You need to know your post-operative and recovery instructions. These will include suggestions to eat lightly, starting with liquids for two days and moving onto soft solids. When the surgical procedures involve your face, you need to be reminded to keep your head elevated to control swelling. To sleep on your back, elevated by three pillows, for at least a week. I hated that part! Most of my clients complain that sleeping on their back elevated is a great strain. Most patients do not understand that they won't be able to strain themselves in any way, including motions requiring bending, lifting or exercise of any kind.
I consider it my job to make sure they get it. I am always surprised how many patients write to me to ask if they should take their pain medications regularly as well as the antibiotics prescribed.
The amount of information that was never told to me was astonishing in retrospect. Without really chastising any surgeon's criteria for preparing their own patients for post-op, most don't tell you all you really need to know, because they are afraid to overwhelm their patients. My advice? Tell them everything...no surprises please!
Here are some great tips for plastic surgery recovery. Gather these items well in advance so you are completely prepared:
-Lots of pillows, including one at the base of their spine and one under their knees. I also needed a pillow under my buttocks for extra softness.
-Mouthwash to rinse their mouth. It will be days until a toothbrush can fit into their mouth after a facelift. All efforts toward normalcy concerning hygiene are imperative to your patient's overall sense of well-being.
-Safe skin-care products to wash their face with for the first time. Make sure that all of their skin care is hypo-allergenic and specifically formulated for sensitive and dry skin. The cleanser must have a moisturizing component too.
-Gentle, effective creams to use on the incisions and laser surgery sites, if needed. This will include a triple antibiotic cream, a cream to massage the into scars, a moisturizer for their lips with vitamin E, an emollient body lotion, and possibly petroleum jelly. If they need the petroleum jelly, tell them to look for one in a tube versus a jar. It is so much easier to use.
-A stool softener or mild laxative since the pain medications are usually binding. What can also be binding is the inactivity. Having a tough time performing even the most rudimentary body functions is a bore!
-An over-the-counter aid for sleeping. I recommend Melatonin to all my clients. I've been taking it for years to help me sleep through my husband's snoring! In the morning I wake up quickly and without any grogginess. Remind your patients that rest and sleep are imperative to their healing process. If they have trouble falling asleep under normal conditions like I do, postoperative sleep will probably not come easy, even with the pain medication. Ask them.
-Homeopathic remedies used for healing the surgical wounds, reducing the bruising and detoxification from the anesthesia. Many or your patients may not be aware of the growing respect alternative healing products have in today's modern medical practice. As you know, homeopathy is a natural pharmaceutical science that uses extremely small, nontoxic doses of substances from the plant, mineral, animal and chemical kingdoms. Homeopathic remedies are curative because they aid the body's overall defenses rather than simply treating the symptoms. These remedies stimulate the person's immune system thereby strengthening the individual's ability to heal. Join the ranks of progressive surgeons by recommending such remedies as part of your healing philosophy.
-Soft foods and water-including protein shakes, fruit to be pureed, applesauce, oatmeal, yogurt, etc.
-Plenty of juice. Tell them to be careful with highly acidic juices like orange and grapefruit juice that could sour their stomach. The last thing you want is having your patients throw up immediately after surgery.
-Flexible straws. The straws will need to have flexible ends so they can drink liquids easily in a reclining position.
-A hand-held showerhead in their tub or shower enclosure plus a plastic chair to sit on. This is a must! There will be no other way to safely bathe or have their hair washed for the first time without these two essential items.
-Mild hair products to wash their hair for the first time including a leave-in hair conditioner. They will also require tools to unsnarl their hair-a pick and a vented hair brush work very well. Recommend brand new items since they will be used over newly sutured areas.
-A telephone with a speaker near their bed. Holding a phone to their ears will be impossible immediately after a facelift. Being able to communicate on their own, without help, will be such a gift. Especially when they need to speak to you. It also helps those patients who have older parents that don't live close enough to come and see how they are on their own. Keeping the family stress free greatly helps your patients to concentrate on themselves.
-Lubricating eye drops. From surveying my clients, I found that most had dry eyes from the anesthesia whether or not they had procedures involving their eyes. The drops feel great and make it easier for them to blink and focus.