After Surgery Instructions
what you need to do after your procedure for optimum recovery
Post Face and Eye Surgery Instruction
Ice your face to decrease immediate facelift swelling
It is extremely important for you to apply ice to your face for the first three days after your facial surgery. This will help reduce any bruising or swelling you may have.
Apply ice to your face for 15 to 20 minutes every 4 to 6 hours for the first 3 days of your procedure. You can use a ice pack or gel pack wrapped in a soft cloth or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a soft cloth.
Soaking facial incisions
On the fourth day after your facelift or eyelid surgery, apply a wet warm cloth to your facial incisions. These warm soaks should be applied for 15 to 20 minutes every 3 to 4 hours for the subsequent 2 to 3 days (days 4 to 6 post-surgery).
Sleeping position after your face surgery
Sleep on your back with your head elevated with 2 to 3 pillows for the first 3 to 4 nights after your surgery. Rest is essential to the healing process so you should ensure you are comfortable enough to sleep while keeping the head elevated above the heart. Often people choose to sleep in a recliner to help them maintain a comfortable position while keep their head elevated. This will help reduce swelling and puffiness.
Using an elastic wrap after your facelift
If you go home with a facial wrap in place after your surgery, you must wear it for at least 24 hours after your surgery. You may only take it off to eat or shower and then must put it back on immediately.
If your facelift included liposuction or a neck lift, you should wear the elastic wrap for at least 3 days. On the fourth day after your surgery you can transition to wearing the wrap only at night while sleeping. You should wear this wrap at night for at least one week.
Showering after a facelift
You may shower 2 days after your facelift or eyelid surgery. Wash your hair with gentle, baby shampoo.
Cleaning your facelift incisions
Clean your incisions 2 times each day using a mixture of half hydrogen peroxide and half warm water. After cleaning your incision, apply an antibiotic ointment such as Bacitracin. It is important to keep your facial sutures moist. Apply Bacitracin every 4 to 5 hours for this purpose. You should maintain this cleaning schedule for 7 days.
Eye surgery incision care
If you have incisions over or under your eyes, use warm water to clean them. Do NOT use hydrogen peroxide. After cleaning, apply Lacri-Lube ointment to the affected areas. The incisions should be shiny after applying ointment. If they are not, you need more ointment. At night, you should apply Lacri-Lube directly to your eyes to keep them moist. Simply apply a thin line of Lacri-Lube along your lower lid, starting from the inner eye and moving outward. When you blink, the ointment will cover your eye and keep them moist. This will make your vision slightly blurry.
Diet and nutrition after your facelift
There are no specific dietary restrictions after getting a facelift. We do recommend having a light meal after your procedure. Good nutrition and healthy foods will aid in the healing process. It is also essential that you drink plenty of water and other fluids to stay hydrated.
Drainage and bleeding after your facelift
A small amount of bleeding is normal during the 4 to 5 hour period after your procedure. This could last up to 24 hours. Some people will have more drainage than others, however excessive bleeding is not normal.
If you experience bleeding from your incisions, apply gauze with a light pressure to the area using 2 to 3 fingers. If this does not stop the bleeding, call Dr. Simoni or go to the nearest emergency room.
Medications to take after your facelift
You may take pain medications as needed to control your pain and discomfort but do NOT use aspirin products. Extra Strength Tylenol is okay. You may also take sleeping medications as needed. If you are not prescribed a sleeping medication, you can take over-the-counter Benadryl.
Take your antibiotics as directed and be sure to finish the full dose prescribed.
Medications should be taken with food to help reduce stomach upset.
The worst day for swelling is usually the second or third day after your surgery. One side of your face may swell more than the other side of your face and create a distorted appearance. This is not permanent and is very normal. Some time is needed for the healing process to occur before you experience your final results.
If you are sedated during your procedure or take prescription pain medication prior to your procedure, do NOT drive, operate machinery or make important decisions for at least 24 hours. These medications may impair your judgment and can cause dizziness that will interfere with your motor skills.
Essential advice for your face surgery recovery
- It is essential to following the directions below:
- Do not exert yourself. Do not bend over or lift heavy objects that weigh more than 25 pounds.
