In my previous post, I began sharing the instructions we give our patients after surgery, specifically instructions for the caretaker in your life and how to take care of your dressings. Continue to read through some of these to get a better idea of what to expect. These are meant to be guidelines for discussion only. Please check with your surgeon on his/her specific instructions to follow.
Activity: Take it easy and pamper yourself for at least two weeks after surgery. Avoid any and all straining and do not lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk. If something hurts at all, stop the activity. If you feel tired, immediately rest. You may go to the bathroom, sit and watch TV, read some books, walk to the kitchen table for breakfast, and so on, but no matter how good you feel, do not clean the house, vacuum, do laundry, pick up a heavy child, rearrange the attic, and so on!
We do not want you to bleed and cause increased postsurgical swelling and bruising. This is the number-one cause of postsurgical problems. Many people do not take the limitation in activity seriously. They end up back in the operating room with a hematoma, an infection, or an open incision. We have found that almost all complications occur in people who do not follow these
recommendations. There is no such thing in plastic surgery as a superhuman “good healer.” How fast you recovered from a previous surgery does not apply to this procedure. You should have no events, dinners, ball games, child events, parties, trips to the mall, or travel planned for two weeks after surgery. No exceptions. Please realize that doing too much too soon will set your healing
back weeks or months, so it is simply not worth it.
Ice packs: Cold or ice packs help to reduce swelling, bruising, and pain. Use crushed ice and put the ice into a Ziploc bag, placed over a cloth. This should help, not hurt. If the ice feels too uncomfortable, don’t use it as often.Diet: If you have any postoperative nausea, carbonated sodas and dry crackers may settle the stomach. If nausea is severe, use the nausea medication that is in your medication kit, as directed on the bottle. If you feel normal, start with liquids and bland foods, and if those are well tolerated, progress to a regular diet. Remember that anesthesia paralyzes your stomach, so you will not digest quickly or feel hungry. This is okay. Listen to your body and do not force yourself. A good rule of thumb is to eat as if you have the flu—bland, easy-to- eat items only.
Read all of the “First 48 Hours” instructions by getting your own copy of my book, “Making the Cut” available for purchase on Amazon.