Your recovery journey depends on several factors, including the type of surgery, the invasiveness of the procedure, your body’s natural healing process, and how carefully you follow the doctor’s post-care instructions. Dr. Montilla will provide a list of post-care recovery guidelines, taking you through every step of the recovery. You should follow these recommendations closely to avoid complications or delays in your recovery.
The specific recovery instructions may differ from one procedure to the next. However, this page provides a general overview of post-care instructions for surgical procedures.
Immediately after the surgery:
Once the surgery ends, you’ll be taken to a recovery room for a few hours. The nurses will observe your vital signs to ensure you don’t have a bad reaction to the surgery or anesthesia. Once you wake up from the anesthesia, your doctor might go over your recovery guidelines. You’ll still be under the influence of the anesthesia, so you’ll need a friend or relative to drive you back home.
Up to 48 hours after the surgery:
Most plastic surgeries are performed under local anesthesia or general anesthesia with sedation. The aftereffects of the anesthesia linger for at least a day, making you feel lightheaded and dizzy. Some patients also feel nauseous as the anesthesia wears off.
You should avoid the following activities for the first 48 hours after the surgery:
- Driving motor vehicles
- Operating heavy machines
- Making important decisions
- Staying alone without a responsible adult around
General recovery guidelines:
As mentioned earlier, the specific details of the recovery process differ from one individual to the next. Most patients experience discomfort, exhaustion, irritation, swelling, or itching after the surgery. The following are general guidelines to ensure a smooth recovery after a surgical procedure.
- Medications: You must take all medications prescribed by the doctor according to their schedule. You should take the medications exactly as prescribed without missing a dose. Not taking the medications may affect your healing rate, increase discomfort, or increase the risk of infection.
- Rest: You should get plenty of rest for the first 24 to 48 hours after the surgery. Even after that period, you should walk slowly, avoid climbing stairs, and avoid pushing yourself to do more than comfortable. Your doctor may also ask you to avoid strenuous exercises for a few weeks.
- Shower: You must avoid taking a shower for the first 24 to 48 hours to keep your incisions dry and clean. After that period, you can start taking sponge baths or avoid getting your incisions very wet. You must avoid swimming pools and hot tubs for several weeks or months.
- Pain Management: You can manage the pain and swelling with ice packs or Tylenol. However, you should avoid ibuprofen or other pain medications that increase bleeding.
- Scars: Optimal post-operative care can minimize the visibility of your scars. You must keep the incisions clean and let the area heal without interruption. You can massage the scars to soften them but don’t scratch or pick at the scabs. You must also use sunscreen and keep the area moisturized.
Notify the doctor if you notice any concerning signs:
Everyone experiences a little pain and discomfort after the surgery—that’s normal. However, you should immediately notify Dr. Montilla if you have a fever of 101 degrees or higher, a large amount of drainage, excessive bleeding, or excessive pain despite the pain medications. These are signs of potential complications, so you must contact the doctor without delay.