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Post-Operative Information

What to expect on the day of your surgery & afterwards

When you arrive at our surgical center on the day of your procedure, our staff will greet you and show you to the room where you will have your final pre-op exam. You will be provided with a surgical gown to change into. You will need to be sure that you have followed everything in our Pre-Op instructions sheet prior to arriving. If you are having local anesthetic during your procedure, you may have a light breakfast or small lunch up to 3 hours prior to arriving. For patients undergoing general anesthesia, you will be instructed to NOT eat or drink anything after midnight the night before. Your skin should be freshly washed with antibacterial soap (containing NO moisturizers) and your hair should be shampooed. You should not be wearing any lotion, body sprays (perfume or cologne), or have any antiperspirant on. All jewelry and piercings should be removed. If you are wearing a wedding band, we will tape it.

After one final trip to the restroom, you will have your before pictures taken and then be marked with a felt tipped skin marker. Your surgeon will meet with you to answer any final questions or concerns you may have before being escorted to the surgery room.

 General Instructions After Surgery

1. Follow Up Appointment:

As soon as your procedure is completed it's important that you book a follow up appointment within 3 days after surgery. This follow up appointment is to ensure that everything is healing properly and there aren't any complications or abnormalities with your procedure. Its also provides you an opportunity to ask any questions that you may have about the healing process.

2. Going Home:

You must arrange for a friend of family member to be at home with you after surgery. You will not be allowed to drive yourself home. As such, we can provide transportation to and from our surgery center for your convenience (fee applies). A cab or bus will not be allowed to transport you home, but you can opt to have a responsible adult bring you home if you wish. It is recommended that you have a responsible adult with you at home on the day of surgery and for the first 24 hours afterward to assist you with various tasks and to help monitor your recovery.

3. Diet:

Immediately following surgery we recommend consuming clear fluids and resuming your usual solid diet as tolerated. Throughout the following days of recovery be sure to eat regular meals and drink adequate amounts of water, fruit juice or non-caffeinated soft drinks to prevent dehydration. Avoid alcoholic beverages for 72 hours before and after treatment.

4. Activities:

It is advised that you try to get as much quiet rest as you can for optimal surgery recovery. In the first 24 hours following surgery do not drive or operate hazardous machinery and do not make any important decisions as your judgment may be clouded. Later during the first day or evening after surgery you should take a short walk - it doesn't have to be far it just has to be enough to get you moving a little. Staying in bed the whole time can actually slow the recovery process. The day after surgery if you feel well enough, you may drive your car and engage in light to moderate physical activities (no strenuous exercise such as aerobics, weight lifting, running or swimming). It is suggested that you begin with no more than 25% of your normal daily activity and gradually increase your activity daily as tolerated. You may carefully resume light exercise (walking, doing housework, light gardening, walking up a flights of stairs, dancing, stretching...etc.) and normal physical activities 2 to 3 days after surgery. Most people can return to a desk job within two days after surgery, although expect to be sore and easily fatigued for the next several days. You may resume moderate exercise (such as weightlifting) after 4 weeks.

5. Post-Op Garment:

During surgery recovery, compression garments are to be worn to hold the breast tissue in place and to provide mild compression that encourages the drainage of post-operative swelling. When the garment is first removed in order to take a shower, you may experience a brief sensation of dizziness. Feeling lightheaded is similar to what you may experience when standing up too quickly. This is caused by the rapid decompression of the chest as the compression garments are initially removed. Should dizziness occur, simply sit or lie down until it passes. Wear the compression garment as directed by your breast surgeon. Wash the garment twice daily for the first 3 days then as needed. Wash the garment in cold water and dry on fluff/air cycle only. Heat will shrink the garment.

6. Managing Post-Op Drainage (Lipo Patients Only):

You should expect a significant volume of blood tinged anesthetic solution to drain from the small incisions during the first 24 to 48 hours following surgery. In general, the more drainage there is, the less bruising and swelling there will be and the more smoothly your surgery recovery will go. However, do not massage the area trying to get more fluid to escape as this can cause complications. During the first 48 hours, you should sit or lie on a towel. When there is a large amount of drainage, it is advisable to place a plastic sheet beneath the towel to avoid staining. After the first few days you may need to only place absorbent gauze dressings over the incision sites that continue to drain. Please note, the drainage may soak through the padding before you can shower the next day. If this happens, you may either stay wet or change the padding. If you decide to change, do so lying down. Open only one side of garment, pull out wet padding, replace with dry padding, and close garment before standing. Removing the garment while standing can make you feel faint and/or nauseated during the first 24 hours after surgery - if possible have someone help you. Please note, you should not remove the garment to use the bathroom.

