How important is post-operative care after plastic surgery?

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Be it for aesthetic or functional reasons, plastic surgery provides you with a way to become more self-confident and improve your quality of life. During the preoperative appointments, it is crucial that you talk to your doctor and clarify all your doubts. Most of the time, it is at this moment that you will receive most of the post-operative orientations.

There are 3 important stages involved in the process of having plastic surgery: the preparation for the procedure, the surgery itself, and the recovery period (the post-operative period). They all have the same importance and should receive the same attention.

It is important that you follow the post-operative guidelines so that your recovery is not jeopardized. Besides, it is known that well-oriented patients who are aware of the normal evolution of their postoperative period have a more tranquil and less painful recovery.

What are the phases of post-operative care?

The postoperative period is the period between the moment the patient leaves the operation room and returns to his/her normal activities.

Some surgeons consider the period to end at the moment at which the injured tissues have healed properly. Its duration, therefore, varies depending on the type of intervention performed and the prior health condition of the patient, and it is not possible to specify it chronologically.

The immediate post-operative period covers the first 12 to 24 hours after the end of the surgery. Its real duration depends on the type and severity of the surgery and on the patient’s condition at the end of it. In its first hours, this stage generally takes place in a special environment, which is the recovery room, continuing later in the patient’s own room, if no complications arise.

The postoperative period begins with the post-anesthetic and immediate postoperative periods, in which the patient is recovering from the effects of anesthesia. The late postoperative period is the healing period as well as the time to prevent complications; this period can last for weeks or months after surgery.

Listen to your body

Any surgery disturbs the organism’s homeostasis. Regardless of the surgical time, the risk of postoperative complications is present in every intervention. Postoperative care is intended to restore homeostatic balance and prevent complications.

There is an average recovery period for most plastic surgeries, which is different from procedure to procedure. Some people may seek alternatives or methods to recover faster, however, the appropriate recovery time depends on each person, the type of plastic surgery performed, and needs to be individualized to be safe and achieve the best result.

It is worth bearing in mind that factors such as family illness history, advanced age, or previous illnesses, increase the recovery time and the need for care. This reinforces the importance of following exactly the recommendations prescribed by the plastic surgeon, thus optimizing the recovery and making it happen in the shortest time possible.

Follow your doctor’s recommendations

Your doctor will discuss with you the need for special medication, physical activity, or resting in specific positions. Some doctors may also address the psychological impact of your surgery in your daily life and in the life of your family.

Observing all the recommendations and following them correctly will not only help you to increase the odds of achieving the results that you expect. It may also reduce the risk of complications and the level of pain.

If you disagree or have doubts about a particular recommendation, you should speak to your doctor about it. You can even ask for an alternative if it is difficult or even impossible for you to follow a specific regimen. Refrain from following recommendations from internet forums, blogs, or social media, unless your doctor has recommended them to you.

Remember: the success of your treatment also depends on you. Always clarify your concerns with your surgeon.