Recovering from Cosmetic Surgery: What to Expect

Recovery is one of the most important parts of your cosmetic surgery experience. It shouldn’t be a complicated or arduous process, but it will take some time, along with a willingness to follow the instructions provided by your plastic surgeon. 

How Long Does It Take to Recover from Plastic Surgery?

Recovery timelines from cosmetic surgery are greatly dependent upon the type of procedure you’re planning on getting. Healing after a tummy tuck, for example, will look a lot different from breast augmentation or liposuction. 

Here are the typical recovery timelines for surgical procedures offered at the Avoca Clinic:

Cosmetic ProcedureAverage Recovery Time
Breast augmentation5-7 days
Breast uplift/reduction10-14  days
Eyelid surgery7 – 10 days
Face lift surgery7 – 10 days
Tummy tuck/abdominoplasty7 – 14 days
Liposuction14 days

Some important caveats to keep in mind: 

  1. The recovery times listed above are meant as a general outline of what to expect. Exact recovery times will vary from patient to patient depending on a whole host of factors. If your job involves heavy-duty or strenuous tasks, then your surgeon may recommend you wait a little longer before heading back to work. 
  2. If you’re undergoing a procedure that will be visible to friends, family or colleagues, such as a face lift or eyelid surgery, you might want to factor in additional healing time than we’ve listed here. It really depends on your own personal comfort levels, as well as how prone you are to bruising and swelling.

Our Top Tips for Post-Plastic Surgery Care

While your body needs time to heal from any sort of surgical procedures, following these steps below should have you feeling like your normal self in no time.

1. Manage your pain.

It’s understandable for patients to have some concerns about pain following a surgical procedure of any kind. While the anaesthesia wears off, you will be given pain relief as you recover in your private room at the Avoca Clinic.

Rest assured that your plastic surgeon will also prescribe post-discharge pain medication. The dosage and type of medication will vary depending on the type of procedure as well as your medical history and tolerance for pain. Some patients take moderate pain medication for a few days, while others need a stronger prescription.

Once you’re recuperating at home, be mindful of keeping your pain levels at a tolerable level. This is critical to promoting the healing process, so don’t try to tough it out. 

2. Follow all aftercare instructions to the letter.

This might seem like an obvious one, but it’s a crucial step towards healing as quickly as possible. Your surgical team will give you detailed discharge instructions for as fast and smooth a recovery as possible before you leave the clinic. You will be given specific instructions on how to care for the surgical site, medications to apply or take orally as well as specific concerns to look out for at the surgical site. 

3. Attend your follow-up appointments.

You’ll be given details on your post-operative dressing appointments before leaving the Avoca clinic. If you can’t make the times or days provided, be sure to see your GP instead. You will also have a follow-up appointment with your plastic surgeon two to three weeks after your procedure. 

Be sure to attend all of your appointments – this way, your medical team will be able to assess how you’re healing, what activities you can return to and offer reassurance or advice regarding any concerns you might have about your recovery so far. 

4. Get your support system in place.

Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for help with everyday tasks – especially with anything that involves straining or stretching, as you don’t want to risk any trauma to your incision sites. At the minimum, we advise having someone with you to lend a helping hand during the first 24 hours following your procedure.

5. Eat a healthy, balanced diet. 

While many of us don’t feel like eating right after surgery, one of the most important things to focus on during your recovery period is nutrition. 

Opt for berries and fruits that are high in antioxidants, vitamin and mineral-rich vegetables, foods with carbohydrates to keep your energy levels up as well as foods with lean protein and healthy fats to bolster your immune system. Avoid getting dehydrated and stay away from sugary, highly-processed foods while you’re recovering. 

6. Be careful with herbs, supplements or medications. 

Avoid taking anything that you haven’t cleared for use ahead of time with your surgeon or GP. Even everyday items, like ibuprofen, could inhibit your healing or even interact with pain medication. If in doubt, ask!

If you’ve undergone a breast procedure at the Avoca Clinic, we recommend purchasing our bespoke massage cream for your breasts following surgery and our essential scar serum for optimal healing.

7. Get moving (but don’t forget to take it easy, too!)

While we recommend taking short walks and some light stretching as soon as you feel up to it, it’s also a good idea to rest up as much as you can the first few days following your procedure. Doing too much, too soon, can hinder your recovery. 

Adequate sleep is key to helping you heal as quickly as possible. If you struggle to unwind or feel any lingering post-op anxiety, you can always try listening to relaxing music, deep breathing or even a meditation app. 

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