Plastic surgery is a taxing procedure that requires the patient to recuperate properly, taking appropriate precautions and ample rest. The phase after a plastic surgery is performed is as important as the surgery itself because it determines the final outcome of the entire procedure. Hence, proper measures have to be taken in order to ensure that the wounds heal well, without a scar. It is also crucial that the medicines prescribed are taken on time and physical activities are kept minimum. A doctor should be consulted before engaging in any new form of physical activity.
1. Dealing with the pain
Initially, the patient might experience various degrees of pain depending upon the severity of the surgery. These pains are temporary in nature and can be relieved with the help of anti–inflammatory drugs or other medications as prescribed by the surgeon. The medications may cause some amount of drowsiness, associated with any anti–inflammatory drug, which is absolutely normal. Driving vehicles is strongly advised against while on anti–inflammatory drugs. It would be helpful to have someone to do the tasks that require mental effort on behalf of the patient. If drugs are prohibited, cold compresses can be used to reduce the pain of the area that has been operated upon. These have proved effective in alleviating pain up to a certain extent. Taking proper rest is of extreme importance and sleeping may also help alleviate pain up to a certain degree.
2. Avoiding infection
Plastic surgery requires certain incisions to be made in order to perform the surgery, which poses a potential risk of infection in the incision wounds. It is extremely important that infections are avoided so that the wounds heal well. Risk of infections can be kept at bay by cleaning the wounds with an effective disinfectant and bandaging the area at regular intervals. The presence of a family member, friend or nurse would be beneficial for the patient as self-cleaning and bandaging of the wound would prove to be difficult. Showering may be advised against due to the potential dangers of infection caused due to water. Body wipes can be an effective alternative. Antibiotics may also be prescribed by the doctor in order to avoid infections.
3. Healing of the wound
Considering that plastic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure, incision wounds are inevitable. There may be swelling and bruising associated with the wound which is not a cause of worry. It is a natural reaction of the body towards any form of wounds that are inflicted upon its surface. However, it is extremely important that the wounds heal completely and leave behind the most minimum of scars as possible. It is crucial to understand that the wounds take considerable time to heal and require proper care and patience before and after the removal of sutures. Regular application of the ointments and timely intake of the medications prescribed will ensure that wounds are healed completely. Vitamin-E ointments can have better healing effects. The patient is advised to take proper rest as the lesser the wound is teased the better it heals.
4. Avoiding physical activity
Plastic surgery like any other surgical procedure, is a taxing one and drains the body of its energy rendering it weak for the time-being. It is hence advisable, that till the process of recovery is completed, the patient takes proper rest and avoids any form of physical exertion as much as possible. Physical activity of any form and intensity can also interfere with the healing process and thus, it is best avoided. Excessive physical activity may also result in rupturing of the wounds which may lead to complications necessitating an immediate surgery. Before beginning any new activity after the surgery, the patient is advised to consult the doctor. For additional comfort and in order to aid the process of healing, it is advised that the operated area is kept at proper elevation. Moving the part of the body that has been operated upon is best avoided as it may lead to the rupturing of the sutures leading to further complications. Certain surgeries may regulate particular exercises and only then should be done.
5. Diet and nutrition
A liquid diet is advised for the first few days, though it may vary depending upon the nature of the surgery. Some procedures require the patient to be on a liquid diet for an extended period of time. Other patients can start solid food intake slowly, after consulting their doctor. Chewing gum is prohibited. Smoking, drinking or using any other form of intoxication is strictly prohibited as it not only hinders the healing process but may also sap the body of its already diminished energy. Herbal teas and concoctions may also be prohibited for certain procedures. Better intake of protein in the diet will aid the process of healing as proteins are the building blocks and help repair the wear and tear of the body. A well-balanced diet comprising of products that are easy to digest and nourishing might assist in a speedier recovery.
6. Proper follow-ups with the doctor
It is important to visit the doctor at regular intervals. The first check-up after the surgery is usually to assess whether the part that has been operated upon is healing as desired. The second check-up will be scheduled as necessary for the removal of the sutures after the wounds have properly healed. Follow-ups are a good way to ensure that the operating surgeon is kept updated on the healing or any other complications that may have developed. The Follow-up procedure is also important considering the changes that might be required to be made in the overall diet and lifestyle of the patient such that full recovery is possible. The follow-up will be scheduled taking in account the attention needed by the patient post surgery. Some patients may require more frequent visits to the doctor while others will have lesser check-ups scheduled.
7. Going back to work
Post the surgery, bed rest is inevitable and taking into account this fact it is important that the workplace is informed in advance and a leave is procured. Once the process of healing is complete the patient can resume work, but carefully. It is necessary to realize that any form of plastic surgery brings about a change in the appearance of the targeted physical aspect. It is hence, important to prepare in advance for this sudden change. Clothes and accessories that complement your new look will not only elicit positive responses from co-workers but also make you more confident about the change. Resuming work after surgery will be taxing as the pending workload can have its toll. However, at this time is important that a time is scheduled for follow-ups with the surgeon. This will ensure that the scar is well treated and leaves minimum possible scar. It is also a necessary aspect as the surgeon will be able to assess whether the surgery has achieved the desired results and if not then what should be the best step after that.
Self-medications for any form of discomfort after the surgery is strictly advised against. The process of self-medicating may hinder with the process of healing and might cause irreversible complications. Well meaning suggestions of family and friends referring some form of medication that worked for them, should be dealt with tactfully. Medicines that help one might not help the other. Pain alleviating medicines or medicines containing a particular component that interferes with the healing procedure may also be prohibited for certain patients. Hence, it is crucial to consult a doctor before taking any medicine. Also, medicines that were taken prior to surgery should be taken only after expert consultation.
9. Support system of family, friends and professionals
The importance of a good support system should never be under-estimated. Post-surgery the patient may go through depression and mood-swings which can prove to have irreparable effects on the psyche. After the plastic surgery is performed, the body goes through various changes before looking in the desired manner. During this phase it extremely vital to have the moral support of caring people, who can reassure the patient that the changes are a part of the natural process of healing. A group of family, friends and health professionals can tend to the patient and their various needs to ensure speedy recovery.
It is important that after the plastic surgery is performed, the aforementioned precautions are followed by the patient, with precision. The consulting doctor’s advice should be sought for even the minutest details of the post-operative care. Proper follow-ups with the consulting doctor are scheduled regularly and religiously adhered. A good diet comprising of all the food groups is followed which nourishes the body as well as heals it from within. The wound is properly tended to ensure that the scarring is kept at minimum and risk of infections should be removed by proper cleaning of the affected area. Prescribed medications are taken at the times advised and self medication is refrained from.