Recovery After Breast Surgery, Tummy Tuck or Other Plastic Surgery

Patients often wonder if they can speed up recovery after breast surgery, tummy tuck or other procedures. Recovery times and normal healing processes after surgery are key concerns when you schedule your surgery date. We understand you’ll be eager to get back into your daily routines. That’s why we offer suggestions to help you experience a more comfortable recovery and a result.

But while our suggestions aim to help you have a quicker recovery after surgery, we also want you to achieve the best possible results from your procedure.

Sometimes that means you’ll need to be patient and allow yourself adequate time to heal. And if you have a complication, your healing may take a bit longer than you planned.

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Tips for Speedier Recovery Processes After Plastic or Cosmetic Surgery

Recovery time for patients varies greatly depending on the individual and the procedure.

But there a several things patients can do before and after surgery to move along their recovery and scar healing. Following these simple suggestions may help you to move through your surgery recovery stage quicker or more comfortably.

  • For breast surgery patients, where applicable, wear the post-surgery bra or post-surgery compression garment(s) that have been provided for you
    • Wear these day and night for as long as you’ve been instructed to wear them
  • Alert your surgeon to any concerns
  • Know what’s normal and what might be a cause for seeking treatment.
  • Read the surgery guides before you have surgery and after
    • Including the recovery guides and post-op care guides provided to you for your procedure.
  • Good nutrition is crucial to your wound healing and recovery
  • It is not appropriate for people with wounds to follow diets that limit intake
    • This includes diets to reduce cholesterol or weight and diets that avoid entire food groups such as carbohydrates

The Best Approach to Healing and Recovery After Plastic Surgery

It is important to know what to expect and to be flexible. Remind yourself that every patient heals and recovers at their own rates. Reading the provided materials will provide a better understanding of what’s normal for recovery.

It is also incredibly important that you take your time and get adequate rest. Further, monitor your nutrition. Drink lots of water, eat healthily and don’t skip meals. It is also important to have good emotional support around you and avoid negative people.

Quality sleep after breast or tummy tuck surgery may be difficult at first, but it does improve. You may be overly emotionally reactive in part due to having been through surgery and in part to disrupted sleep. Be patient and kind and gentle with yourself – pamper yourself and create a comfortable, peaceful healing environment in whatever ways you can.

We’re here to help you recover. We are also happy to answer questions or to reassure you about what’s a normal healing process after plastic surgery. And what is not. We can help you understand:

  • What to expect in terms of wound healing
  • The common emotional reactions after your procedure
  • You need to have good support around you
  • How to make your post-op room as comfortable as possible

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Walking During Recovery

If you do too much too soon, you risk your health and your long-term results.  You could re-open your surgical wound, increase scarring, cause under-skin bleeding and otherwise impede your healing. It’s simply not worth trying to rush the process. Sometimes going slower makes recovery go faster. Do not exert yourself lifting, reaching or exercising strenuously for at least a week to 3 or more weeks after surgery. This might take several months, as you’ll be advised depending on which procedure you chose.

Walking when your surgeon says you should is a good idea. Gentle movements are a part of healing. But the best thing you can do to ensure a good recovery is to check first with your surgeon before resuming normal exercise, lifting, driving and other activities.

Exercise During Recovery

Exercise after surgery is essential to your speedy recovery. But it must be done only when your surgeon recommends you’re clear to do so. If all is going well after surgery, you need to get moving as soon as you can. However, no lifting, exercising or driving is recommended until your surgeon says it’s okay!

Ensure you go slowly and ease yourself back into it. Depending on your level of fitness and activity before surgery, you may find moving around is difficult at first.

Follow the instructions you have been given specific to the surgical procedure you have undergone. If something feels too heavy or painful then listen to your body and take the hint.

See your surgeon if you have pulled your sutures or have any other concerns and remember.

Smoking During Recovery

It’s also crucial that you never ever smoke – not even one a day – as you heal from your procedure. Smoking greatly increases your chances of a wound breakdown, poor healing responses, various complications and an unsatisfactory surgery result.

Eating During Recovery

Extreme dieting is not recommended as you heal, unless you’re having weight loss surgery, which involves its own restrictive diet. If you have food or nutritional limitations or allergies, be sure you discuss these with your surgeon before your operation. If constipation is a concern after surgery or you have constipation due to pain medications, ask your surgeon for advice.

Maintaining a balanced diet before and after your surgery ensures your body is receiving the vitamins and nutrients it needs to aid recovery.

Multi-Vitamin Foods

Almonds, fruit, lean meats, whole grains, yogurt and seafood are all high in vitamins E, D, C and A, iron, protein, fibre and zinc. Foods containing these nutrients assist in wound healing and forming scar tissue. They also promote the growth of new blood cells.

Immunity, bone healing and repair of soft tissue is also aided by the above vitamins and nutrients.

Water

Further, make sure you’re drinking lots of water to keep your fluids up. Aim for at least 1.5 litres per day. Avoid alcohol and other intoxicating substances to maximise your healing capacity.

Protein

Protein is essential for the maintenance and repair of body tissue. Depleted protein levels will cause a decrease in collagen development, slowing the wound healing process. Adequate protein levels will help achieve optimal wound healing rates. Sources of protein include red and white meats, fish, eggs, liver, dairy products (milk, cheese, yoghurt), soy beans, legumes, seeds, nuts and grains.

Vitamin C

This vitamin plays an important role in collagen synthesis as well as the formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis). Adequate Vitamin C levels help strengthen the healing wound.

Vitamin C also has important antioxidant properties that help the immune system and it increases the absorption of iron. It is found mostly in fruit and vegetables, especially, oranges, grapefruit, tomatoes, and leafy vegetables.

