Recovering from plastic surgery varies greatly from patient to patient. Patients have different types of jobs, different family situations and different healing rates.
What follows are the general guidelines for recovery. Dr. Lampert cautions his patients to follow their specific post operative instructions carefully. This is important in order to ensure that they get through the initial phases of recovery as comfortably as possible. Patient compliance is a significant factor in successful incision healing and the overall result.
Patients will usually be placed in a surgical bra once the operation is completed. This will help hold the dressings in place, pad the area and provide breast support.
For the first 24 hours, patients will need the assistance of a caregiver who can help with meals, give medications and assist with daily activities.
It important to rest as much as possible and to support the back and arms with pillows while reclining. To reduce the risk of blood clot formation, it is advised to walk for a few minutes each hour. Gentle stretching is also recommended.
The bra must be kept in place as instructed by Dr. Lampert. Patients should not lift anything heavier than 10 pounds and exercise should be avoided. It is important to keep the heart rate low and avoid strain during the initial phases of recovery. This will help keep blood pressure down and minimize the chances of bleeding at the surgical site. Walking is necessary and strongly encouraged as it reduces the risk of blood clot (or Deep Vein Thrombosis) formation.
Discomfort will usually be mild to moderate for the first 3 days or so, but can be easily managed with the pain medication prescribed by Dr. Lampert. Dr. Lampert can also prescribe anti-nausea medication as well. Within the first week, Dr. Lampert will remove the surgical bandages and sutures. He will provide instructions on wearing the prescribed support bra, when to begin normal activity, and when exercise can resume.
Patients with desk jobs can expect to return to work within 4 to 7 days. Jobs that require use of the arms for heavy lifting, such as food servers or trainers, will need to take more time off.
It takes approximately 3-4 months for the breast swelling to resolve and the implants to fully settle in (or “drop and fluff”). Patients can expect to resume all normal activities within 6 to 8 weeks following surgery.
Procedures for the face can include a full face and necklift or only focus on one or two areas such as the cheeks, eyes or forehead.
Following a full facelift surgery, there may be small drains placed to ensure that fluid doesn’t build up. Drains may also help minimize swelling after surgery. These can be removed according to Dr. Lampert’s instructions, usually 3 to 7 days after surgery. Any non dissolving sutures will be removed in the office after 5-7 days. Dr. Lampert will examine the incisions to ensure that healing is taking place as expected.
An elastic head and neck wrap may be placed on patients after having a full face and neck lift. This should be worn as instructed during the first month, and especially at night. There will be bruising and swelling which usually peaks around 3 to 4 days following surgery. The facial swelling (or edema) will quickly improve and then gradually reduce more and more over the first 2 - 3 months.
Patients should arrange for one to two weeks off of work, depending on the procedure. Dr. Lampert will advise the patient on this well ahead of surgery, so that adequate time off can be arranged.
For a full face lift, patients can typically return to work between 2 and 3 weeks after surgery. By this time, swelling will have reduced considerably. At this point, usually only a very astute observer will notice the incisions. Makeup can then be worn to cover incisional scars if they are noticeable. Patients who have had eyelid surgery, a brow lift or a cheek lift (midface lift) will be able to return to work or social activities sooner.
Most patients will be able to attend important functions with confidence after 4 weeks. Subtle improvement will continue during the first year, but usually only the patient and surgeon will notice these very small changes as the healing process continues.
Rhinoplasty (or nosejob) recovery is reported by most patients to be much easier than they initially thought it would be. It sounds worse than it actually feels.
Pain medication will be prescribed which will keep patients comfortable during the first few days. After that, most patients don’t feel that they need any pain medication. There will be swelling and bruising under the eyes, which will resolve over the next 1- 2 weeks. During the first week, the nasal passages will typically be swollen. This is particularly the case if a functional rhinoplasty has been performed.
The splint (or nasal cast) will be removed in the office by Dr. Lampert after 7 days. The nose will appear swollen, particularly over the tip and dorsal hump (or nasal bridge). This is especially the case if it has been reduced. Swelling will gradually diminish over the next several months, but patients will be able to return to work after 2 weeks. By then, the swelling is usually noticeable only by the patient and most of the bruising has faded. Any remaining bruising can be easily covered by makeup.
The nose will periodically swell over the first year while deep scars soften and the internal structure is settling in. This is very subtle and typically only the patient will notice this.
There are many procedures which fall under this category. Liposuction, tummy tuck, lower body lift, thigh lift, arm lift, and buttocks augmentation are to name a few. The recovery expected is very different for each area and procedure. As part of the preparation for surgery, Dr. Lampert reviews the recovery process for each patient according to the procedure. This helps ensure that the patient fully understands the role that they will play, in order to optimize a fabulous final result.
Scarring is always a concern, so any instructions given by Dr. Lampert should be followed to the letter. This will avoid the likelihood of developing complications that may negatively impact healing, recovery time and scarring outcomes.
Generally, within 5-7 days is the time for most suture removal. Frequently, at this time, most drains can be removed. A compression garment may be started, if not already worn. Compression garments are an important part of liposuction, tummy tuck and body lift recovery. These will need to be worn at all times, except when bathing. The time frame will vary according to procedure. Dr. Lampert will give specific instructions regarding your garment.
Dr. Lampert typically encourages his patients to use a scar product that contains silicone and sunblock. There have been several good studies to support silicone use with post surgical scars. Around 2 - 3 weeks after surgery, he usually also has patients start to perform scar tissue massage.
Tummy tuck, 360 degree body lift, thigh and arm lift all require considerable initial recovery time because the underlying soft tissue or muscle structure has to be tightened and repositioned. Patients can expect to need assistance with daily tasks during the first week following surgery.
On that note, patients should arrange for help as long as possible, particularly if there are small children in the family. The patient needs rest and should not have to strain during the first week after surgery. Care givers can help with meals, medications and with children or pets. This allows the patient to focus all of their energy on healing.
If the first week is as stress free as possible, the following recovery phases will be much easier. The final result should reflect this.
Dr. Lampert is always available to support his patients through the recovery period and is happy to answer any questions or concerns that come up during this time. He makes himself always available to his cosmetic surgery patients.