage quicker or more comfortably, however – and you might here the following advice from your Specialist Plastic Surgeon:

  • Breast surgery patients may be told to wear a special post-surgery BRA or post-surgery compression garment(s)  provided for you – wear these day and night for as long as you’ve been instructed to wear them.
  • Do NOT wear an underwire bra for at least 6 months after breast surgery.
  • Alert your Surgeon to any concerns and read all information to better recognise what’s normal after plastic surgery during your recovery period  and what might be a cause for seeking treatment or immediate medical assistance. (Remember, surgery does have risks, and some patients have issues needing attention – fortunately most surgeries are well-tolerated but it pays to know when you might need extra care should you be one of the unlucky few who experience a complication).
  • Read the Surgery GUIDES both before you have surgery and after, including the recovery guides and Post-Op Care Guides provided to you for your procedure.
  • Good nutrition is crucial to your wound healing and recovery.
  • It is not appropriate for people with wounds to follow diets that limit intake, such as diets to reduce cholesterol or weight and diets that avoid entire food groups such as carbohydrates.

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Surgery Recovery Rule #4 – FOLLOW GOOD NUTRITIONAL INTAKE BEFORE & AFTER SURGERY

Quicker Surgery Recovery after having a Breast Augmentation, Tummy Tuck, Eyelid or Nose Surgery 

Eating after Surgery: Foods to Choose and Diets to Avoid

Adjust your diet for nutritional healing

Nutritional Tips for What to Eat After Surgery: Greens, Fruits and Veggies (ask your Surgeon)

  • Consuming fresh fruit and vegetables and maintaining a balanced diet before and after your surgery ensures your body is receiving the vitamins and nutrients it needs to aid recovery.
  • Almonds, fruit, lean meats, whole grains, yogurt and seafood are all high in vitamins E, D, C and A, iron, protein, fibre and zinc.
  • Foods containing these nutrients assist in wound healing and forming scar tissue, as well as promoting growth of new blood cells.
  • Immunity, bone healing and repair of soft tissue is also aided by the above vitamins and nutrients.
  • Also make sure you’re drinking lots of water to keep your fluids up, aim for at least 1.5 litres per day.
  • Avoid alcohol and other intoxicating substances to maximise your healing capacity.

Proteins can help and may be important during healing periods.

  • Protein is essential for the maintenance and repair of body tissue.
  • Depleted protein levels will cause a decrease in collagen development, slowing the wound healing process. Adequate protein levels will help achieve optimal wound healing rates.
  • Sources of protein include red and white meats, fish, eggs, liver, dairy products (milk, cheese, yoghurt), soy beans, legumes, seeds, nuts and grains.

Vitamin C

  • Vitamin C plays an important role in collagen synthesis as well as the formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis).
  • Adequate Vitamin C levels help strengthen the healing wound.
  • Vitamin C also has important antioxidant properties that help the immune system and it increases the absorption of iron.
  • Vitamin C is found mostly in fruit and vegetables, especially, oranges, grapefruit, tomatoes, and leafy vegetables.

 

Vitamin A can help with wound healing

  • Vitamin A increases the inflammatory response in wounds, stimulating collagen synthesis.
  • Low Vitamin A levels can result in delayed wound healing and susceptibility to infection.
  • Vitamin A is found in milk, cheese, eggs, fish and dark green vegetables.
  • Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3534019

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Iron

  • Iron is part of the system that provides oxygen to the site of the wound, therefore iron (haemoglobin) deficiency can impair healing.
  • Iron deficiency can also result in impaired collagen production and strength of the wound. The best sources of iron in the diet are red meat, offal, fish, eggs, wholemeal bread, dark green leafy vegetables, dried fruits, nuts and yeast extracts.

SURGERY RECOVERY RULE # 5: Consider Nutritional Supplements and Items in Your Rapid Recovery Pack

  • In order to aid your rapid recovery – our Plastic Surgeons group in Melbourne provide patients with a rapid recovery pack.
  • It contains a mixture of “science and love” products and information to help you heal faster.
  • Supplementation of essential nutrients is particularly necessary when a normal diet is lacking – it can also be very helpful when your body needs a boost due to the stressors of having had an operation (excisions).
  • While we strongly encourage a nutritional diet plan that provides you with all the ingredients you need for healing, we also provide a range of surgery-recovery aids and supplements that can help provide get extra nutrients you may require during your recovery period.

