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Recovery after Plastic Surgery

Post-op Tips
See each procedure for specific recovery information. Face Procedures | Breast Procedures | Body Procedures
[   ] Apply ice packs or compresses to minimize swelling
[   ] Do not take aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications (your doctor can provide you with a list of OTC medications to avoid)
[   ] Do not smoke or be exposed to secondary smoke during recovery
[   ] Avoid exposure to direct sunlight
[   ] Use a sunblock (minimum 15 SPF) to protect your skin
[   ] Go to follow up appointments to reduce complications

First visit: Bandages usually removed. Stitches that are not absorbable will be removed after 3-10 days.
Return to work: 3 days-3 weeks.
Exercise: 2 weeks after facial surgery, 4 weeks after body work.

These are general guidelines. Your doctor knows your specific situation best.


Depression is common following cosmetic surgery. There are several factors that contribute to post-operative depression, including:

  • The anticipation and stress of preparing for surgery can have a rebound effect
  • The medications, anesthesia and trauma of the surgery have physical effects that will affect your emotional well-being
  • Stress and fear regarding complications
  • Refraining from exercise can make you feel tired, blue, and out of sorts
  • Adjusting to your new look
  • Dealing with family and friends reactions to your surgery
  • Feeling guilty about having the procedure

Expecting to have a downtime and accepting it as normal will help you get back to normal sooner. Take time to relax, meditate and care for yourself. It is also important to have support from others. Be sure to ask for help from others. You can also find support online with other people who have had the same procedure and may have similar experiences.

Research shows that overall depression rates decrease overall following cosmetic surgery. Mean scores for depression* improved from 11.2 preoperatively to 6.5 at 1 month, and to 6.3 at 6 months after surgery.

*The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CESD). Source: Rankin M, Borah G, Perry AW, Wey PD, Quality-of-life-outcomes after cosmetic surgery. Plast Reconstr Surg. 1999 Sep;104(4):1209-10.

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