Cosmetic surgery instructions

This is the third and final segment on general post-operative instructions after cosmetic plastic surgery.

Constipation post-surgery

Pain medication will constipate you. Studies show that 80% of women have trouble with constipation anyway, even before taking narcotics. Narcotics will make constipation worse, and it is important to prevent this from occurring as it will just add to your misery. First, make sure you drink lots of fluids. Take stool softeners such as Metamucil fiber and be prepared to take laxatives such as Ex-Lax and suppositories such as Dulcolax in case it does set in. If you still have no relief, you may need a Fleet enema. All of these over-the-counter medications are readily available at any pharmacy.

Washing after surgery

No showers or baths are allowed until you are allowed to take them by your cosmetic plastic surgeon! You can clean your body through cat washes, but do not get your bandages wet. Wounds need at least 48 hours to become waterproof. However, you can wash your hair 24 hours after surgery. Use soap and water to clean above wounds and let the water run down over the incisions, but be careful not to rub your wounds—it will hurt! The first time you take a shower, make sure you have someone helping you or close by. The warm water may cause dilation of blood vessels in the skin and lead to a brief fainting spell as your blood pressure drops. Be prepared and have a stool or chair nearby. Be prepared to moisturize your skin. Surgery makes the skin dry, and any body lotion will help your skin and make you feel better.


After any cosmetic plastic surgery, you will have scars. Whether you notice them or not depends on several factors, including your particular skin type, placement of the scars, tension on the wound and after care. For the initial period after bandages are removed, I recommend you use an antibiotic cream on scars, such as Neosporin. Any Vaseline-based cream will protect the healing incision from the environment and provide a closed and waterproof yet moist environment for skin cells to grow in. Washing the area with soap and water daily will kill any bacteria around the skin. After a week, or when the wounds are well closed, silicone creams can be placed on the wounds. Silicone has the ability to change the direction of collagen fibers in scars and organize them into a more ordered placement, which leads to a better scar. Use silicone creams for at least two months after surgery. During the six months following cosmetic surgery it is also important to keep the wound away from the sun and to wear sunblock on scars to prevent hyper-pigmentation. If scars do become dark after sun exposure, you will need bleaching creams to improve them.

Finally, scars love to be touched. Massage scars as often as possible but not to the point that you rub the skin off so that you cause bruising (which I have seen patients do!).



If you are unclear about any instructions, call the office or plastic surgeon directly. It is better to know and be reassured than to remain unsure and worried.


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