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Recovery Tips for Post-Cosmetic Surgery

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The world of cosmetic surgery encompasses varied procedures ranging from face-firming fillers to cosmetic rhinoplasty, and the characteristics of the patient vary even more. Age, skin type, health history and other variables make each patient unique. Despite a wide range of medications and practices, any successful recovery period requires plenty of patience, general healthy living habits and paying close attention to specific directions from your doctor.

General Guidelines

Plenty of recovery tips apply across the cosmetic surgery spectrum. For instance, a balanced diet with lots of fluids speeds along recovery, while smoking—a major blood flow inhibitor—stalls it. Rest is a crucial part of recovery, so try your best to take it easy and let your body do the work. Low-impact training, stretching and yoga are typically safe, but strenuous physical activity can hinder your healing. Don’t neglect the mental and emotional elements of recovery. If you’ll be recouping for a while, surround yourself with positive people, and don’t spend too much time gazing in the mirror for tiny signs of improvement—you’ll end up missing the big picture.

Skin Care Counts

It’s wise to wear sunscreen in your daily life, and it’s even wiser to wear it throughout your recovery. To promote healing and reduce the risk of discoloration, minimize sun exposure for the areas of skin that are in recovery. Pay special attention to hygiene as well, keeping your skin clean to avoid infection and moisturized to encourage healing and minimize scarring. On the note of avoiding infections, don’t use makeup after facial procedures until incisions have healed and stitches have been removed—or, in the case of microdermabrasion or peels, until the skin has stopped flaking. Like all treatments, each type of cosmetic procedure has its own type of recovery period and factors to consider. Here are some recovery tips for two of the most common treatments—facelifts and liposuction for the body.

Facelifts: What to Expect

Expect a day or two of bedrest after a facelift, and stick to painkillers prescribed by your doctor. Once out of bed, encourage circulation with light activity, such as light household chores or slow-paced walks. You’ll need to follow your doctor’s instructions for incision care in the weeks after the surgery, often replacing dressings daily. After about three weeks of careful recovery, you should be ready to return to regular activities like work and exercise.

Liposuction Recovery

In many cases, your doctor will prescribe both mild painkillers and antibiotics—to reduce the risk of infection—after your liposuction procedure. Your surgeon will provide you with body-shaping compression bandages and an elastic corset, which you’ll need to wear for several weeks after the procedure. Until your first follow-up about a week after the surgery, you’ll be tasked with re-dressing and caring for your stitches. It typically takes about two weeks to recover from liposuction, though you should avoid strenuous activity for four weeks just to be on the safe side.

This article has been reviewed by oculoplastic surgeon Dr. Matheson Harris.

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