The dreaded swelling that occurs after plastic surgery can make it obvious to others, but especially to you, that you have undergone an operation. Although patients know that the swelling will not last forever, they still want to find a way to minimize its severity. Certainly, there are ways to reduce swelling after plastic surgery. In the best cases, patients adjust their eating and lifestyle habits in the weeks leading up to their surgical dates, and then follow a recovery regimen to speed the healing process. Here, Dr. Paul Pin offers pre- and post-operative instructions to reduce swelling after plastic surgery.
What You Can Do Before Surgery
Following these recommendations for two to three weeks before your operation will help keep swelling to a minimum.
- Decrease your sodium intake: Sodium is known to cause inflammation and bloating. Therefore, it makes sense that reducing your sodium consumption will in turn reduce inflammation after surgery.
- Stop drinking alcohol: Avoiding, or at least minimizing, your use of alcoholic beverages is beneficial to patients who are about to undergo surgery. Alcohol is known to result in fluid retention and bloating, and could result in extra swelling during the recovery phase. In addition, alcohol can interfere with the anesthesia used during surgery, so it is best to avoid alcohol for at least a few days before surgery.
- Do not smoke: Smoking cigarettes slows the healing process. To ensure that you have a quick and comfortable recovery period, with as little swelling as possible, try to quit smoking for at least three weeks before surgery.
What You Can Do After Surgery
It is still possible to reduce swelling after you have undergone plastic surgery. We recommend that our patients:
- Maintain a low sodium diet: Continue to reduce your sodium consumption in the weeks after surgery, when swelling is likely to be at its worst. This may take some planning ahead of time, as you probably won't be able to go to the store for or make low sodium meals. Dr. Pin recommends that you make some low sodium soups and meals before surgery to ensure that you can stick to your low sodium diet while you recover.
- Not engage in any activity that raises the blood pressure: Any increase in blood pressure can increase inflammation. Be sure to avoid any vigorous or stressful activity in the weeks after surgery to keep inflammation to a minimum.
- Follow the R.I.C.E. approach: The R.I.C.E. approach stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. By resting in the days after surgery, icing the treatment area, using compression garments or bandages, and keeping the head elevated, patients can reduce inflammation and accelerate the healing process.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol: Although most patients won't feel well enough to drink or smoke, it is important to note that continuing to avoid alcoholic beverages and cigarettes will keep swelling at a minimum.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Pin and learn more about how you can reduce swelling after plastic surgery, contact our practice today.