Cosmetic surgical procedures are increasingly becoming part of the mainstream. According to a report by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, there were 2,314,720 cosmetic surgical procedures in 2020. This figure is up 22% compared to 20 years ago. The most common procedures done were breast augmentations, buttock implants, and facial surgeries.

Indeed, plastic surgery is a growing industry and a steadily rising trend in America. Now, there’s more information and transparency about cosmetic surgical procedures. As more people are looking to go under the knife – or the needle – there’s also a need to learn about proper post-operative care. Start with the following:

Take all your medication

During the first 24 to 48 hours following your surgery, you can expect discomfort. You’ll be advised to take narcotic painkillers to help manage post-op discomfort as well as over-the-counter pain medications, such as Tylenol or Advil. Your surgeon may also prescribe you opioid medication like Percocet, Oxycontin, or Vicodin. It’s important to note that these are highly addictive. You should only take these upon your doctor’s instructions. A cosmetic surgeon’s role entails so much more than performing the procedure; it also covers medication and post-op management.

While under these medications, you may experience fatigue, bradycardia, nausea, constipation, skin rash, or irregular breathing. If you have implants, they would most likely settle in place during this period. So it’s best that in the first couple of days, you take it easy.

Follow all post-op measures

Immediately after surgery, particularly invasive ones, you’ll be spending a few hours in the recovery room where a nurse checks on you regularly. These post-operative nurses are specially trained to assist you through the first stages of your recovery. They’ll apply cool compresses on your eyes and cheeks to reduce swelling or bruising following your surgery. Post-operative nursing is one of the nursing careers that require professionals to undergo further training and certification programs before they’re licensed to practice. These nursing specialists don’t just provide post-op care, but they’re also capable of giving you information on post-op measures to take at home.

You should take this time to ask all your questions before you’re discharged. It’s the perfect opportunity to glean tips to avoid infections, keloid scars, and other undesirable post-op results. Moreover, you can and should always direct your inquiries to your clinic. Your nurse or surgeon should be able to give you advice that’s best suited for your case.

Protect your skin from the sun

The sun’s harsh rays have always been damaging to the skin, even before surgery. However, it’s even more harmful to post-op skin. Direct sun exposure can cause sunburn and darken a healing scar. This makes your procedure look patchy and more noticeable. It may even irritate the skin surrounding your incision, causing inflammation.

For the first three weeks after your plastic surgery, it’s recommended that you stay out of the sun completely. And if you can’t avoid being out during the day, use sunscreen. Choose ones that are SPF 30 and up. Sunscreen should be part of your daily routine, anyway. Whether it’s been three weeks or three years from your cosmetic procedure, you’ll benefit from daily sun protection. It helps you avoid wrinkles and lessens the risk of skin cancer.

Recovery and healing after plastic surgery is a crucial part of the entire process. The way you take care of your skin and body during this time will have lasting impacts on the surgical outcome. So be patient, accountable, and consistent.

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