Healing after your surgery is a process.
Healing is influenced by a number of factors, from genetics to your overall health to your ability to follow the important post-operative instructions.
Even sleep and getting adequate rest can help your healing; so be sure you allow adequate recovery and resting after your procedure. And stay hydrated (drink plenty of water) and eat nutritiously.
Be sure to use your Rapid Recovery (‘Science and Love’) pack as well as adhering to your Surgeon’s post-operative instructions to get the best recovery.
It is also helpful to remember that whilst you have some control over some of your body’s healing processes, there are simply some aspects of healing that you may not have control over.
Patience during your healing period and having a good support team around you whilst you are recovering can go a long way to making your healing journey smoother.
What you can do to help facilitate and optimise your healing after your surgery
A main concern of many patients prior to having any form of surgery is their recovery time.
Particularly patients having plastic surgery worry about scarring and how long their wounds will take to heal.
Recovery time for patients varies greatly depending on the individual and the procedure, but there a several things patients can do before and after surgery to move along their recovery and scar healing.
This is where you can really help!
Following these simple suggestions will move you through the recovery stage quicker and easier.
- Where applicable, wear the post-surgery Bra or garment that has been provided for you day and night.
- 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.
- Be sure to allow enough time for great sleep and rest as you are healing and recovering from surgery
Visit our Downloadable Guides page for more information about Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery options and research in Australia.
Adjust your diet
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, yoghurt 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.
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 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 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.
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
What our Surgical Support Team can help you with to optimise your recovery
Rapid Recovery Packs
Supplementation of essential nutrients is often necessary when a normal diet is lacking. While we strongly encourage a diet that provides you with all the ingredients you need for healing, we have provided you with a range of supplements that can help provide you with nutrients that you may require more of during recovery. Your Rapid Recovery Pack contains the following:
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 wholegrains, 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.
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.
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.
As a patient of Cosmetic Surgery for Women, 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.
Long-term Recovery and Scar Management
After your wound has closed and healed, it can take over 12 months for the scar to completely settle. 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.
Fraxel Treatment (Fraxel Restore)
Part of your Post Operative care at Cosmetic Surgery For Women is a course of 3 Fraxel Laser treatments. Fraxel utilizes a patented fractional technology to target damaged skin, including scars. The laser produces thousands of microscopic treatment zones (MTZ’s) that penetrate deep into the dermis (skin). The areas treated by the MTZ’s stimulate new collagen production and hence promotes the growth of fresh, new and healthy skin in their place. This in turn helps reduce the height shape and colour of scar tissue.
SheScience Specialist Bra Fitting
As a breast surgery patient at Cosmetic Surgery for Women, you will be given a complimentary $100.00 voucher to SheScience in Kew. She Science work with 9 industry leading brands to offer over 30 technical Sports Bra options. Catering for sizes A- J cup and 6-22 band size, SheScience provide the best products available, as well as a comprehensive fitting service and in depth education during your time in store.
As your breast tissue and overlying skin repairs post-surgery, Sports Bras are recommended as an everyday wear option, as well as when you return to activity.
Their range includes lower impact Sports Bras which may be more appropriate for everyday use, and high impact Sports Bras which will be more suitable for when you return to exercise.
Take it easy
We try to ensure 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.
Wound healing can easily be set back by a bump or wrong move while lifting the kids or reaching for the stationary cupboard. Being mindful of your wounds while you recover is important. Explain to your children to be gentle, and don’t exert yourself lifting, reaching or exercising strenuously for around a week after surgery, depending on the procedure. And make sure you get your beauty sleep! Rest is very important for your recovery.
Exercise after surgery is essential to your speedy recovery. You need to get moving as soon as you can, but make sure you slowly ease yourself back into it. 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!
You might also ask your Surgeon if the Healite II might be of assistance during your healing journey. It is an FDA approved light treatment designed to:
- Increase blood flow to tissue (better circulation for healing)
- Helps reduce muscle and joint pain
- Non-invasive technology
- Safe and effective for all skin types
Learn more by calling one of our Patient Care Coordinators or booking a consultation with one of our Leading Specialist Surgeons.