- Do not take aspirin or vitamin E until after your sutures are removed
- Wait at least 48 hours to shower or wash your hair after your surgery. Do not use soap on your incision lines.
- If you have an eye procedure, you may wear contacts 7 days after your surgery or as instructed by Dr. Simoni.
- You should expect to be drowsy after your nose surgery as you will be on medication for your comfort. You will doze on and off throughout the evening following your surgery so it is important to make yourself comfortable as soon as you get home. The drowsiness will disappear overnight.The day following surgery you may still feel tired, but it is okay to go ahead and resume your normal routine as much as possible. Your energy will return faster if you resume normal activity soon after your surgery.
- It is not unusual to experience nausea after your rhinoplasty. If this happens, just try to relax and rest. Drink clear liquids and avoid eating heavy foods. Nausea normally dissipates 6 to 8 hours following nose surgery.
- You may feel stiff the morning after your nose surgery. It is okay to move around without worrying about undoing the doctor’s work. Dr. Simoni carefully reinforces all incision areas so that they are protected against normal motions, but you should be sure to avoid strenuous athletic activity.
- Check in with Dr. Simoni’s office within 24 hours of your return home. We want to ensure you are comfortable and are confirmed for a follow-up appointment.
- You will be given a prescription for pain medication to manage any discomfort after your rhinoplasty. We recommend taking one pill with a small snack before going to bed on the night after your surgery is performed. We also advise taking another pill the morning after your surgery as you may feel uncomfortable and stiff as you move around. If you have any stomach upset from these pain pills, you can switch to Extra Strength Tylenol. Most patients can fully transition to Tylenol instead of prescribed pain medication on the day after their procedure. Pain medication is rarely needed more than 3 to 4 days after surgery.
- Infection following any type of plastic surgery is very rare. Antibiotics are administered via IV immediately prior to nose surgery. If an infection were present, it would not be apparent for several days following surgery. If you notice significantly increased swelling or redness along with tenderness or fever at any time, call Dr. Simon’s office so that we can review your condition. It is not uncommon for patients to experience temperatures of 101°F. If you temperature elevates to 102°F, call Dr. Simoni’s office.
- Take all prescribed medication as directed on the label.
- You should expect to experience more swelling when you wake up the day after your nose surgery. If you can comfortably sleep on two pillows, doing this may help reduce swelling. It is more important that you sleep well, however, so sleep on one pillow if you need to. The swelling will subside in 48 to 72 hours.
- Keep the tape on your nose as dry as possible. It will be removed in an office visit 5 to 7 days after your surgery.
- It is normal to experience drainage from your nose for the first 48 to 72 hours. This will most likely be tinged with blood. Typically the drainage decreases significantly after 24 to 36 hours and turns clear. Your nose will feel stuffy and congested for one to two weeks while the lining of your nose heals. Do not blow your nose.
- Keep your nostrils clean using cotton swabs dipped in hydrogen peroxide. Frequent cleanings should be expected the first 2 to 3 days with less frequent cleanings as you continue to heal. Extend the cotton swab inside the nose only as far as the cotton tip.
- Do not forcefully blow your nose for the first 5 days after rhinoplasty. If you have also had a septoplasty, this time period should be extended to 10 days. Forcefully blowing your nose may cause significant bleeding. You should also take care to avoid lifting heavy objects during the first 10 days following surgery because extra strain can cause bleeding as well.
- If you must wear glasses after your rhinoplasty, you can tape them to your forehead with a small loop of tape that is passed around the nose piece. Do not allow glasses to rest on your nose for the first 10 days following surgery. Also keep in mind that your glasses may require adjustment for proper fit following your nose surgery as your nasal bones have been shifted. When you return to wearing glasses you may notice that the indentations of the glasses on your skin are more obvious, which will become less conspicuous as the swelling from your nose surgery continues to go down.
- You will notice more bruising on the day after your surgery. This bruising will start to go away in about 3 days when the swelling will also go down significantly. Swelling resolves at different rates for different people. The tape will be removed from your nose in 5 to 7 days and the swelling will have decreased to the point where you will be able to go out in public without concern.Nearly all of the significant swelling with have reduced in 2 to 3 weeks. Areas with thicker skin, such as the nasal tip will improve in appearance and definition over a period of several months. After the first 3 weeks, changes tend to be slight and gradual, so you may not notice them immediately.