7. Medications:

After your procedure you will be prescribed antibiotics and pain medication. It's very important that you follow the directions for these prescriptions accurately and complete your antibiotics as prescribed. You may take your prescribed pain medication or Tylenol to ease post-operative pain.

Do not take Aspirin or medicines that contain aspirin for 5 days after surgery since it interferes with normal blood clotting. Some medications which contain aspirin that should be avoided are: Alka-Seltzer, Excedrin, Excedrin Migraine, Emprin, Dristan, Aspirin Ascription, Darvon, and Percodan.

Do not take Ibuprofen or medicines that contain ibuprofen for 5 days after surgery as it interferes with blood clotting. Some medications containing ibuprofen that should be avoided are: Midol, Motrin, and Advil.

Do not take Aleve or medicines containing naproxen or naproxen sodium for 5 days after surgery as it interferes with blood clotting. Some medications containing naproxen that should be avoided are: Aleve, Naproxen and Naprosyn.

Do not take "Megadoses" of Vitamin E. However, a daily multi-vitamin that contains vitamin E is just fine.

Do not smoke because nicotine reduces blood flow to the skin and can cause significant complications during healing.

Do not consume alcohol for 3 days after surgery.

Do not restart prescription medications such as SSRI's and TCA's until 48 hours (two days) after surgery. You must wait for two days because the lidocaine used during surgery interacts with these medications.

8. Wound Care And Bathing:

Once cleared to cleanse the incisions, it's very important to keep the incision areas clean by washing them twice a day. Start by first washing your hands, then scrub the incision areas gently with soap, water, and a clean wash cloth. Afterwards, pat them dry with a clean towel and proceed to apply a small amount of antibiotic ointment on them and cover them with new absorbent dressings (if still draining). Do this for 10-14 days until sites stop trying to form a scab. The less scabbing that occurs, the less scarring there will be. You may take lukewarm showers starting the day after surgery. Since it is possible to feel nauseous when removing the garment, remove it while sitting in the tub. Stand up slowly and then start to shower. Do not run the shower too hot; that can also make you feel faint. Again, try to have some help if possible. Do not take a bath or get into a Jacuzzi for 14 days.

Do not apply ice packs or a heating pad to the skin overlying the areas treated by liposuction.

Do not apply hydrogen peroxide or plastic band-aids to incision sites.

Do not soak in a bath or Jacuzzi or go into a swimming pool or the ocean for 14 days after surgery.

Common Side Effects After Surgery

Slight Temperature Elevation - This is normal during the first 48 hours after surgery. It is a natural consequence of the body's reaction to surgical trauma.

Discomfort And Soreness - This can be worse by the second day after surgery, then improving daily. Take your prescribed pain medication as directed or extra strength Tylenol every 4 hours while awake, for the first 48 hours. This will reduce the inflammation, swelling, and soreness associated with surgery. Do not take aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen or medications containing these drugs for 5 days after surgery as they can promote bleeding.

Bruising - This is minimal with gynecomastia-related tumescent liposuction. Nevertheless, the more extensive the liposuction surgery needed, the more bruising you can expect.

Painful Swelling - This inflammatory reaction to surgical trauma may occur and increase 5 to 10 days after surgery. This can be treated with your prescribed antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs.

Additional Post-Op Information For Each Procedure

Arm Lift (Brachioplasty)

Once both arms have been corrected, they are wrapped in flexible bandage material (such as an ACE bandage). These flexible bandages offer the ideal amount of pressure to hold the tissues in their new placement and help to also reduce swelling. They must be worn on the arms for several weeks after an arm lift surgery. Our plastic surgeon will help guide you about how you can bathe without getting your incisions wet so that they can stay dry and reduce the risk of infection at the incision sites. Most of our arm lift patients recover fairly fast; slight discomfort and minimal swelling is all that remains after about 6-7 days post-surgery. Patients can return to light duty or work within 7 days.

