Created on 20th September 2011
If you’re thinking about having cosmetic surgery, consider the post-operative effects like swelling, bruising and scarring,as well as how much time you will need to recover to achieve the best results. Jenny Pitt investigates
Although you will have a clear idea of what you want to achieve with your cosmetic procedure, you need to take into account the mmediate effects post-surgery. Your skin will begin to heal itself very quickly and there are a number of products which can help, like arnica to ease bruising, compression garments to help reduce swelling and oils and gels to help scars fade more quickly. What’s more, your physical fitness and health will affect the time in which you heal.
What you should expect after breast surgery An invasive surgical procedure like this will cause swelling, which should go down after six weeks, while bruising should subside after the first week. The swelling isn’t vastly going to change your intended bust size. “Swelling is usually minimal and I ask patients to buy and wear the bra size they want to be. Within two weeks, 80% of swelling settles and 100% by two to three months,” reassures consultant reconstructive and aesthetic surgeon, CC Kat.
As you get used to your new breasts, you might feel an odd ‘sloshing’ or `crackling’ sensation, which is caused by trapped air in the breast pocket, which is usually absorbed within three weeks. You may well experience burning or itching sensations in your nipples or they might feel numb. All this is normal, explains Patrick Mallucci, consultant plastic surgeon at London Plastic Surgery Associates, “These sensations are quite common and usually take a few weeks to settle,” he explains.” You can get alteration to the sensitivity of the nipple – either reduced or hypersensitive – but these normally settle after the initial six week period.”
One of your major concerns might well be the scars and how long you an expect to wait until they have subsided. Your skin naturally begins its healing process within a couple of weeks, and this is usually the time frame in which you would have your dressings removed, but don’t expect a quick fix, you will have to be patient, explains Patrick Mallucci. “It takes a considerable time for scars to fade – normally 12 to 18 months before they reach their final ‘look’. During this time scars go from being red and lumpy to being soft and pale. Some skin types have a greater tendency to scar than others and may require a longer time to settle.”
You will be advised by your surgeon as to the most appropriate products to speed up the healing process. Silicone-based tapes and gels are often used on scars, as well as bio oils, which are massaged into the scars for up to a year after surgery. A new product to try is Heal, which combines many elements including silicone, arnica and natural anti-inflammatories to optimise healing – it saves using two or three separate products. Your surgeon will usually recommend that you wear a surgical bra for a while and that your complete recovery from the procedure should be within about six weeks, whereby you can return to exercising and get back to normal.
How long before you seehe results of a facelift or nose procedure?
To ensure you recover quickly from a facelift or nose surgery, it’s best not to move much within the first couple of days after your surgery and keep your head upright. Your recovery time depends on the amount of cosmetic work you have had done and your age. “It does take time to feel normal again. In terms of a major facelift, a relatively young patient in good health should recover within a week to ten days,” says Simon Withey, plastic surgeonat London Plastic Surgery Associates.
Often your face may feel numb or tight in certain areas, but this is usually a temporary sensation. With rhinoplasty, after the swelling has subsided and the bruising has faded, it may still be a while until you’re satisfied with your new nose shape. “Sometimes, you will not see the final result for up to 12 months – it takes time to adjust to a new look,” says Mary Burney, managing director of MySpa Clinics. During your healing process you may want to use a camouflage cream that helps your scars heal while covering them up. Delicate, healing skin needs a specialist foundation or concealer that lets your skin breathe and heal. An innovative product which you might like to research is called Lycogel. It’s available as both a foundation in a variety of skin tones, and a darker concealer for areas such as circles under your eyes.
What to expect after eyelid surgery
If you want to change the look of your upper or lower eyelids, then there are a few things you should bear in mind. You will experience swelling and tightness and possibly even altered vision while your eyes heal, while the area around the eyes bruises very easily and this can take up to a month to subside.
You may even discover you have extra sensitivity to light and that your eyes are very watery for a few weeks. You might want to stay in or not go to work for a couple of weeks and avoid any excessive physical activity, as well as not drinking alcohol. In terms of covering up scars and redness, a specialist concealer, like Lycogel will be your best option.
This type of gel contains live yeast cell derivatives which work with your skin while it is healing, ensuring it can ‘breathe’ and the concealer is safe to use close to your eyes.
How you will heal after a tummy tuck or liposuction
After surgery you will experience swelling in your abdomen and bruising for about three weeks. You may also find you have some pain, numbness and burning sensations, which are all temporary and your surgeon will be on hand to give you pain relief. “Most people will take one to two weeks off ork to recover – the tummy tuck scar is quite a long one and good healing is essential for recovery,” explains Patrick Mallucci.
What’s more, your new streamlined tummy will feel immediately different to you. “The first week after surgery, your mobility is often a little restricted – the new tummy feels tight! This feeling of tightness usually eases during the second week and continues to improve, reaching full recovery in terms of activity at about six weeks after surgery. At this stage you can return to normal exercise,” says Patrick.
Your healing time after liposuction depends on the size of the area that is being treated. “Small, localised areas incur very little downtime and a very rapid recovery,” says Patrick. He goes on to explain that larger areas require a longer period to heal. “Much larger areas will take longer to recover from. I warn people to expect bruising for the first two weeks after surgery and some discomfort during this period (easily controlled with mild pain killers).
For up to six weeks after surgery, you will probably have to wear a tight support garment. Although six weeks is a general guideline for full recovery and the result which you wanted, small changes will occur for a while afterwards as Patrick explains: “Your appearance following liposuction probably continues to improve for some months after the initial healing period, as micro swelling and skin contraction over the areas add to the overall result.”
With any cosmetic procedure you must clearly understand the post-operative issues with regards to healing, and to not set overly ambitious goals: “Golden rules for recovery start from the pre-operative visits – a good understanding of what the procedure involves, what complications might possibly arise and that your expectations are not unrealistic,” says Patrick. What’s more, it pays dividends to be in tiptop physical shape and to ensure you have adequate time to rest properly after surgery, as Patrick explains: “A good build-up to surgery includes a healthy diet, regular exercise and rest. Following surgery, people are encouraged to mobilise early (pain and discomfort permitting) rather than languish in bed. It is important to return to normality as soon as possible without over doing things.”