Minimizing Swelling after Plastic Surgery
By David Passaretti, MD on April 10, 2017
Every year, many Americans turn to plastic surgery to address aesthetic imperfections. With cosmetic treatment, these individuals are able to enhance their natural beauty and eliminate a range of cosmetic flaws, including signs of aging and unwanted fat. While plastic surgery can provide dramatic results, all patients should be prepared for the recovery period that can be expected following treatment.
Whether undergoing facial plastic surgery to turn back the hands of time or body contouring treatment to improve the figure, side effects are a natural part of the recovery process. The most common of these side effects is swelling. Swelling after plastic surgery may concern our Fairfield, CT patients, but it is all part of the healing process. Experienced plastic surgeon David Passaretti helps his patients understands why swelling is so common after surgical treatment, and what can be done to minimize this side effect.
What Leads to Swelling after Plastic Surgery?
When the body is harmed or injured, it immediately does what it can to heal itself. This is what causes swelling after plastic surgery. Even though cosmetic surgery is elective, the body views these procedures as a trauma, and it quickly acts to recover from the event. The primary response when the body has been harmed is to send an excess of nutrients through the blood stream. This extra flow of blood causes the surgical site to swell up. In most cases, inflammation is the most severe around two to three days after surgery, but it is common for some degree of swelling to persist for several weeks.
Although inflammation can be a helpful part of the healing process, too much inflammation can affect the body’s ability to recover. That is why it is important for patients to monitor swelling, and do what they can to minimize this side effect. Below are some helpful tips for minimizing swelling during plastic surgery recovery:
- Allow the body to rest, as this is an important part of recovery, but keep swollen areas slightly elevated to promote good blood circulation
- Avoid strenuous activity, but strive to take short, frequent walks throughout the early days of recovery
- Use cold compresses or ice packs to reduce swelling
- A compression garment can be helpful in reducing swelling and is often provided after plastic surgery
- Maintain a well-balanced diet that is rich in nutrients and low in salt
- Drink enough water to stay hydrated
- Refrain from smoking or using other tobacco products
As long as a patient follows all post-surgical care instructions and gives these tips a try, swelling should not be too difficult to manage. In most cases, about 75 percent of swelling is gone within two weeks of surgery and inflammation should be nearly gone by about four weeks after treatment. If swelling continues to be a problem, it should be reported to Dr. Passaretti as soon as possible.
If you are considering plastic surgery, contact us at your earliest convenience to learn more about the full range of cosmetic services available at the practice of Dr. David Passaretti. Dr. Passaretti will create a custom treatment plan to meet your unique cosmetic needs and wants.
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"Thank you for making me look like a work of art! I sincerely appreciate everything that you’ve done for me."-Plastic Surgery Patient