Body Lift

A body lift procedure may include areas of the body such as the abdomen (panniculus), thighs, buttocks and hips. Patients can expect to have compression bandages or garments over the areas that were lifted. These garments are snug and hold just the right amount of tension to keep everything in its new place. Post-surgical discomfort, swelling and bruising are normal and to be expected. Our plastic surgeon will advise you about how much is to be expected for your individual situation. You will not be allowed to bathe (immerse the incisions under water) post-operatively until your wounds are healed enough to get wet. You can sponge bathe during this time. You will be prescribed pain medication and antibiotics to help keep you comfortable and lower the risk of infection afterward. Sometimes, patients also receive SmartLipo laser liposuction to help sculpt problem areas of the body after the lift is completed. Patients can expect to feel much more comfortable after about 7-10 days post-operative and can resume light duty at this time; getting up and walking around as tolerated after the first day is highly recommended. If you experience a fever over 100 degrees, please contact us right away. We have a doctor on-call every day after hours to help address any concerns you may have.

Breast Procedures

After your breast procedure, you will have incisions that will require dressing (gauze pads) or will be covered with surgical tape. You will be instructed not to bathe until the incisions are healed enough to immerse them under water. You may sponge bath during this time. You will be asked to wear a compression garment (surgical bra with a snug fit) to help keep the post-surgical swelling down as well as to minimize the discomfort that excessive swelling causes. Your chest may feel heavy or weighed down due to tightness in the breast tissues and stretching of the tissues (especially for patients who have had an augmentation or reconstruction).

Your breasts will show post-operative bruising in places for several weeks and will minimize steadily over time. Swelling and tenderness at the incision site(s) as well as in the breasts is normal and expected. We will prescribe you some oral painkillers and antibiotics to help you with discomfort and to lessen the risk of infection. Depending upon your individual situation, we may have other instructions for you which may or may not include massage, gentle manual downward coaxing, or an elastic band to hold your breast implants down so they heal in the proper position.

Stitches used in all breast procedures are dissolvable so you don’t have to worry about having anything removed from the delicate tissues post-surgery. If you experience any redness, pain, streaking under your skin, or a fever of 100 degrees or higher, please contact our office immediately. We have doctors on call 24/7 to assist you. Scars will be red at first, then purplish-red, then fade over time and become less noticeable.

Brow Lift (Forehead Lift)

Many of our brow lift procedures are done using endoscopic techniques so that the incisions are very small and healing occurs more quickly. Every patient, no matter where the incision or technique used, will experience some bruising, swelling and discomfort for about 7 days after surgery. This will lessen over time. We will prescribe painkillers for you and antibiotics to reduce discomfort and the risk of infection. You will be advised to keep your head elevated above your heart for about the first week to help reduce swelling. Ice packs may be advised as well which can further reduce swelling and discomfort. If you experience a fever over 100, any unusual discharge from your incisions, or sudden redness or pain, you may have an infection. Call our office immediately and one of our on-call surgeons will get in touch with you immediately, 24/7

Eyelift (Blepharoplasty)

You will experience post-operative swelling and bruising around the eyes after your eyelift surgery. This is normal and can be reduced by keeping your head elevated above the heart at all times for the first week or so. You may also apply gel ice packs to the eyes (an eye mask ice pack is ideal) as often as the surgeon recommends. We will prescribe antibiotics and painkillers for you to take post-operatively for the first 7 days or so. If you notice any of the incisions are especially red and tender or if you notice unusual discharge or have a fever over 100, please contact us immediately. This may be a sign of an infection. We have an on-call surgeon available after hours seven days a week. Your incisions will be dissolvable and will not need to be removed after surgery; they will dissolve on their own.

Facelift

A facelift involves moving facial skin, muscle and tissues around, so discomfort and swelling is to be expected after surgery. Additionally, post-op bruising is also normal and should lessen gradually after about 7 days. It is advised to keep your head elevated above the level of your heart 24 hours a day for about the first week. Ice packs may be used to reduce swelling and discomfort as well. We will help you manage your pain and lessen the risk of infection by prescribing painkillers and antibiotics. Most times, patients will wear a light compression bandage around the face to hold the skin and tissues in their new places. If you experience sudden pain, redness or unusual discharge from the incisions, or a fever over 100, you may have an infection. This requires immediate medical attention, so please call our office right away. If this you call after hours, one of our on-call surgeons will return your call immediately.

