Honor The Recovery
When it comes to recovering after facial surgery, the most important factor is time. Time is the most precious commodity and none of us can make up for any time that its lost. When everyone is leading busy lifestyles juggling work, home, family, is more than natural that patients are concerned with the recovery time.
Often, the biggest issue with scheduling plastic surgery is finding the time to recover. This is natural and understandable as we all live busy lives. It’s hard to find enough time off of work to make a full recovery, and, as a result, we may try to cut down the time we need in order to recover.
If there was just one cardinal rule about surgery in general, it would have to be “Honor The Recovery”. Be patient. Those who do that will find the process a lot easier. Allow yourself to heal, to be unproductive for a few days. It will pay off.
Setting Up Your Support System
You are getting ready to have plastic surgery! This is a very exciting time! I know that this can be nerve wrecking, but setting up your support system is a great way to decrease the stress around this time.
A positive attitude and surrounding yourself with positive people will go a very long way to ensure a smooth recovery period. I do have some suggestions that will hopefully help you reduce the anxiety around your procedure.
First, we want you know that we are here for you. One of the biggest causes of anxiety is the fear of the unknown. Reach out to us with questions or concerns you may have. We are here to help you in any way we can – please call or email. There is no such thing as a silly or stupid question.
Most patients are very independent and are used to being the ones supporting others rather than being the ones receiving it. So, when you are planning for your surgery, it can be uncomfortable to ask for help. Don’t be shy – you will need some help and it is perfectly ok to ask for it. Sometimes you will need someone to help you directly or will need someone to help you with things you were supposed to do such caring for children or elderly parents.
If possible, make sure you have a calm and positive person as your caregiver. You know who they are – the people in your life that always lift your spirits.
Who Will Be Your Ride?
You will need someone to pick you up from the surgery center. This cannot be a taxi or car service – this is a matter of safety and the surgery center will not release you to a taxi driver. This person needs to be a responsible adult – spouse, significant other, family member, friend. Also, you will likely need someone to drive you to the office, at least for the first appointment during the first week. Remember you are not allowed to drive while taking pain medication.
If you need help with any of this, please let us know. We can help find a home health service to help you for the first few days or for however long you need. Just ask us.
Preparing Your Nest
There are many things you can do now to make your home more recovery-friendly. All these suggestions are from previous patients, so hopefully you’ll find some good ideas. You may not need all of these immediately, but when your caregiver leaves and you’re on your own, you’ll be glad you have them.
Move a table next to your bed or recliner and put all the things you need there – iPad, phone charger, remote control, magazines, books, water, snacks, etc.
Have lots of pillows and throw blankets near your bed or recliner.
Make sure you have all the important phone numbers at hand: our office number (you can always call us at 512-339-1661), your caregiver’s number and phone number of people who cheer you up.
Prepare the recovery clothes. Have easy access to clothes that you will be wearing – remember that after surgery it’s recommended you use clothes that you don’t have to pull through your head. Use something that like a button-downs or that zippers in front of you. Also don’t wear anything super nice as the ointment tends to get on your clothes. Focus on comfort!
Have your meals and snacks ready. Often times you and your caregiver will not feel like cooking for the first few days after your surgery. Make sure you have prepared some meals or have frozen meals ready to go. Also make sure you have some power bars, fruits, nuts, protein shakes, peanut butter around as well. These will come in handy for a quick snack in between meals.
Have your entertainment ready. This is the time to stock on magazines, books and get a playlist ready on your Netflix or Prime. Please pick things that light, fun and will cheer you up. It’s a perfect excuse to binge- watch the shows you’ve been wanting to see.
Start thinking about your pets. Ok, this is the time when the dogs or cats may not be your best friend. Pets like to jump to greet you, sleep in your bed and they are easy to trip over. In addition, they may need to be walked or let outside. If you have pets, take them into consideration after your surgery.
Make sure the pets don’t sleep in your bed for the first 2 weeks and make sure you have clean sheets when you come home from surgery.
Absolutely No Smoking
It’s no secret that smoking is bad for you. Most people understand that smoking can hinder the recovery after surgery, but few people know that smoking or the use of nicotine in any way can be a disaster when it comes to plastic surgery. This is true for any form of nicotine.
Nicotine interferes with the blood circulation on the skin. During the healing process, we are counting on a good blood supply to skin so the wound can heal well with the smallest amount of scar tissue possible. It also places you at higher risk of complication when receiving anesthesia.
Six weeks before surgery – Stop all nicotine products including cigarettes and electronic cigarettes (vaping), pipe tobacco, chew, gum or “the patch.” The importance of this abstinence cannot be overemphasized.
THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT FOR YOUR FINAL RESULT.
We definitely don’t want you to have any problems healing after your surgery. We can’t emphasize this enough. You are now a non-smoker (and non-nicotine user)!!
Don't Get Pregnant
This may seem obvious if you’re planning to have surgery, but it has happened in the past. If you are a woman who could conceivably get pregnant, it is recommended that you take a pregnancy test before your surgery.
