Recovering From Facial Surgery

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It is very critical that you do not perform any maneuvers that will generate a sudden rise in blood pressure the day after surgery. Examples are a constipated bowel movement, sudden coughing fit, or bending over and reaching down to tie a shoelace.

Keep your head elevated for the first two days after surgery. An easy way to do this would be using two pillows or a rolled blanket under the head of the mattress. Keep your head in a natural and straight position. Do not hyperextend your head back or have your chin too close to your chest. You must lie on your back—do not lie on either side. If you bend over, or even let your head drop forward, the force of gravity may aggravate swelling, so keep your head up as much as possible.

It is important to let your face rest after surgery. Keeping your head and face immobile as much as possible will greatly aid the healing process. Avoid talking, laughing or chewing. Start with water and if tolerated, progress to other clear liquids such as tea and juice. Ginger ale is good for nausea. Eating light for the first few days and sticking to a liquid/soft-food diet will help to keep your face still. Avoid very hot or cold liquid, and any foods that are high in sodium – as they will increase swelling.

Take medication according to instructions on the bottle. If taking strong narcotics, or if other pain medications make you feel “spacey” or drowsy, have a responsible adult administer your medications according to proper time intervals. Failure to properly monitor these time intervals may result in accidental overdose. You may take Advil or ibuprofen between the prescription doses to help with inflammation and pain. Do not apply hot/warm/cold compresses to your face.

Please immediately fill your anti-nausea prescription. You must use this medication as soon as you notice the onset of nausea. It is important to avoid vomiting because it may cause bleeding in your face. Call our office immediately if you are unable to control your nausea.

After surgery, it is typical to experience moderate discomfort, gradual increases in swelling, black and blue discoloration, bloodshot eyes, and small amounts of blood on the bandages.

Let us know if you experience any of the following:

  • Severe pain that does not respond to medication
  • Large amounts of increased swelling on either side
  • Significant blood loss evident on your bandages
  • Uncontrollable nausea and vomiting
  • Fever above 101 degrees
  • Bandages seeming too tight

Avoid smoking or contact with smoke after your operation to prevent coughing, possible bleeding and delayed healing. Do not drink any alcohol for at least four days after surgery, as it increases the probability of swelling.

Avoid sports and strenuous activity for one month. Even heavy housework will deprive you of the rest you need to fully recover. Exertion also aggravates facial swelling that may pull on the stitches or increase scaring. Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun and heat for three months to avoid swelling, and always use sunscreen.

Feel free to call us at any time—we want you to be as comfortable as possible during your healing period. Stitches will be removed 3 to 7 days after your surgery, depending on the type of procedure and the location of the stitches. Additional visits will be determined by your physician.

You may color or bleach your hair up to, but no later than, one day before surgery. No further coloring is allowed until one month after surgery. It is not recommended to invest in an expensive hairstyle shortly before surgery. Using a mild shampoo on your hair is okay, but only after the bandages have been removed and you have received your physician’s approval. Be sure the water is not too hot. Check with our office before applying any make-up.