- It is important to keep in mind that swelling will not be even on both sides of the nose, even if we have performed the exact same procedures on each side. Any differences in swelling or bruising will reduce and become symmetrical after a period of weeks.
- The tip of your nose will be numb for the first few weeks following rhinoplasty. This is a normal effect of nose surgery. The skin nerves will repair themselves and sensation will return after several months.
- Aerobic exercise or any activity which elevates your pulse above 90 should be avoided for at least 3 weeks in order to avoid increasing blood pressure and causing unnecessary bleeding. You may resume activity very gradually after 2 to 3 weeks. Avoid contact sports for at least 4 to 6 weeks after surgery. Any strong blows to the nose could rearrange the nasal bones and disrupt the results of the rhinoplasty. Moderate blows and bumps to the nose usually will not be a problem.
- When the external shape and appearance of your nose is changed through rhinoplasty, it may also affect the pattern of air flowing through the nose. Even if these changes are to improve air flow and relieve airway obstruction, you may notice a difference in the way air feels when breathing through the nose. Optimum air flow will not be achieved until 2 to 3 weeks after the surgery, and you will adjust to the new feel of the air flow until it feels natural to you.
- Avoid antihistamine nasal sprays while your nose is healing.
You should make arrangements for someone else to drive you home as you will not be able to do so following your liposuction surgery. You should have a responsible adult to take care of you on the day of your surgery.
If you have had liposuction performed only with local anesthesia, you may return to your normal diet. Drink adequate amounts of juice or water to stay hydrated. Do not drink alcoholic beverages 48 hours prior to surgery and 48 hours after surgery.
Rest in a quiet environment is recommended after surgery. You may take a short walk the evening of your surgery if you would like. Do no operate large machinery or drive for the first 18 hours after surgery. Avoid making important decisions for at least 24 hours as the strain of the procedure and the medication can impair your judgment.
The day after your surgery you should feel well enough to engage in light physical activity and drive your car.
You may carefully resume physical activity and exercise 2 to 4 days after surgery. It is recommend that you begin with just 25% of your normal workout and then increase your daily activity as you feel comfortable doing so.
Most people will be capable of returning to a desk job one to two days after surgery, though you should expect to be sore and tired for several days.
Elastic Compression Garments
HK post-op garments are designed specifically for compression following tumescent liposuction. Two HK overall garments are worn after tumescent liposuction of the hips or thighs. One HK torso garment with adjustable elastic binders is used after tumescent liposuction of the back, flanks, waist, hips, abdomen or breasts.
These garments are specifically designed to be used with super absorbent pads and to provide firm compression that allows for maximum drainage of anesthetic solution.
The day after surgery, post-op garments should be removed daily to allow you to shower and wash the garments.
Two overall garments or one torso garment plus binders should be worn day and night until 24 hours after the time when all drainage has completely stopped. It is normal to have drainage for several days but discontinuing the use of the garments and binders too early may result in extended drainage periods. Some patients, especially those who have had a large amount of liposuction, will experience drainage for more than a week. Usually patients will need to wear compression garments for 3 to 6 days.
Many patients decided to wear garments even after the drainage has stopped because of the additional comfort the garments provide though wearing the post-op garment for more than the required number of days does not provide better results in terms of cosmetic appearance and outcome.
Fainting & Dizziness
Some patients may experience a sensation of dizziness the morning after their surgery when garments are removed in order to shower. This lightheaded feeling is similar to what you may experience if you stand up too quickly.
This is the result of rapid decompression after the post-op garments are removed. If you experience lightheadedness or dizziness, just sit down or lie down until the sensation passes. This feeling may be avoided by removing the outer compression garment 10 minutes before you remove the second garment.
If you faint at the sight of blood, you should be aware that the absorbent padding placed to absorb drainage after your procedure will contain traces of blood. If necessary, you should get someone to help you change these dressings.
You should also be aware there is a greater chance of fainting after urination when you have had liposuction surgery. Liposuction patients should stand up slowly after urinating in order to avoid a serious injury from falling or fainting. If you do get dizzy after urinating, you should sit or lie down on the bathroom floor immediately. It is also recommend that you leave the bathroom door unlocked when you are using it in case you need medical attention.
