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24 Apr

8 Tips To Heal Faster After Cosmetic Surgery

If you want to heal as fast as possible after cosmetic surgery then follow these tips.

1. Follow your surgeon’s instructions

You might read and hear all sorts of things about the recovery process, but only your surgeon knows what is best and right for you. Always clarify things with him or her if you have doubts.

2. Have patience

Healing takes time, and everyone is different. Yours may not heal exactly like the next person’s. Swelling, bruising and skin discolouration from cosmetic surgery can last for weeks. Sometimes it takes months or even a couple of years for complete recovery. Soft tissue takes time to settle. Inflammation has to subside before you can see the final results. Talk to your surgeon about your concerns and give your body time to heal.

3. Relax and take things easy

Stress can take a toll on healing. Look at this healing period as time for stress relief, making it do double duty.

Reading, listening to relaxing music, yoga (but no vigorous moves) or meditation can help bring down stress levels. Aromas such as lavender can have a soothing effect. An aromatic bath or scented candle can help even the most fidgety person relax.

Research has shown that people who live near trees and parks have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol than those who live in a ‘concrete jungle’. A recent study from Scotland showed that a stroll through a leafy park could ease brain fatigue. You might find a walk in the park relaxing, but remember to shield your wounds from the elements. 

4.   Protect yourself from the sun and the elements

Exposure to the sun will cause skin damage or discolouration at the incision site. Sun can cause inflammation and result in a bad scar. Avoid direct exposure by wearing sunglasses, hats or other protection. Limit your time outside, as indirect exposure can also have an impact. Apply a sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or more.

Similarly avoid exposing your incisions to strong winds, dust, smoke and other irritants and pollutants. Avoid swimming and any activities that could cause exposure.

5. Avoid strenuous exercise

Even though a jog or a trip to the gym might be relaxing, avoid these activities for 4-6 weeks after cosmetic surgery (depending on the procedure). If you perform activities that increase your heart rate and blood pressure, some of the blood vessels that have sealed can be forced open causing bleeding and bruising. Be careful around pets and kids. After a tummy tuck or a mummy makeover, even lifting a toddler could compromise your recovery.

Most people return to work within a reasonable time after surgery. Be sure to tell your surgeon what your job involves. What you do will influence when it’s safe to return to normal work. How your recovery progresses will also be a factor.

6. Watch what you eat

Healing requires extra protein and calories. Bump up your protein intake and eat foods rich in vitamins A and C. There are a lot of health food supplements that promise a lot. Check with your cosmetic surgeon before using them as some of these contain elements that can harm you and slow the healing process - the opposite of what you were after.

7. Drink lots of water

Water helps cleanse the body and keep it healthy. Drink at least eight glasses of water per day. Juices, tea, coffee and sodas don't count.

8. Stay away from alcohol, drugs and tobacco

They can slow down the healing process and cause unnecessary complications.

Alcohol suppresses your immune system and makes healing more difficult. It has a dehydrating effect and can lead to bleeding.

Don't smoke, and avoid exposure to second hand smoke as well. Tobacco smoke limits the oxygen that reaches your body's cells. Your cells need oxygen to heal.

Avoid recreational and prescription drugs; even anabolic steroids used in muscle building and corticosteroids used to fight inflammation can cause problems. Some prescription drugs and supplements can increase the risk of bleeding. Recreational drugs can increase your need for pain medications, and steroids could affect how your incisions heal.

Follow these steps after cosmetic surgery to ensure a speedy and uneventful recovery.

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If you found these tips on healing after cosmetic surgery useful, please share it with your friends and family who may benefit.

Dr Naveen Somia MBBS, PhD, FRACS

Dr. Naveen Somia is a Sydney Plastic Surgeon who listens to his patients, understands their problems and works alongside them to help achieve their aesthetic goals by applying his skills and years of experience in Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery. A published author on Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery, Naveen’s blog is aimed at helping you make the right choices and stay safe in your quest to look your personal best.