Recovery and downtime are part of the facial plastic surgery journey. Your new nose or younger-looking face won’t be instantly visible. Your body needs time to heal. Usually, the initial recovery period lasts about a week or two. After that, your surgeon will most likely give you permission to head back to work or to resume certain activities.
Taking up to two weeks off to rest and recuperate might not seem like much fun. But, with some careful planning, you can make your recovery period a comfortable and possibly even enjoyable one.
Stock Up on Soft, Bland Foods
Chewing might be a challenge after you have a rhinoplasty or other facial surgery. You don’t want to move your jaw too much or you risk disturbing the sutures or affecting the results of the procedure. Get your kitchen and pantry ready for your recovery time by stocking up on easy to swallow, soft foods beforehand. Canned or boxed soups are great to have, because they are filling and easy to prepare.
Your surgeon might recommend sticking with liquids for the first few hours after your surgery. After that, light meals are recommended. If you feel very hungry after your procedure, it’s usually okay to eat, but check with your surgeon before you have a big, full meal.
Pick Out a Good Chair
Although you’ll be able to walk around within the first few days after your procedure, having a great chair to relax in can help make the recovery a bit more comfortable. Since keeping your head elevated after a facelift or other facial surgery is recommended, to keep swelling and bruising down, picking out a chair that reclines slightly while keeping the head propped up is usually optimal: something like a La-Z-Boy or other recliner so that you have a comfortable seat to settle into.
Stock Up on Pillows
Pillows can be your best friend during your recovery period. Usually, surgeons recommend sleeping with your head elevated, lying on your back. A few pillows can give you just the right amount of lift to keep bruising to a minimum. If you’re not used to sleeping on your back, putting a few pillows along each side of you can help keep you from rolling over to your side or stomach in your sleep. It can also be comforting to hold a pillow as you sit and relax. You can really never have too many pillows.
Take It Easy
A big part of the recovery process after a facelift is relaxing and taking it easy. Admittedly, that can be difficult to do, especially if you are usually an active person. Instead of thinking about the things you can’t do while you recuperate, think of the things you’ll finally get around to doing. The first few days after surgery are a great time to listen to your favorite music, catch up on your favorite shows or see films you missed. If you’ve had eyelid surgery, now’s a great time to catch up with audiobooks or to listen to popular podcasts.
Don’t Forget the Ice
Ice packs or cold compresses can help reduce swelling and bruising. They also feel a bit soothing. You can make up a few ice packs before your procedure to have ready afterwards, using ice cubes and plastic bags. A less messy option is to soak a washcloth in cold water, wring it out and freeze it for about 15 minutes. The cloth will be cold enough to do the trick, but won’t leak all over the place when the ice starts melting. You can also buy first aid ice packs, which become cold without the need for freezing them.
Recovery Starts Before Surgery
Ideally, preparation for your recovery period should begin several weeks before you even have surgery, right around the time of your consultation. Your surgeon will most likely recommend some lifestyle changes to you, if needed, such as quitting smoking. You might be told to cut back on alcoholic beverages, as well.
It’s also a good idea to start eating a healthy diet in advance of your surgery. The better you eat, the better prepared your body will be to handle the recovery period. Fill up on foods that are packed with nutrients, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean meats. Talk to your surgeon if you have any questions about diet and nutrition before the surgery.
Dr. Nathan Nachlas is a double board certified facial plastic surgeon in Boca Raton, Florida. Dr. Nachlas is committed to helping patients feel healthier and happier after surgery. To find out more about your surgical options and ways to enjoy a comfortable recovery, contact Dr. Nachlas for a consultation today by calling (561) 939-0909 or you can request an appointment online at drnachlas.com/contact-us.