Post-Op Drainage Management
Patients should expect a large amount of blood-tinged anesthetic solution to drain from small drainage incisions over the first 24 to 48 hours following tumescent liposuction. During this time, larger super absorbent pads are worn over the treated areas and below the compression garments. The positive aspect is that the more drainage you experience, the less bruising and swelling there will be. After most of the drainage has stopped, you can limit placement of absorbent pads to those incision sites that continue to drain.
During the first 36 hours especially, it is possible for these pads to leak. It is recommended you place towels under you when sitting or lying down to protect your bed and furniture. In the event of large amounts of drainage, it is also recommended that you place a plastic cover beneath the towel.
Bathing & Wound Care
Shower one to two times daily and ensure incisions are kept clean at all times. Wash your hands before cleaning your incisions. Gently pat incisions dry with a clean towel after cleaning them. Following cleaning, replace absorbent pads over them.
Antibiotics After Liposuction
You should take your antibiotics as prescribed with food until you have completed the course of medication. If you notice signs of infection such as foul-smelling drainage, excessive swelling or pain in the treated area, excessive redness or fever, call Dr. Simoni’s office immediately.
Things to Avoid After Liposuction
- Do NOT apply ice packs or heating pads to areas treated by liposuction. This include both the skin over the areas where fat was removed and the incision site.
- Do NOT apply hydrogen peroxide or plastic bandages to incision sites.
- Do NOT soak in a bath, hot tub, swimming pool, ocean, lake, etc., for at least 7 days following your surgery. This will minimize risk of infection.
- Liposuction sites heal faster and better without topical antibiotics.
Side Effects of Liposuction
Vomiting and nausea are among the side effects that can occur after liposuction. Antibiotics, lorazepam or local anesthesia can all contribute to nausea.
Menstrual irregularities can occur for a month or so after liposuction. This is typical of any major surgery.
Slight temperature elevation is also common during the first 48 hours after surgery.
Swelling, Inflammation & Bruising
Soreness, swelling and inflammation are all unavoidable consequences of liposuction. Two Extra Strength Tylenol should be taken every 4 hours during waking hours for the first 48 hours after surgery. This will help reduce inflammation and soreness. You can expect these symptoms to get worse the day after surgery and then to improve every day thereafter.
Tumescent liposuction helps avoid some of the extensive bruising associated with traditional liposuction. The more extensive the liposuction procedure, the more extensive the bruising will be. Additionally, some patients may be prone to bruising than others.
You may experience itching of the treated areas as part of the normal healing process. To relieve the itching, you may take Benadryl as directing on the package or try using oatmeal soap.
Pain and swelling due to an inflammatory reaction may occur during the 5 to 10 days after surgery. If you experience dramatic increase in pain or swelling, notify Dr. Simoni immediately.
Avoid Aspirin & Ibuprofen
Do NOT take ibuprofen, aspirin or similar non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Nuprin, Advil, Bufferin or Anacin. NSAIDs can contribute to excessive bleeding and also depress immune response to infection.
Common Reasons for Post-Surgical Depression
Post-surgical depression may be a side effect of anesthesia, which often magnifies our anxieties or more sensitive feelings. These feelings may also be the results of other medications, constipation from medications, post-surgical traumatic stress and a general sense of disorganization or change.
This can be exacerbated by instructions to rest and avoid normal activities plus the fact that you will need to sleep upright for 2 weeks. Bruising and pain will also make patients irritable.
For all of these reasons it is understandable that many patients do not feel their best mentally as well as physically during their recoveries. By following Dr. Simoni’s instructions and taking good care of yourself, you will return to normal. Rest and care that includes laxatives and drinking plenty of water can often play a large role in getting your organs and body back to working order. You may also want to use our motivational Post-Operative Emotions Reminder List to help during recovery.
The “Let Down” Period
One of the main causes of feeling depressed is after surgery is that the adrenaline surge you experienced prior to surgery is now gone. Often patients expect the surgery itself to give them instant miraculous results. Unfortunately, the recovery period is not pretty and patients feel that they look worse than prior to the surgery. They may start to experience regrets even though they logically knew there would be a recovery period.
This is a natural and common phase of the healing process and these worries and feelings typically disappear as results look better and better.