Fat Grafting and Fat Transfer

These two procedures involve some minor discomfort and swelling afterward, but require only over the counter pain relievers after a couple of days. We will prescribe stronger painkillers if you need as well as antibiotics to lessen the chances of an infection. Post-op bruising (minor) is normal as is some blood-tinged fluid will escape from the tiny incisions where the tumescent fluid was injected. You will be required to wear a compression garment for the next four weeks to reduce swelling and allow the areas where the fat was harvested to heal properly. If you experience a fever over 100, have greenish or white discharge or experience sudden redness or swelling in a treated area, you may have an infection. Call us immediately so we can see you in the office or if you call after hours, one of our on-call doctors will return your call immediately.

Laser Liposuction using SmartLipo

Because local anesthesia is used and the SmartLipo laser technology leaves blood vessels and nerves undisturbed for the most part, patients will experience only 1-2 days of down time. Discomfort and swelling are very minor. Patients can expect to have blood-tinged fluid discharge (this is normal) from the tumescent fluid that was injected into the fatty tissue during the procedure and will lessen within a few days.

Compression garments must be worn as recommended by our surgeon and will likely be worn for a full 4 weeks after the procedure. The risk of infection with laser liposuction is extremely low, but do let us know if you experience a high fever (over 100) or have redness, pus, or green discharge coming from any of the micro-incisions. Patients do not have stitches after SmartLipo, so you may be asked to avoid bathing for several days to allow for the micro-incisions to heal up.

Tumescent liposuction patients and gynecomastia patients who have had liposuction can expect copious drainage of tumescent fluid. The drainage will be bloody, but it is thin and drains easily. This wound drainage may soak through the dressing before you can take a shower the following morning. If this occurs, you may either leave it wet or change the absorbent gauze pad. If you decide to change it, be sure to do so while lying down. Open one side of the compression garment, pull out the soaked padding, replace with new dry dressing, and then close the compression garment before standing up again. Removing the compression garment while standing up will likely make you feel dizzy and weak or lightheaded and you may also feel nausea during the first day after surgery. If possible, have someone help you change your dressing, or you may also stay wet until you are able to shower. You should not (and do not) need to remove the compression garment in order to use the restroom.

Tumescent liposuction patients may take a lukewarm shower the next morning. You may feel nauseous when removing your compression garment so take care to remove it while sitting down in the tub or on a shower bench. Stand up very slowly (hold on to someone or a shower rail) and then begin to shower. Do not take an excessively hot shower; high water temperatures can also make you feel lightheaded. Again, please try to have someone help you if possible. Do not take a bath or get into a Jacuzzi, pool or the ocean for 14 full days after surgery.

Wear your compression garment 24hrs/day for the first week. Wash it 2x per day for the first three days. After the first week, wear it for at least 12 hours per day while you are awake. You must wear the compression garment for a total of 2 weeks. When you wash the compression garment, do so in cold water and dry on your dryer’s air cycle or fluff only. Heat cycles will shrink the garment. Wear biking shorts or support stockings while waiting for the garment to dry. After 3 days you may wear whatever clothing is comfortable – the compression garment, biker shorts, firm stockings or nothing at all.

Male Breast Reduction (Gynecomastia)

Post-Operative Healing:

Normal healing after male breast reduction surgery involves a limited but fixed degree of discomfort, swollen tissues, bruising and a texture of lumpy firmness to the skin. A mild numbing (temporary) of the skin may last for up to 4 months post-surgery. Most of our patients can see improvement to their chest within several days after surgery. However, due to the gradual resolution of post-procedure swelling, optimal results after gynecomastia correction are usually seen 12 to 20 weeks afterward.

Realistic Expectations:

Although the results of male breast reduction surgery are often quite remarkable, it is not realistic to expect perfection. It is impossible for us to guarantee the exact amount of improvement that you will have after surgery. Patients should have reasonable expectations, which will be established with the help of our surgeons prior to surgery. Although patients can generally expect to see substantial and noticeable enhancement, it is unreasonable to expect perfect results. For perfectionists, or for patients with moderate to severe breast enlargement, maximum improvement may require another corrective surgery for which there would be an additional fee.

Longevity of Results:

THE FAT CELLS AND GLANDULAR TISSUE REMOVED DURING THE SURGERY DO NOT GROW BACK. Although one can expect some reasonable changes as aging takes place (provided that a large amount of weight is not gained), your new, masculine chest contour can be considered relatively permanent.

