Ask Dr. Burstein: How Can I Make My Facial Plastic Surgery Recovery Go More Smoothly?

Double board-certified plastic surgeon and otolaryngologist (head and neck surgeon) Dr. Fernando Burstein has spent nearly thirty years performing cosmetic and reconstructive facial plastic surgery procedures ranging from cleft lip and palate repair to cosmetic rhinoplasty and ear surgery on men and women of all ages.  In our ongoing blog feature, Ask Dr. Burstein, we will have the opportunity to hear him answer some of the most frequently asked questions he receives about facial plastic surgery and anti-aging facial rejuvenation procedures.

Ask Dr. Burstein How Can I Make My Facial Plastic Surgery Recovery Go More SmoothlyQUESTION: I am a busy, professional woman in my fifties, and I am interested in undergoing some minor plastic surgery to address the signs of facial aging I have started to notice over the last few months.  However, I have become increasingly worried about my post-surgical recovery time.  Originally, I was under the impression that I would be able to return to my office job and light activity almost immediately, but people have been telling me a lot of horror stories about what they went through after their procedures and now I don’t know what to believe.  Can you please tell me what I can reasonably expect to experience while I’m recovering from a facial plastic surgery procedure and if there is anything that I can do to make that recovery go as smoothly and as quickly as possible?

ANSWER: While it is true that minimally-invasive facial rejuvenation treatments and targeted facial plastic surgery procedures can achieve impressive results with minimal downtime, it is also extremely important to remember that proper post-surgical care is always an essential part of the process.  Every patient has his or her own specific health considerations and every form of plastic surgery is different, so individual recovery times can vary significantly, but there are a few general tips that can minimize the possibility of complications and help speed your recovery.  Even procedures that affect only a small area, like eyelid surgery, can cause bruising that lasts for several days and swelling which may persist for several days or even weeks, depending on your personal healing factors, so you should plan to take it easy for at least a week after any surgery.  However, calm activity and even very light exercise can actually promote healing, so feel free to take short walks or get some fresh air.  Take special care with substances that can adversely affect blood clotting and blood pressure, like alcohol, caffeine, aspirin, Ibuprofen, and certain nutritional supplements.  Specifically avoid cigarette smoke, which compromises lung function and blood flow and can significantly impair the healing process.  Finally, and most importantly, the best advice I can give you is to carefully follow your doctor’s pre and post-operative care instructions.  Every patient’s body is different, so I always work closely with my patients to create a thorough recovery plan that is customized to their individual case, including a comprehensive list of foods, medications, and other substances that can have a negative effect on their recovery.  In my experience, the rare complications that do occur are the direct result of patients failing to follow that plan diligently.  Make sure that you attend all scheduled post-operative follow up appointments so that your progress can be carefully monitored and any potential problems can be addressed before they become serious.

When you keep the lines of communication with your doctor open, you not only know what to expect but can also avoid false information and optimize your facial plastic surgery results.  Every patient is unique, so information that you hear from friends or glean from the internet may not be applicable to your case.  Instead, every face requires a customized approach, so if you are interested in finding out exactly what specific facial procedures would be best for you please contact me, Dr. Fernando Burstein, so that we can schedule a full consultation.  Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest facial plastic surgery news.