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Plastic Surgery Recovery Guide

As a patient of Dr. Erik J. Miles’, you can expect to be provided with straightforward information about your plastic surgery at every stage. From your initial consultation onward, Dr. Miles will advise you openly and honestly, educating you about your options, addressing your concerns, and answering your questions. If there is a point that is unclear to you, he will explain it in plain English. You will know what to expect before, during, and after any procedure that you elect to undergo.

The following information about plastic surgery recovery at our Charlotte, NC practice should be taken as only as a general recommendation and is provided strictly for educational purposes. During your consultation with Dr. Miles, he will provide you with information specific to your procedure and your case. However, if you take anything away from reading this page, please take away the following:

  • Any plastic surgery procedure that you undergo, no matter how minimally invasive, will require at least some recovery time on your part, during which you will have to be protective of the treatment area.
  • Your timely and healthy recovery and your ability to achieve the best possible results will depend on how carefully you follow the post-surgical instructions provided to you by Dr. Miles.

These two points are true of every plastic surgery procedure offered at North Charlotte Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. For further details about the specific procedure in which you are interested, please schedule your initial consultation with Dr. Miles today.

General Guidelines for Recovering from Plastic Surgery

Obviously, every plastic surgery procedure will have its own recovery guidelines, and even then, many of these guidelines will be further adjusted to address concerns and issues specific to each patient. Nevertheless, there are general guidelines that apply across the board to any plastic surgery procedure you could possibly undergo. These include:

Know in advance how much time you will need to take off work.

The more complex the procedure, the more time you will likely need to take off work. For example, you may be able to return to work within about a week of undergoing:

However, you will have to wait at least two weeks after undergoing:

Many body contouring procedures require significant time away from work, including up to three weeks for:

Recovering from plastic surgery can be stressful enough. Make sure that you err on the side of caution and request the full amount of time off work that you could possibly need to recover. Also keep in mind that the timeframe to return to work is somewhat dependent on what your job is.  There is a big difference between sitting at a desk job for a few hours a day, and working at a job that requires more physical exertion such as heavy lifting or extensive walking.   Sometimes work restrictions are given to patients when they initially return to their job.  Many patients will be on a “light duty” status for a short period of time.

Really, seriously, whatever you do – DO NOT SMOKE.

If you are not a smoker, congratulations – you can skip this section. If you currently smoke and are considering plastic surgery, you would be wise to give up the habit before consulting with Dr. Miles. The truth of the matter is that you should not smoke in the weeks prior to surgery, and you cannot smoke during your recovery period. Smoking during your recovery can interfere with proper healing, potentially leading to major complications and putting your health at risk. At the very least, it will likely prevent you from achieving the best possible results, and it can certainly delay those results.

Think carefully about why you are considering plastic surgery. Is it to rejuvenate your appearance? To make yourself look healthier, fresher, more vital? If so, then you should really take this opportunity to give up smoking not just in the short term, but permanently. In order to maintain your plastic surgery results, you must commit yourself to a health post-surgical lifestyle. Smoking is one of the surest ways to undermine your results.  Surgical complications are greatly increased in smokers.

Keep reasonable expectations in mind.

During your consultation, Dr. Miles will help you to establish reasonable and realistic expectations for your surgery. In fact, your ability to realize these expectations is essential to identifying you as a suitable candidate for the procedure in which you’re interested. It is important that you keep these expectations in mind throughout your recovery period. Don’t be discouraged by your appearance as you heal; swelling and bruising are to be expected during this time.  Healing takes several months, so remember that healing is ongoing even after you initially return to your regular routine.  It is too early to make any determinations about your final results during this time.  In due time your body will heal and your results will be more evident.

Have a support system close at hand.

Immediately after your surgery, you will need to arrange to have someone drive you to and from our North Charlotte plastic surgery office.  You will also need to have someone help you around the house, most likely for a day or two. What many patients do not realize, however, is how much love and support they will require beyond this first day or two as they recover from surgery. The plastic surgery recovery period can be highly emotional and even depressing for some patients. Patients are taken out of their daily routines, not permitted to exercise, neither looking nor feeling their best, and more or less confined to their homes. Having loved ones close by can make a profound difference in their moods and states of mind, which in turn can help to accelerate their healing.

Be diligent in following Dr. Miles’ post-surgical instructions.

As stated above, your ability to recovery in a timely fashion and to achieve the best possible results will depend heavily on how closely you follow the post-surgical instructions Dr. Miles provides to you before you undergo surgery. These instructions will provide you with specific information as to:

  • The medications you should take and when to take them.
  • The dressings you should use, how often they should be changed, and when you may stop using them.
  • Proper use of compression garments.
  • Restrictions you must abide by regarding lifting heavy objects, raising your hands above your head, doing exercise beyond light walking, bathing and showering, exposing yourself to direct sunlight, and returning to work.
  • When to schedule and attend follow-up appointments.
  • Potential complications to be aware of and when to notify Dr. Miles of these complications.
  • How to reduce pain and swelling.
  • How to use drains, if they have been placed.

If you have any questions about the instructions provided to you, it is important that you pose them to Dr. Miles as soon as they arise. If you follow your post-surgical instructions to the letter, you will help to ensure the fastest, most comfortable and successful recovery period possible.

Learn More about the Plastic Surgery Recovery Period

For information about plastic surgery recovery that is specific to your case, please contact North Charlotte Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery today.