SECOND QUARTER 2004, VOLUME 18, NO 2

Follow your doctor’s orders for optimal post-op results

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Ask the Surgeon / Health Tip / What’s New

Follow your doctor’s orders for optimal post-op results

Your facial plastic surgeon wants to provide the best possible surgical results with a rapid and comfortable recovery. Your physician will give you specific instructions to follow that are tailored toward the procedure you are having; however, there are also steps you can take to make your recovery optimal.

Essential Education
Studies have reported that informed patients felt less anxiety before and after surgery, which then improved their recovery process. Take the time to research the procedure you are having via books or the Internet. Your physician will also provide education, describing the procedure, the technique, and the recovery. Make sure you understand the entire process and feel free to ask questions, such as: What type of anesthesia will be used local, intravenous, or both? What are the steps of the procedure? How long with the procedure take? How will I feel when I first wake up from the surgery? Will I be on any medication and for how long? How long will I need to take off of work? When can I expect swelling to go down? When is it okay to resume normal activities? Can I apply makeup to camouflage the area?

Medications, Smoking, and Supplements
Prior to surgery, usually about two weeks, you will be asked to refrain from taking any and all blood thinning agents (Aspirin, Ibuprofen, and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), Vitamin E, herbal supplements, herbal teas, and red wine. Also, refrain from smoking. The combination of nicotine and carbon monoxide deprives the body of oxygen needed for healing and resistance to infection.

One vitamin you may want to start taking is Vitamin K. This fat-soluble vitamin plays an important role in blood clotting and is given to supplement a potential dietary insufficiency. Vitamin K can be found in such foods as spinach, broccoli, and kiwi.

Plan for Success
During your recovery, you want to be as relaxed and as comfortable as possible. By planning in advance, you can set yourself up for a worry-free time when your body can completely concentrate on recuperation.

  • Plan your wardrobe for the day of surgery and the week following.
  • Fill all prescriptions prior to surgery.
  • Gather a support system of family members and friends to help with post-operative responsibilities.
  • Prepare and freeze food for the week following surgery.
  • Pamper yourself and keep a positive attitude.
  • Protect yourself from sun exposure with a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen (SPF 15).

Your satisfaction with the procedure and the convalescence are important. While healing varies with each person, proper planing and care will make your recovery time more pleasant and your spring more enjoyable.