There are a few things that you will need after you have plastic surgery. Your surgeon will provide certain items like prescription pain medication, compression garments or binders and bandages, but there are a few things you may want to have on hand to help make recovery easier.
*Note: These are only suggestions. This advice does not replace the instructions given to you by your doctor. If you have any questions about recovery after surgery, please contact your surgeon.*
Foods High in Protein
Protein helps the body heal. Stock your pantry and refrigerator with foods such as eggs, chicken, oatmeal, peanut butter, milk, tuna and Greek yogurt. You may want to make some meals ahead of time and freeze them for an easy warm-up, because you want to eat right but not spend a ton of time in the kitchen! Stay away from foods high in sodium to help reduce swelling.
Ice Packs/Heating Pads
Ice helps to reduce swelling and heat helps with those super sore muscles. You will have both! You can buy ice packs and a heating pad separately or get a multipurpose wrap. These wraps can be warmed in the microwave or put in the freezer to accommodate your needs. You can even get wraps with elastic bands that velcro and keep the wrap in place.
Your doctor will probably prescribe you some pain medication, but you will still want to have some Tylenol on hand. Narcotics can cause major constipation, something you do not want or need after surgery. Replacing the pain meds with Tylenol can help to get your body back on track. You may find that you are in more pain and discomfort at certain times during the day or night. You don’t want your prescription running out before you have recovered, so taking Tylenol during the time that the pain is less will ensure that you have pain medication to help during the times when your pain is greater.
As mentioned above, pain medication causes constipation and so does anesthesia. You will have both during your procedure. Add that to the no food and drink after midnight on the day of your surgery and you have a recipe for disaster. Stool softeners will help to get things moving and keep things comfortable until your digestive system gets back to normal working order.
You are going to be inside and probably in a bed or recliner for the biggest part of the day for at least a week. You are going to need something to keep you entertained. Stock up on books, movies and magazines. Have your favorite tablet and a charger ready to go. Research the best shows (preferably ones with more than one season) on Netflix to binge watch and add them to your list ahead of time.
You will need someone to drive you home from the hospital, and you may as well go ahead and ask them to move into the spare bedroom (unless it is your spouse!). You will need help and lots of it! If you have children, you will need someone to drive them to school, sports practice and wherever else they need to go. You will not be able to lift anything heavy, reach up high or bend over to pick stuff up off the floor, so you will need someone to help with cleaning, cooking and walking the dog. Don’t forget that you will need to be pampered too!
Pillows (Lots of Pillows)
Pillows will become your best friend. There are many different kinds of pillows that can help to aide in your recovery. Wedge pillows or husband pillows (the kind with the tiny arms) are great to support your back while you are reclining in bed. Wedge pillows are also helpful to put under your knees for support. Neck pillows will keep you comfortable if you are sleeping in a recliner for the duration of your recovery. If you do not have these items, don’t worry. You can use regular pillows. You will need several to stack up behind your back, support your neck while you sleep and stack under your knees to keep your legs bent.
You will need to keep your incision clean which will include changing your bandages regularly. Women who have tummy tucks may find that using long maxi pads is more economical and feels better than just using regular gauze.
You will not be able to shower until your drains come out (if you have them). This is usually somewhere between day seven and day fourteen post-op. That is quite a long time to go without washing your hair! Some people may try to wash their hair in a sink, but that can be painful. Dry shampoo will help eliminate the oil and keep your hair fresh until you can get a real wash.
The recovery process is slow and it can take several weeks to feel like yourself again. Be patient and remember why you wanted your procedure to begin with!
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation with one of our surgeons, please contact our office today!