The Vital Role of Recovery Time in Facial Plastic Surgery

We live in a time when everything is accelerated.  From fast food to streaming entertainment, it seems that everything we could possibly want is instantly available at the touch of a button.  Unfortunately, this fast-paced lifestyle of instant gratification can often make it difficult for patients to understand just how important it is to take the appropriate amount of recovery time after facial plastic surgery.  In more than twenty-five years of performing reconstructive and cosmetic facial plastic surgery on men and women of all ages, I have come to believe that carefully following post-operative instructions and simply giving the body a chance to rest and recuperate after a plastic surgery procedure are some of the most important factors in achieving optimal facial plastic surgery results.

The Vital Role of Recovery Time in Facial Plastic SurgeryMany of my patients ask, since they don’t plan on performing strenuous activity with the face itself, why they need to take it easy after facial plastic surgery at all.  The answer hinges on understanding inflammation and the body’s natural healing process.  When the body is injured in any way, a flood of inflammatory chemicals are released into the extracellular fluid, promoting the dilation of the small blood vessels in the vicinity of the injury.  This increased blood flow is what causes bruising and the red, swollen appearance around surgical incisions.  While a certain amount of inflammation is necessary in order for any injured area to heal, excessive or chronic inflammation, particularly in the face, can potentially re-open sutures and exacerbate future scarring after facial plastic surgery procedures.  Any strenuous exercise, even if it does not directly involve facial movement, causes an increase in blood flow and blood pressure which, in turn, increases inflammation and impedes the healing process.  In addition, pain can trigger the body’s natural stress response, which increases blood pressure as well.  This is just one of the many reasons why it is important to take all of your prescribed antibiotics, as well as all of your prescribed pain medication as directed after surgery.

In general, most facial plastic surgery procedures, like neck lifts, brow lifts, and full face-lifts, require approximately two weeks of recovery time before patients can return to light work and regular activity, and patients should wait even longer before engaging in strenuous exercise.  While it is important to get the body moving as soon as possible after surgery in order to improve circulation, and patients may feel fairly good just days after their procedure, it is important not to try to do too much too soon.  Moreover, in cases where facial remodeling is more extensive, like rhinoplasty or reconstructive plastic surgery procedures, it may take several months or more before the facial contours fully refine and the final results are evident.  Ultimately, every patient is unique and individual healing times can vary significantly, and it is vital to attend all follow-up appointments and diligently follow all post-operative instructions so that your recovery plan can be customized to your individual needs.

If you are interested in facial plastic surgery but are concerned about your overall recovery time, or if you would like more information about what specific procedures may be able to benefit you, please contact me, Dr. Fernando Burstein, at my office to schedule a consultation so that we may discuss your particular needs.  Don’t forget to connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest facial plastic surgery news.