Plastic Surgery Recovery - What to Expect

Doctors have broken down the recovery period into three phases to help monitor the progress of recuperation:


Phase 1: Day 1-10 post-operation

You may feel cold or nauseated immediately after waking up. This is normal within the recovery process. Light pain or discomfort is also normal and can be remedied using oral prescriptions. The pain should subside after two days. Severe pain is rare and when it happens, you should immediately consult your doctor. Expect bruising and swelling together with some slight drainage in some instances. You may be placed under a compression garment, wear this as directed. To help in the healing process as well as to reduce swelling, stand straight and lie down on a decline, not flat. Walk often to boost blood circulation and prevent the formation of blood clots.

Phase 2: 10-30 Days

Going into your second week after the operation, its not uncommon to feel swollen. Some patients report strange sensations such as burning, tingling, tightness and numbness. These are all normal. The swelling at this point should have well dissipated as things start to improve.

Going into the third and fourth week, real recovery takes place. You should be able to put on your make up at this point or even wash your hair. Refrain from strenuous activities such as bending or heavy lifting. Dont go swimming, water skiing or diving. Until this point, it is also essential that you avoid drugs such as aspirin or any anti-inflammatory medication.

Phase 3: 30 days to beyond

The amount of time it takes for you to get back to a normal routine after an operation is two weeks but the time it will take for all the swelling, bruising and changes to resolve permanently is a year. Use good sense and follow your plastic surgeon’s directions religiously throughout.

A picture of Patrick J. O’Neill, MD wearing his doctor attire.

About the Author

Upon completing medical school at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC, Dr. O’Neill completed nine years of residency training. These nine years included a full general surgery and a plastic surgery residency, both at the Medical University of South Carolina, and a hand and microsurgery fellowship at the Kleinert Institute for Hand and Microsurgery. Dr. O’Neill has extensive certifications, training, skills, and knowledge that make him a successful physician who can carry out your next plastic surgery procedure. His expertise and technique will result in the beautiful and natural look you desire post surgery.

Board Certified:
American Board of Surgery
American Board of Plastic Surgery
Sub-Certification in Hand and Microsurgery

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