Plastic Surgery Recovery
Recovery From Plastic Surgery by Steven J. White MD
Will I be Able to Tolerate the Pain Post-Operatively?
Each patient will tolerate pain post-operatively in a different way. While some patients may describe the pain as an ache, others experience greater discomfort. Appropriate pain medications are prescribed for post-operative patients, and these help minimize discomfort. Most facial-cosmetic operations have minimal postoperative discomfort. Liposuction is slightly more uncomfortable, and operations that require elevation or tightening of the muscles, such as an abdominoplasty or breast augmentation, have discomfort equal to that of a C-section.
How Long Is the Recuperative Period, and When Can I Return to Work?
The length of time it takes to recuperate after plastic surgery varies depending on the procedure performed and the person operated on. Patients generally will require assistance for the first two days. Then most patients are able to care for themselves but may still need assistance if they have small children to care for. The specific lengths of disability are outlined below by procedure. These are approximations and do not include return to exercise.
- Eyelid Surgery – Usually can get around independently by the second day. With the use of sunglasses, may feel comfortable going to the store by day three to four. With makeup could return to work by five to seven days.
- Facelift Surgery – Usually can get around independently by the second day. Usually do not feel comfortable going out in public for five to seven days. Requires 10 to 14 days before returning to work if in the public eye.
- Breast Surgery – Usually can get around independently by the second day. May return to work at five to seven days if not required to lift more than 15 pounds.
- Liposuction – Usually can get around independently by the second day, earlier if smaller number of areas treated. One can return to work and normal activities in five to seven days.
- Abdominoplasty – Patients may take between two to four days before getting around independently. The recovery is almost identical to C-section. One can return to a desk job at five to seven days, other jobs 10 to 14 days.
When Can I Resume Regular Exercise?
The time a patient resumes regular exercises varies based on the operation performed. All patients are encouraged to start a slow walking routine on the second postoperative day. Regular aerobic and more vigorous activities are not allowed during the first two weeks to decrease the risks of bleeding, swelling and bruising. Weight lifting and contact sports are allowed at one month in most cases.
* All information subject to change. Images may contain models.