Neck Lift

After a neck lift has been completed, you will be required to wear a compression garment that holds the skin and muscles in their new position. It must be worn for about four weeks post-surgery. You can expect to have some swelling and bruising as well as discomfort afterward. We will prescribe painkillers for you to last through the first week to ten days after surgery. After that, over-the-counter pain medicine like Extra Strength Tylenol is enough. You may return to work in 10-14 days. Strenuous physical activity should be avoided for 3-4 weeks, maybe longer, depending on how well you are healing. If you begin to develop a fever over 100 or have unusual discharge from any of the incision sites, you should contact us immediately. We also have an on-call surgeon after hours that will help you.

Otoplasty

You will be woozy and possibly dizzy from the anesthesia and surgery. It is important for there to be someone present to help you around, get food for you and to help keep you hydrated. Painkillers will be prescribed to manage pain and help you rest better. You will have some post-operative swelling which can be reduced by keeping your head elevated above your heart with a few pillows or a wedge pillow. Due to the anesthesia, you may want to eat only bland, soft foods that are easily digestible for the first two days or so. We generally prescribe antibiotics for the 7-10 days after otoplasty surgery to lessen the risk of infection. It is important to follow these post-otoplasty instructions (as well as our general post-op instructions on this page) to avoid complications and unnecessary risks to your health.

You will be asked to wear a compression garment for the first 7 days or so which will reduce swelling. If you experience sudden pain in one of your ears, please call us right away; it may be the beginning stages of a hematoma (a rare but serious complication that needs immediate attention). The stitches will be removed from the outside of your ears after about two weeks. For about 6 weeks after the compression garment is worn, you will be required to wear an elastic ear band while you sleep to hold the ears in their new positions.

You will have several post-op follow-up appointments with us so we can monitor your progress and to make sure you are feeling well.

Rhinoplasty

After your rhinoplasty procedure the inside of the nose will be bleeding and you may also be required to wear a nose splint to hold the nose (tip or the bones) in their new placement. Sutures will either be dissolvable or will need to be removed after seven to ten days post-surgery (our plastic surgeon will let you know which type he used). There will be some post-op swelling and bruising of the skin, with bruises having the potential to reach the under-eye area depending on the extent of reshaping that was done.

We recommend keeping your head elevated at all times for the first two weeks (including when you sleep). You will be prescribed narcotic painkillers to help keep you comfortable for the first week to ten days and then can use Extra Strength Tylenol after that. Our plastic surgeon may recommend using ice packs during the healing process. Strenuous physical activity should be avoided for several weeks to 1 month and we will discuss this with you during your post-op follow-up appointments. If you have a fever over 100, severe pain, or unusual discharge please contact our office immediately. Even though you will be taking oral antibiotics to prevent infection, if you have any of these warning signs, you may have an infection that requires immediate attention. We are on-call after hours and on the weekends to help you with any health concern you may have.

Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

Normally, our patients feel substantial discomfort for the first 1 to 2 weeks (we will prescribe prescription-strength pain killers to help you through the first 2 weeks). After that, pain may be easily managed with only extra strength Tylenol. Walking, sitting up, and turning over in bed can be painful and difficult for the first few days, so you will need to have someone there to make food for you, to help you out of bed and to the restroom, for sitting up or lying down and to sponge bathe.

A compression garment will be worn around your tummy immediately after your tummy tuck surgery and you will likely have drains inserted in both ends of the incision with a flexible negative pressure (vacuum) plastic container attached to some tubing. The compression garment must be worn for 4-6 weeks, 24 hours a day, while the drains will be taken out as early as 1 to 2 weeks after surgery.

We recommend that our patients walk around a little after a few days following abdominoplasty surgery and they can increase activity a little at a time as tolerated. Physical activity helps increase blood flow to the incision site, will help prevent blood clots from forming in your legs (due to inactivity) and can also help boost your immune system.

Call Our Office If You Experience Any Of The Following:

  • Your Temperature Is Greater Than 100º
  • You Notice Foul Smelling Drainage
  • You Are Experiencing Excessive Pain
  • You Notice Any Dark, Thick Bloody Drainage
  • You Are Experiencing Severe Dizziness While Standing
  • You Notice Any Pus At The Incision Site

Feel Free To Call Us Anytime During Your Recovery If You Have Any Questions Or Concerns Even If You're Unsure If The Problem Is An Emergency!

*There may be additional instructions and warnings for the procedure you have had done. Please be sure to get this complete list from our staff and do not rely solely on the information provided on this page.