Vitamin A

This vitamin can help with wound healing. It increases the inflammatory response in wounds, stimulating collagen synthesis.

Low Vitamin A levels can result in delayed wound healing and susceptibility to infection. Vitamin A is found in milk, cheese, eggs, fish and dark green vegetables.

Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3534019

Iron

It is part of the system that provides oxygen to the site of the wound, therefore iron (haemoglobin) deficiency can impair healing.

Iron deficiency can also result in impaired collagen production and strength of the wound. The best sources of iron in the diet are:

  • Red meat
  • Offal
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Wholemeal bread
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Dried fruits
  • Nuts
  • Yeast extracts

Your Rapid Recovery Pack

In order to aid your rapid recovery, we provide patients with a rapid recovery pack. A mixture of “science and love” products and information to help you heal faster.

Supplementation of essential nutrients is often necessary when a normal diet is lacking. While we strongly encourage a diet that provides you with all the ingredients you need for healing, we have provided you with a range of supplements that can help provide you with nutrients that you may require more of during recovery.

Your Rapid Recovery Pack usually contains the following:

Arginaid Powder Drink

Arginine is concentrated in the skin and connective tissue and increases collagen deposition. It works at a cellular level to assist healing and stimulate the immune response. While it is found in foods such as eggs, nuts and whole grains, we have provided you with a box of Arginaid Powder Drink. This gives you the additional support your body will need at this time. Dissolve one packet in a glass of water twice a day, until all used.

Arnica Tablets

Derived from the European plant Arnica Montana, Arnica is traditionally used in homeopathic medicine to help relieve strains, sprains, bruising and sore, aching muscles. It may therefore help to relieve muscular pain, swelling and bruising after your surgery. Follow the dosage guidelines on the box. The small tablets dissolve quickly under your tongue.

Vitamin Tablets

Swisse Hair Skin Nails is a combination of vitamins and minerals shown to support hair, skin and nail health. It contains ingredients essential for the formation of collagen and the maintenance of healthy skin. Vitamin tablets may be of assistance with speeding up wound healing and improving scar results. It is recommended you take one tablet per day with food.

Ginger and Peppermint Tea

After surgery some people report that they have an “unsettled” stomach or are feeling a little “off colour”. You can usually attribute this to the general anaesthetic. Peppermint and ginger have a long tradition of medicinal use in relieving nausea.

Skincare Pack

As a patient of our surgeons, you will receive a complimentary skincare pack which contains a variety of products for you to enjoy. One of our nurses will usually bring this to you when she visits you in hospital for your post-operative check.

Scar Management and Healing Support

Scars are areas of fibrous tissue that replace normal skin after injury or surgery. A scar results from the biological process of wound repair in the skin and other tissues of the body.

It is a natural part of the healing process. With the exception of very minor lesions, every wound (e.g., after accident, disease, or surgery) results in some degree of scarring. All surgery leaves a scar. Some patients have more visible scars than others. Ask your surgeon for information and what to expect.

After your wound has closed and healed, it can take over 12 months for the scar to completely settle.

Our plastic surgeons choose from some of the latest, most advanced surgical techniques and scar minimisation technologies to help reduce the extent of scarring.

Other healing aids may help with scar healing or reduce scar visibility. We can give you advice on what to do to help minimise your scars.

Managing Your Surgery Risks and Knowing When to Call Your Surgeon

Remember, surgery is serious and involves risks. Choosing whether or not surgery is right for you is a very personal decision. You need to carefully pay attention to any symptoms so you are alert to anything that might not be normal during the recovery processes.

Your surgeon and nurse coordinator will take you through surgery risks and potential complications associated with your surgery to help you understand what to watch out for. You’ll be given a list of what to watch out for and how to care for your incision lines as you heal.

During a consultation, you’ll also be asked to sign a consent form indicating you fully understand the procedure, the associated risks, and potential complications issues. So be sure you do read, understand and ask questions before your surgery. This will definitely be of help to you to ensure a quicker recovery and better healing process.

Be sure you alert your surgeon to any concerning symptoms or unusual sensations or other issues as advised or recommended.

If it is after clinic hours and for any reason, you cannot reach your surgeon and/or are feeling very unwell, call our after hours number. They’ll happily answer any and all questions or concerns you may have. Never hesitate to call your surgeon and/or their nursing team if you have a concern.

For emergencies, seek urgent medical attention/visit the emergency room if required.

This is rare but can happen, so just be alert and know what to expect.

Post-Recovery Phase

And if you’re like most patients, once you recover from surgery, you’ll be glad you finally proceeded. That’s because most patients spend months or years ‘contemplating’ and researching a desired plastic surgery procedure to restore or correct an aesthetic or medical concern. The good news is that many plastic surgery patients on consumer forums do report high patient satisfaction rates with these procedures.

But at the same time, nearly every patient questions their decisions making during the initial phases of post-op healing and recovery.

Our surgery recovery suggestions may help you recover more comfortably, and potentially more quickly. But it is important to never rush the process.

We take extra steps to ensure you are not only prepared for your surgery experience, but for your surgery recovery period as well. Our nurses will provide you with a Rapid Recovery Package to help you during your initial healing period.

Follow Ups and Check Ups

Follow-up and check-up visits are part of our service and included in your surgery cost/price quote. So be sure you do book, and attend, each and every recommended follow-up appointment including having annual check-ups with your surgeon.

*This information is general in nature; and is not a substitute for what your medical practitioner advises you to choose; be sure you get direct advice from your Surgeon and do NOT consume any substances or foods that will be harmful to your healing.

Please Contact Dr.Rubinstein’s office to book a consultation or enquire about further information regarding plastic surgery procedures.

Dr. Craig Rubinstein’s affiliations include:

fracsASAPSAustralian Society of Plastic SurgeonsASPSisaps