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Surgery Recovery and Healing Aids – Post-Operation Support for Cosmetic Plastic Surgery

Your Rapid Recovery Pack for surgery in Melbourne  usually contains several of the following healing aids:

Arginaid Powder Drink

Arginine is concentrated in the skin and connective tissue and increases collagen deposition. It works at a cellular level to assist healing and stimulate the immune response. While it is found in foods such as eggs, nuts and whole grains, we have provided you with a box of Arginaid Powder Drink to give you the additional support your body will need at this time. Dissolve one packet in a glass of water twice a day, until all used.

Arnica Tablets

Derived from the European plant Arnica Montana, Arnica is traditionally used in homeopathic medicine to help relieve strains, sprains, bruising and sore, aching muscles. It may therefore help to relieve muscular pain, swelling and bruising after your surgery. Follow the dosage guidelines on the box. The small tablets dissolve quickly under your tongue.

Vitamin Tablets

Swisse Hair Skin Nails is a combination of vitamins and minerals shown to support hair, skin and nail health. It contains ingredients essential for the formation of collagen and the maintenance of healthy skin. It may be of assistance with speeding up wound healing and improving scar results. It is recommended you take one tablet per day with food.

Ginger and Peppermint Tea

After surgery some people report that they have an “unsettled” stomach, or are feeling a little “off colour”. This can be usually be attributed to the general anaesthetic. Peppermint and Ginger have a long tradition of medicinal use in relieving nausea.

Skincare Pack

As a patient of our surgeons, you will receive a complimentary Skincare pack which contains a variety of beautiful skincare products for you to enjoy. One of our nurses will usually bring this to you when she visits you in hospital for your post-operative check.


Other Helpful Tips for Better Plastic Surgery Recovery.

SURGERY RECOVERY RULE #6: Take advantage of high-tech scar management and surgery recovery support

  • Other healing aids may help with scar healing or reduce scar visibility. We can give you advice on what to do to help minimise your scars.
  • Ask your Surgeon and Surgery team for details and be sure you take advantage of your visit to the COCO RUBY skin care teams!
  • Some options to help you have better looking scars after surgery are listed below.

HEALITE II treatments, Laser Therapy, MicroNeedling, Fraxel or other Post-Op Scar Treatment Options

  • Our plastic surgeons choose from some of the latest, most advanced surgical techniques and scar minimisation technologies to HELP reduce the extent of scarring during surgery and post-operatively.
  • After your wound has closed and healed, it can take over 12 months for the scar to completely settle.
  • For some surgeries, we offer inclusive scar management treatments at Coco Ruby in Hawthorn East/Melbourne.

All Surgery leaves a scar. Some patients have more visible scars than others. Ask your Surgeon for information and what to expect.

Scars are areas of fibrous tissue that replace normal skin after injury/surgery.

  • A scar results from the biological process of wound repair in the skin and other tissues of the body.
  • Thus, scarring is a natural part of the healing process.
  • With the exception of very minor lesions, every wound (e.g., after accident, disease, or surgery) results in some degree of scarring.

We offer patients “gold standard” scar minimization treatments during the scar healing period – often included in your procedure. Ask a Patient Care Coordinator which patients and which procedures usually benefit from scar treatments and what your options are for post-op scar minimisation.

 


SURGERY RECOVERY RULE#7: Be sure to Take it easy and don’t try to do TOO much, TOO soon.

  • We recommend that our patients are taking it easy while they recover from surgery, but it’s not always easy with work commitments, young kids and a busy lifestyle.
  • Being mindful of your wounds while you recover is important.
  • Wound healing can easily be set back by a bump or wrong move while lifting the kids or reaching for the stationary cupboard.
  • Explain to your children to be gentle, and do NOT exert yourself lifting, reaching or exercising strenuously for at least a week to 3 or more weeks after surgery, sometimes several months, as you’ll be advised depending on which procedure you chose.
  • Make sure you get your rest – the so called beauty sleep!

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Sleeping and Resting is very important for your recovery after Plastic or Cosmetic Surgery including Liposuction.

  • Need help at home?
  • Does your lifestyle make it difficult to plan for surgery recovery down time? There are excellent options to consider so you can get the surgery you want or need.
  • Many commercial services offer home help and surgery recovery support for plastic or cosmetic surgery patients – please ask by phoning 1800033333 or 0388491444.

Exercise after Cosmetic or Plastic Surgery: When is it safe to resume your gym or exercise routine?

