Instructions After Cosmetic Plastic Surgery, Part 1

Instructions After Cosmetic Plastic Surgery, Part 1

Cosmetic surgery instructions

Every cosmetic plastic surgery has healing and recovery phases that are common to all surgeries as well as more specific recovery needs. Here are some of the instructions common to all surgeries that are important for you to know about and follow in the first days after surgery. Other instructions are given for the days following your first post-operative visit. Here are the instructions I give my patients in several parts. Your plastic surgeon may give you other instructions, and you should always follow your own plastic surgeon’s advice.

Medications after surgery


Take your medications as directed. If you have had cosmetic surgery involving muscle repair, such as a tummy tuck or breast enlargement surgery, I would have prescribed a muscle relaxant such as Valium (diazepam) in addition to medications for your pain. It is important to alternate between these two meds and not take them at the same time, otherwise you will become too sleepy and get knocked out! Take one pill every three hours alternatively if you need to. Do not get up in the middle of the night to take medication. Get your night’s sleep.
If you do not have pain, do not take narcotics, but you can take Tylenol (acetaminophen). Under no circumstances should you take aspirin or similar drugs after surgery. Drugs to be avoided include aspirin, Advil, Motrin, ibuprofen, Excedrin, etc. These drugs will increase your risk of bleeding after surgery by thinning your blood. Take all antibiotics prescribed until they are finished. Stopping a course of antibiotics midway through can increase your risk of infection.
Take all medications you normally take as directed unless told not to do so by your plastic surgeon.

Nausea and vomiting


Nausea and vomiting can occur in the first few hours after surgery, either due to the effects of anesthesia or to an allergy or sensitivity to medications. If you do have nausea, stop eating and drinking at once. Wait for the feeling to pass and then start off with ice chips and fluids, and then move on to solid food.
If you experience vomiting, stop all medications and intake of fluids and food. Wait for 3-4 hours and then start again with ice chips and fluids. If in pain, take Tylenol at this point. You should then start taking your medications again slowly to see which one is the cause of the sensitivity, if any.

Eating and drinking after surgery


You can eat whatever you want. Start off with lighter foods, such as soups, and if you do not have any nausea, move on to regular solid food. There are no restrictions in Western medicine of the types of food that are permissible after surgery. In Eastern medicine there are traditions of avoiding beef and seafood during the first month after surgery. I tell patients to do what they want, as I have no medical proof one way or another! It is very important to drink fluids after surgery—more than you normally would. Cosmetic surgery will dehydrate your body like other surgeries. Drink at least 1 gallon of fluids in the 24 hours after surgery. It does not have to be water; it can be tea, juices or soft drinks, if you prefer. If you have had abdominal surgery, such as a tummy tuck, drink non-carbonated drinks to decrease the risk of abdominal bloating.