Recovery is a process. Painkillers will be prescribed to treat post-operative pain. Wounds will be covered with appropriate dressings. In most cases, surgery will have been done in my own facility, Tranquillity Clinic, and you will be discharged on the day of surgery. Discharge will occur once you are up and about, eating, drinking, talking and able to pass urine. You will be given discharge instructions by the nurses, medication as required and a follow up appointment for your first post-operative check up.
During the first night it is likely that things will feel a little sore and that some blood will collect under or on the dressing. Excessive swelling and pain, however, should be reported. Danni, the nursing sister who works closely with me in looking after you before and after surgery, will usually call you to check in with you and to discuss any issues or problems you may have.
The first post-operative visit is to make sure that you are alright and recovering well. Usually the wounds are not examined at this visit, but rather at a later visit a few days later. I prefer to keep the wounds covered and dressed to allow them to heal as best as possible.
Bruising and swelling tend to peak at about days 3 to 5 after surgery, after which they tend to subside, usually disappearing at about 10 days to 2-3 weeks post op. Some patients bruise and swell more than others, some less, it varies from individual to individual. Some patients experience more pain, some less. We all have a different pain threshold.
Scarring takes a year or two to mature into a thin, fine, pale line. It is usual for scars to be red and slightly raised early on. My usual scar management program is to use Micropore tape (3M) which is applied directly to the scar and directly over the scar. The micropore is left in place as long as possible. One wants to minimise changes of the micropore to avoid damaging the delicate layer of new skin cells forming on the scar, but one also wants to maintain good hygiene and so when the micropore is starting to look tatty or lift at the edges, usually 1-2 weeks after application, then it can be removed, you can wash, and then the tape can be re-applied. We prefer skin coloured micropore which is difficult to get hold of, but which we sell in the rooms. Other kinds of tape can also be used if prefered (for example Hypafix). Tissue oils containing vitamins E or A can be applied on top of the tape, but I believe that taping is better than topical vitamins. Taping works by stabalising the scar, thereby minimising excessive collagen and scar tissue production. Some scars are not ammenable to taping, for example eyelid cuts or the scars of facelift. Tissue oils can be applied to facelift scars if required or desired.
The final result from your surgery can take months to be apparent. Over time there is a further subsidence of slight swelling, if liposuction has been done then the little tunnels created by the cannula shrink down and suck in giving an enhancement of the result over time, tissue softens, scars mature and generally the result improves over time.
9 February 2012