  • Exercise after surgery is essential to your speedy recovery but must be done ONLY when your Surgeon recommends you’re clear to do so.
  • But gentle movements and walking is usually okay after surgery – ASK your Surgeon, though, as this can vary from patient to patient and surgeon to surgeon.
  • Otherwise, if all is going well after surgery, you need to get moving as soon as you can, but very gently – and no lifting, exercising or driving until your Surgeon says its okay!
  • But make sure you go slowly and ease yourself back into it.

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  • Depending on your level of fitness and activity before surgery, you may find moving around is difficult at first.
  • Follow the instructions you have been given that are specific to the surgical procedure you have undergone.
  • If something feels too heavy or painful then listen to your body and take the hint!
  • See your Surgeon if you have pulled your sutures or have any other concerns and remember, DO NOT try to do too much too soon, or you’ll DELAY rather than SPEED UP your recovery.

Sometimes going SLOWER makes RECOVERY go faster – doing too much too soon is a NO NO!


SURGERY RECOVERY RULE #8: STAY CONNECTED AND RECOGNISE WHEN TO SEEK ADVICE – ATTEND ALL REVIEWS

One of the stressful parts of having surgery is knowing how to best manage Surgery Risks and Recovery symptoms.

In other words, knowing what’s normal after cosmetic surgery during recovery periods – and knowing when to call or see your Surgeon or their nursing team to have something evaluated (and if there’s something you or a support person feels is a serious and life-threatening emergency, DO seek urgent medical assistance).

  • Surgery is serious and involves risks. It’s helpful to know what’s normal and what’s not normal during your surgery recovery period.
  • Having a good Surgeon behind you as you recovery is paramount to having a good recovery after plastic surgery – choose your surgeon wisely.
  • Don’t’ have surgery if you’re not prepared to accept the risks, scars, healing down time and potential complications.
  • DO attend all follow ups as recommended by your Surgeon and DO book an urgent review if you’re very concerned – if your Surgeon is in theatre that day, see one of his or her nursing team – if very urgent care is needed then see ’emergency advice’ below (visit ER).

All surgery carries certain risks and complications. There will also be varying TIME FRAMES for Surgery Recovery Periods for different operations.

No two patients will be the same, but there are general surgery recovery time frames and guidelines to help you.

After surgery, you need to carefully pay attention to any symptoms you’ve been alerted MIGHT not be normal recovery processes.

  • Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery patients are given a LIST and other materials indicating what symptoms or signs to watch out for after surgery; as well as how to care for incision lines (surgical wounds) during your recovery time frame (recovery time period) after having breast surgery, tummy tuck surgery, eyelid lift, rhinoplasty or facelift surgery and other cosmetic procedures.

 

 

Your surgeon and nurse coordinator will take you through surgery risks and potential complications associated with your surgery to help you understand what to watch out for.

  • They’ll happily answer any and all questions or concerns you may have so never hesitate to call your Surgeon and/or his or her nursing team if you have a concern.
  • During a consultation, you’ll also be asked to sign a consent form indicating you fully understand the procedure, the associated risks, and potential complications issues.
  • So be sure you DO read and understand – and ask questions – before your surgery.
  • This will definitely be of help to you to ensure a quicker recovery and better healing process.

Be sure you alert your Surgeon to any concerning symptoms or unusual sensations or other issues as advised or recommended.

  • If it is after clinic hours and for any reason, you cannot reach your Surgeon and/or are feeling very unwell, call our after hours number.
  • For emergencies, seek urgent medical attention/visit the emergency room if required.
  • This is rare, of course, but can potentially occur – so just be alert and know what to expect and be sure your post-op support team does as well.

Recommended reading about what to expect after having cosmetic surgery or plastic surgery:

Emotions After Cosmetic Surgery (Tips for Plastic Surgery Recovery)

Download the GUIDE to Recovery

 

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Phone (03) 8849 1444 or Email us at: enquiries@plasticsurgeons.com.au or Book a FREE 15-minute Phone Chat with our Patient Liaison Manager.

 


 

 

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Dr Geoff Barnett - MBBS, FRACS (Plast)
Dr Geoffrey Barnett, FRACS (Plas) is a Melbourne based Specialist Plastic Surgeon who has over 35 years of expertise in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon for Cosmetic Surgery, Plastic Surgery and Body Contouring Surgery after Bariatric Surgery.Qualifications and Memberships: Specialist Plastic Surgeon (FRACS) Member - Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery [FRACS (Plast).The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) is the only professional body recognised by the Australian Medical Council (AMC) and the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) to train Surgeons in Australia and New Zealand.Author BIO page: https://plasticsurgeons.com.au/dr-geoff-barnett/