Today, I wish to address a subject that concerns anyone who wishes to undergo plastic surgery: convalescence. A period often dreaded but essential for the body to recover gently and to achieve the outcome you are expecting.
The advances in pain management techniques and protocols implemented after aesthetic surgery have helped considerably reduce the recovery time. These days, most operations are carried out as day surgery – you arrive in the morning and leave within the day – and are therefore compatible with resuming activities rapidly, within a few days.
However, we must not minimize the impact of a general anesthetic and an operation, of which the most common side effects are tiredness and pain, although the latter can be rapidly relieved with suitable painkilling protocols!
So better convalescence means above all taking care of yourself and resting, and you will find a few practical tips in this article to make this period more pleasant.
General anesthetic: what side effects can be expected?
Before diving into the details of the convalescence, it is important to take a moment to review the general anesthetic, an essential step for any aesthetic surgery.
A general anesthetic can raise some legitimate concerns and questions, and it is perfectly normal to want to know and understand the potential side effects. Although advances in medicine have considerably reduced the risks, it is crucial to address this step seriously and discuss your fears openly with your medical team, namely me (your surgeon) but also the anesthesiologist. During your appointment with the latter, the anesthesia will be reviewed and adapted depending on your case (age, state of health), your needs, and your history.
The two consequences of a procedure: functional and visual
Once the procedure is finished, you may encounter two types of consequences.
The first is that of the pain or physical discomfort, which can vary in intensity depending on the procedure but also your metabolism: we all cope with pain differently! In this case, it is important to respect your limits and restrict your activities and movements to promote good healing. Listen to your body and take the time you need to recover gently. Remember that patience is a precious virtue during this period of convalescence.
Nevertheless, some procedures such as a blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) are painless and most aesthetic surgery procedures cause mild to moderate pain that traditional analgesics can relieve very well. Your comfort is our priority!
The second consequence may be visual, as in the case of a face lift. In this case, the impact of your physical appearance may require avoiding social interaction during the recovery period. This step may not be physically painful, but may be socially awkward the time it takes to recover a face that does not betray the surgery.
A few practical tips for an enjoyable convalescence
#1 Comfort is a priority
As soon as you leave the clinic, choose comfortable clothes, easy to put on that will not put any pressure on the areas treated. Choose loose-fitting, soft outfits so you feel at ease while promoting good blood circulation. Furthermore, it is often recommended to wear compression stockings day and night in the first days after the procedure as the lack of physical activity can promote the onset of phlebitis. However, unless told otherwise, remember to get up and walk regularly.
Another essential thing for successful convalescence is a comfortable bed and lots of cushions to provide support (particularly in the case of breast surgery when a half-sitting position is recommended for greater comfort the first few nights). A quality mattress that supports your body and promotes restful sleep is also a good idea.
Rest is crucial to your healing process, so make sure you have the best conditions to recharge your batteries.
#2 Remember to fill the fridge in advance
Before your operation, remember to do the shopping. Make sure you have meals that are easy to prepare, healthy food, and nutritious snacks. You may not be able to go shopping for a few days so make sure you have everything you need to hand. Your body needs a balanced diet to recover so take care of it by preparing in advance.
#3 Organize help
It may be essential, at least during the first days. Organize help from your family and/or friends before the operation, as their help will be invaluable during your convalescence. Do not hesitate to ask them to help with daily tasks so you can concentrate on your recovery. You deserve to be pampered during this period!
#4 Beware of the sun!
Another tip, but just as important, is to protect yourself from the sun. UV rays can affect healing and lead to scarring complications. Wear light clothes that cover you when you go out and don’t forget to apply high SPF sunscreen on exposed areas. Protecting your skin is an essential step to preserve the results of your operation.
#5 Follow the postoperative instructions
The important thing is to follow the advice and postoperative instructions of your surgeon and the medical team carefully. Scrupulously follow their recommendations in terms of care, medication, and follow-up.
The recovery time can vary from person to person and according to the operation. It is crucial to respect the times recommended by your surgeon. Being patient is key to optimal recovery. Take the time to rest, recharge your batteries, and let your body heal naturally.
You are in good hands!