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Plan Ahead: Post-Op Care for Common Plastic Surgery Procedures

Planning for your post-operative care before going in for plastic surgery will make the overall experience much easier. You can prepare meals in advance, schedule appropriate time off work, and make sure you have enough pillows ready so that you will be able to sleep comfortably, and make sure that you have someone around who can help you while you’re healing. The most important thing is to fill any prescriptions as soon as possible and follow all advice that your surgeon gives you.


Depending on the type of procedure you plan to undergo, you may be on a liquid diet for a few days before starting soft foods and eventually going back to the foods you were eating before surgery. Stocking up on broth and other foods that are easy on the body before your surgery will save you time and hassle when you are recovering. You can even make meals ahead of time and freeze them so that they can be reheated during your recovery period. You should get as much rest as possible after your procedure, and knowing that your meals have already been prepared will help you relax so that your body can heal effectively.

Sleep and Activity

Your surgeon will tell you how long you should rest between periods of activity. It’s important to take it easy as much as possible, and preparing a recovery area in your home before surgery will give you a familiar place to relax. If you have undergone a procedure that affects your facial area, try using extra pillows to make yourself comfortable for sleep. Your ability to bend and lift may be limited post-surgery, so asking someone to help you around the house for a few days is a good move, especially if you have young children that need to be cared for. Ask your surgeon how long it will be before you are able to move around without restrictions. Following medical advice after surgery is vital to your recovery, even if you feel better than expected more swiftly.

Caring for Your Wounds

Stock up on basic first-aid supplies such as cotton balls, hydrogen peroxide, gauze, and ice packs before your procedure, as you probably won’t make it to the store for several days unless your procedure was very minor. Your surgeon will tell you how to care for your dressing, so listen carefully and bring a friend to corroborate information. They will probably also give you a printout that details how your wounds should be cared for as well as any warning signs that you should keep an eye out for during the healing process. Keep this printout and make sure you put it on your refrigerator or bulletin board so that you can refer to it often. Depending on your procedure, you may also want to keep a heating pad close to help relax your muscles.

Wound dressings should be changed according to the schedule you were given by the surgeon. While you are changing the dressing, look at the wound carefully to see how well it is healing. Call your surgeon as soon as possible if you notice warning signs of infection such as swelling, weeping, or abnormal redness. You should also call your surgeon if any of your stitches begin to come loose.

Pain Management

Your surgeon will likely give you a prescription for pain medicine, which should be filled as soon as possible. Even if you don’t feel that you need pain medication right away, having the prescription filled means that the medication will be available immediately when you need it. Make sure you have plenty of over-the-counter pain medication at home so that you won’t have to buy it when you are past the point of needing prescription medication for pain. Talk to your surgeon about pain management before your procedure so that you have a plan in place and won’t take over-the-counter medication that will negatively affect your recovery.

Listen to Your Surgeon (and Your Body)

Everyone’s recovery process is different, so try not to get discouraged if you are taking longer to recover from your procedure than people you know. Stocking up on essential foods and first-aid supplies before surgery will make your recovery easier, and following the advice you are given by your surgeon is imperative to a quick recovery.

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