When Dr. Paul Pin sees patients for an initial consultation, one of their first questions is how long it will take to recover from cosmetic surgery. Patients are concerned about the amount of time that they may need to take off from work, school, or taking care of their children. The time needed for recovery will vary, depending on the type of surgery, the amount of work the patient wants done, as well as how suitable a candidate the patient may be for the particular surgery in which they are interested. Regardless, there are some things that all of Dr. Pin’s patients can do to help speed their recovery time following cosmetic surgery, but without putting their health or the final results from their procedure at risk.
Reducing Swelling and Bruising
Bruising and swelling are part of the body’s natural healing response any time that the skin is cut open. The body is attempting to isolate that area so that infection cannot move elsewhere, The amount of bruising and swelling you will have following cosmetic surgery will vary, depending on the extent of the procedure. For example, liposuction is not as invasive as a tummy tuck, so the amount and duration of bruising and swelling will be less.
Here are some tips that Dr. Pin suggests to reduce your bruising and swelling after surgery:
- You may be given a compression garment made of tightly woven elastic fabric following surgery. Follow Dr. Pin’s instructions for wearing it
- Once your incisions have healed over, you can apply cold gel packs or cold compresses over the incision sites
- The herbal gel preparation Arnica montanamay also help reduce bruising and swelling. This should also only be used once your incisions have fully healed over.
Stop Tobacco and Alcohol Use
Dr. Pin recommends stopping all use of tobacco products and alcohol starting at least three weeks prior to surgery. Both tobacco and alcohol can put you at an increased risk for excessive bleeding both during and after surgery. As a result, it may take longer than normal for your incisions to properly heal, they may not heal as well, and you may be left with excessive scarring. If you have been considering stopping smoking or cutting back on your use of alcohol, your upcoming surgery would be an optimal time to start.
You may think that recovery from your surgery means spending lots of time in bed, but in fact, you should be doing the opposite. Dr. Pin will be encouraging you to move around, even on the day after your surgery. Doing so will stimulate your circulation and keep blood and fluids from pooling in your extremities, which can lead to excess swelling, particularly in the ankles. Start off slowly with short walks to and from the bathroom, and gradually work your way up.
Of course, wanting to shorten your recovery time should not come at the expense of giving your body the time it needs to heal. Even though cosmetic surgery is not medically necessary, it should be taken just as seriously. By following Dr. Pin’s advice to help move your recovery along faster, yet not overdoing it, you will see better final results when everything is done.