The majority of patients in our practice are active both professionally and socially. Therefore, the convalescence, or recovery period, after cosmetic surgery is important.
Some of the more frequently asked questions are:
- How will I look in one, two, or three weeks?
- When can I return to work or resume my social life?
- How many weeks until I look good enough to attend a social event?
WHAT OHN I EXPECT AFTER SURGERY?
All surgery involves a “controlled injury” on the part of the body being operated on. Most operations require one to two weeks of “downtime”; however, in the rare instance that there is a complication, socializing or going back to work may be delayed. Each procedure has different postoperative implications. Following are some of the more common plastic surgery procedures and postoperative results you can expect:
NOSE SURGERY (RHINOPLASTY)
After rhinoplasty there is usually minor swelling around the nose and occasional bruising around eyes. A cast or tape is usually worn on the nose. Typically, you can expect to look presentable in two weeks. At that time, all dressings are usually removed and swelling should have subsided to the point where it will not attract attention. It is important to note that the tissues of the nose constantly shrink and the final results do not show for 6-12 months.
FACE, FOREHEAD, AND EYELID LINES
The facelift, brow lift, and blepharoplasty- are the most common facial rejuvenation surgical procedures. They are often done in combination. As a rule of thumb, I like to tell patients having a face lift that they will need three weeks to recover enough so that they can return to their usual social and business activities. They will probably need make-up and hairstyling to cover minor bruising and swelling that may still be present. To look presentable after eyelid surgery can take anywhere from one to three weeks. If you have eyelid surgery alone, you can disguise the aftereffects of the surgery with tinted glasses and return to complete activities in 10 days. The recovery period after forehead-lifting is basically the same as for the brow lift; though I usually tell men that they may need a little more time to look presentable, since women can wear long hairstyles or use make-up to hide any bruising or swelling. Men having face-lifts cangrow a beard before the surgery if they wish to detract attention from the aftereffects of the surgery .
The most commonly performed procedure done on men in our practice is the follicular unit hair-graft transplant. If a patient has a limited amount of baldness and can wear a hairstyle that covers the bald area to be hair transplanted, he can look quite good in one to three days after surgery. Those men with extensive baldness and little hair to comb over the transplanted area can use a hat during the approximately 2-3 week time period it takes for healing. All patients will develop small crusts after their hair transplant that will fall out after approximately 2 weeks. Once these fall out, the transplanted area will be nearly back to normal. It should be emphasized that hairs, when they are transplanted, take an average of three months before new growth appears above the surface of the skin, with some taking as long as nine months. Once the transplanted hair grows long enough to partially cover the balding area, it can be used to disguise the postoperative effects of later transplant sessions. Therefore, patients undergoing hair-restoration surgery are encouraged to grow their hair to the greatest length compatible with acceptable grooming. Those patients undergoing hair-flap surgery usually can go to work one to two days after the preliminary procedures, but need one to two weeks to fully recover, as there may be some forehead swelling. If there is no forehead swelling after the first couple of days and your hair is long enough to hide any aftereffects, you can go out in less than one week without feeling self-conscious about the surgery.
LASER SKIN RESURFACING
Although the skin may be red after laser skin resurfacing or even darker in color for up to six months, most patients resume activities within 10 to 14 days with the aid of make-up.
Liposuction done for the cheeks and neck usually involves a facial dressing worn for a minimum of four days. After that time, the dressing is worn only at night and normal activities can be resumed during the day.
To help lessen bruising after surgery, avoid aspirin, vitamin E, and ibuprofen-like products. We also recommend taking Arnica Montana both before and after surgery to decrease bruising and swelling. If you need pain medicine, take Tylenol (acetominophen). Take only prescribed medications and avoid any vitamins or homeopathic herbs.
It should be noted that if you are having a face-lift, forehead-lift, or hair transplant, you should not have your hair cut right before surgery. Wait for two to three weeks after the procedure so that your hair can be styled to best cover any aftereffects of surgery.
Overall, it is best to give yourself plenty of time to recover from surgery. Please understand that healing varies with each person and that these descriptions are only an overview of post operative situations. I also recommend having people who are close to you who know about your surgery be available for support. And of course, my staff and I are always available to see you and answer any of your questions during the post-operative period.