Once in a while, one of this comes back positive resulting in our patients getting the shock of their lives (“Wait, I’m what?!?”). It happens.
Bottom line, if you are of a childbearing age and sexually active, be sure to use effective birth control.
Two Weeks Before Your Surgery –
Stop Taking These Over-the-counter Medications & Drinking Alcoholic Beverages
There are several over-the-counter medications, multivitamins and supplements that you should stop taking 2 weeks prior to surgery. A lot of these will have substances that “thin the blood” and increase oozing, swelling or raise your blood pressure after surgery.
If you have some pain or a headache, please take Tylenol. If you feel you need anything else in addition to Tylenol before surgery, let us know.
Do not take:
- Aspirin (if your doctor recommended it, please let us know)
- Vitamin E
- Ginkgo Biloba
St Johs Wort • Valerian Root
Don’t Drink Alcohol for 2 weeks prior to surgery and 1 week after surgery. Alcohol can also increase oozing, swelling or raise your blood pressure before and after surgery.
Stop using any Retin-A/Retinol product 2 weeks prior to surgery. We will let you know when to resume.
Make sure to pick up all your prescriptions a few days before your surgery. Your prescriptions should have been called to your pharmacy at the time of your Pre-operative appointment. Review all of them, make sure you don’t have any allergies to them and that you understand how and when to take them.
Take a look at ‘Your Shopping List’ and pick up the items you need while you are the pharmacy.
The Day Before Your Surgery
Confirm your arrival time at the Ambulatory Surgery Center with the caregiver that is taking you there.
Make sure you have the correct address for the surgery center and have a good estimate of how long it will take you to get to there.
Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before surgery. If you take any medicines in the morning, please take it with a small sip of water.
Pack your bags! Make sure you have your driver’s license and insurance card (if you have one/need one). Make sure you have all the prescriptions that were sent for you.
Showering Instructions – The Day Before Your Surgery. Because skin is not sterile, we need to be sure that your skin is as clean as possible. Your skin will be prepared with antiseptic before your surgery, but the antiseptic can work better if your skin is already clean.
To clean your skin before surgery, we want you to shower the day/evening before your surgery. Gently scrub your body with soap and wash your hair with shampoo. Pay special attention to your neck, behind the ears, under arms, feet, groin and skin fold regions. Leave soap on skin for 1-2 minutes to allow the soap to kill the bacteria. Rinse well after washing. Avoid getting any soap in your eyes and mouth. On your face, you can use a face wash (Cetaphil or another Face Wash you normally use) – don’t use soap since it tends to dry your skin.
Do not use lotion, cream, powder or perfume after washing. Wear clean pajamas and clean clothes on your way to the surgery center.
The Day Of Surgery
If you have not done so the evening before, you may shower and thoroughly shampoo the morning of surgery. If you did shower the night before but would like to take another shower, feel free to do so.
Do not wear any makeup (eye shadow, base, mascara and lipstick), hair sprays or gels, or dark nail polish. You may leave acrylic nails on.
Do not wear jewelry of any sort or bring valuables to surgery.
Do not wear contact lenses on the day of surgery. If you wear dentures, please leave them on.
Please wear comfortable underwear the morning of surgery. Use loose fitting clothing and avoid any clothes that need to be pulled over your head. Use a button-down shirt or something with a zipper. Bring the medications we have prescribed for you on the day of surgery. Read all the medication labels preoperatively and call the office if you are allergic to any medicine. Do not take that medicine.
Go to the Ambulatory Surgery Center at the time you were told. Arrange with your caregiver to drive you to and from the surgery center and stay with you for the first 24 hours after surgery (by law you will need a responsible adult to stay with you for 24hrs after anesthesia). You may not drive while you are taking pain medications. You may not use any taxi, ridesharing or car service during the first 24hrs after surgery.
The Emotional Rollercoaster
Please share this with your caregiver.
Ready or not, your emotions will probably get out of control while you are recovering after surgery. This can be a kiddy ride or a full-fledged Six Flags Kingda Ka roller-coaster. It’s better for you and your caregiver to be aware of this and understand that this might be coming and may make things a bit rocky for a few days. Always nice to be prepared and, if for any reason, you skip this process, it would be a nice surprise.
Surgery of all kinds affects each person’s emotions differently. A common reaction at first is to be excited but uncomfortable for the first couple of days. Then, out of nowhere, you’re down in the dumps because you are not feeling the way you want. It usually happens day 2 to 5 after surgery, but it can actually hit you anytime. You may feel guilty and sad, second-guessing yourself and asking if this was the right decision and feeling stupid for putting yourself into this. Even if you are normally an emotional rock, you can find yourself crying for no good reason. And the fact that you “lost your grip” may put you further down. This is perfectly normal. Allow yourself some room to feel this way...
Procedures with more swelling and bruising on the face tend to have a more emotionally rocky recovery time. You don’t feel great and on top of that when you look in the mirror you don’t look great either. Don’t despair. The swelling will resolve. The bruising will resolve. You will go back normal. Usually at some point between 5 and 10 days you start feeling better as start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
Remember: This is perfectly normal. Cut yourself a little slack.