After surgery, Dr. Robert Graper and Dr. Garrett Harper’s patients are understandably excited to resume their normal activities with a rejuvenated appearance. Our Charlotte plastic surgeons receive many questions about what patients can do to expedite their healing. Everyone heals at their own pace, and the healing process varies based on the type of surgery performed. However, there are a few things that patients can do to increase their odds of a swift and successful recovery.
Follow Our Instructions to the Letter
Nothing affects a patient’s recovery like how well they listen to our instructions. If one of our guidelines regarding post-op medicine or incision care doesn’t make sense, we ask our patients to call our office. Someone is always available to answer questions or pass them along to our surgeons if necessary.
Do Not Smoke
Smoking (and vaping with nicotine) can delay the recovery process and cause adverse complications. Nicotine constricts the blood vessels and restricts blood flow to the healing tissues; it can also raise the risk of blood clots. This can result in wounds not healing properly, and other serious complications that affect the overall outcomes of surgery.
Take Medication as Prescribed
Patients receive prescriptions for pain medication accompanied by instructions for when to take it and how much. Ideally, they should control the pain by staying ahead of it and taking pills as prescribed. It’s riskier to avoid taking the pain pills — pain can cause blood pressure to increase and possibly cause bruising to worsen, delaying recovery.
The medications NOT to take are also important. We will provide a list of over-the-counter medications, vitamins and supplements that can affect blood clotting, including aspirin and vitamin E. We ask our patients to avoid taking all of these medications until we clear them to do so.
Increase Physical Activity Slowly
During the first day or two after surgery, patients can expect to mostly stay in bed or on the couch resting. However, as soon as they are up to it, we encourage patients to take a short walk around the house or outside. They should not push it if something hurts or strains. Gentle movement can help the body heal and possibly reduce pain. It can also stave off constipation, a common side effect of pain pills.
We tell patients to gradually build up the length and speed of the walks, and avoid all strenuous exercise and heavy lifting until we give them the go-ahead.
Wear Compression Garments
Compression garments put gentle pressure on the healing tissues to reduce swelling and bruising. They also help prevent skin wrinkling and promote skin retraction. Depending on the type of surgery that is performed, a patient may be asked to wear the compression garment for up to eight weeks.
Questions? Call Graper Cosmetic Surgery
If you have a question related to plastic surgery recovery, Dr. Graper and Dr. Harper invite you to contact our practice. Call or email us today.