Recovery from plastic surgery can be daunting and painful. While some discomfort can be expected, sometimes it’s difficult to determine whether your pain is normal, or if there is something more concerning seriously wrong. The road to recovery can be long and tiresome, but being prepared is key. The small, unexpected everyday nuisances will start to add up if you’re not prepared for them. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the eight easy tips to prepare you for your recovery journey. These helpful tidbits of information can be done before your surgery, and some of these take less than a minute to complete.
Review the pre-op information
At VIVIFY Plastic Surgery in Tampa, we want our patients to be as informed about their procedures as possible. Before each surgery, we prepare several documents for patients to review that include information about the type of surgery they’ve elected to undergo, what the recovery process will look like, and the risks of surgery. We also have extensive information on our website about each procedure that we offer at our office. We have an open door policy and encourage open dialogue between patients and staff. Our goal is to make sure all of our patients have their questions answered before undergoing any elective procedure.
Choose your outfit wisely
Comfort is key during plastic surgery recovery. Feeling restricted while also in pain is a recipe for disaster. This is the last thing you should be thinking about after your surgery when you should be relaxing. Choose your clothing for the day of surgery wisely. A patient going in for a breast augmentation should aim to wear a top that doesn’t require lifting her arms over her head to remove or put on. A mommy makeover patient would want to wear comfortable, loose fitting pants in order to prevent rubbing against the new incision at the waistline.
A simple clothing choice can really make a difference in your comfort levels immediately following a procedure.
Make a trip to the supermarket beforehand
You’ll be thanking yourself later for going to the grocery store and stocking up on staples prior to your surgery. Healthy food and drink options to keep inflammation at bay, reading materials, and toiletries should all be pre-purchased before the day of your surgery. Probably the most important item you should take care of is your prescriptions. If the doctor has prescribed any type of pain relievers, nausea medications, or antibiotics beforehand, get these filled BEFORE your plastic surgery recovery. Nothing is worse than laying in bed, reaching for a pain
Open your drinks before going under the needle
So, you’ve gone to the grocery store and stocked up on electrolytes. You’re home relaxing after your surgery, and feeling a little parched. You reach for your bottle of pedialyte, but you realize…you can’t open it. You’re too sore from your surgery and now you’re extremely thirsty. This is one that we never think about, but will pay off in dividends. Loosen the caps of your drinks before your surgery (but not too long before!) and you’ll rest easy and stay hydrated.
Don’t put your phone away
In 2022, most of us are glued to our screens, but when you’re trying to relax after plastic surgery, you may want to put your phone away and close your eyes for a bit. While resting is necessary, don’t put that phone away. Whether you need to contact someone, or someone needs to contact you, having your phone at arms’ length is absolutely imperative. Most doctors will call their patients in order to check-in and answer any questions that might have come up after being discharged. You may need to call the doctor if you feel like you’re having abnormal side-effects after surgery. Whatever the case, make it as easy as possible for yourself to contact the doctor, friends, family, and in the worst case 911 in case of an emergency.
Rest, but not too much
Depending on what type of procedure you’re recovering from, in most cases we want patients to get their blood circulating as soon as possible. This means getting up and walking around as soon as possible after the anesthesia wears off. Even if it’s with assistance. Being immobile for an extended amount of time can cause excessive muscle soreness and potentially bed sores. If you can’t make it out of the bed, try stretching and changing positions often to promote blood flow to the muscles.
Try to manage your pain without opioids
While pain tolerance will vary by patient, try discussing alternative ways to reduce and manage your after your surgery with your doctor. Narcotics can be warranted depending on the operation, however, try reducing the amount of time you take them. Opioids are highly addictive and while they provide much benefit to recovering patients, they should be prescribed and used with extreme caution and care. At VIVIFY plastic surgery, we employ a non-narcotic regimen of medications both before and after surgery which can decrease or eliminate the need for narcotics after surgery. Be sure to ask us about all the ways in which you can make your post-operative recovery pain management optimal.
Be mindful of what you eat
The last thing you want after plastic surgery is an upset stomach. And if you’ve been prescribed medications for post-surgery, you’ll want to be extra mindful of what you eat the day before. Some medications for surgery are helpful to be taken with food rather than on an empty stomach. While some foods may cause diarrhea, some medications can cause constipation. Keeping a stool-softener on hand may be helpful, but nothing is more beneficial than a healthy diet and plenty of fluids.