How to Manage Your Swelling After Surgery
Swelling is one of the unfortunate side effects of surgery and it affects each patient differently. Some patients have horrible swelling that refuses to go away for days while others only have to deal with minor swelling that is uncomfortable yet manageable. Regardless of your procedure, be it a facelift or a tummy tuck, swelling makes your recovery frustrating. The good news is that there are ways that you can manage your swelling to keep it from getting worse and even help it go away faster.
Setting Up Your Recovery Environment
This should be done before you even leave your home to have the surgery. When you get home feeling groggy, sore, and uncomfortable, the last thing you’ll want to do is look around for pillows and the television remote. Have your recovery area, whether it is in your bedroom, living room, or guest room, all set up and ready to go the minute you get home. A few good things to include in your recovery area are:
- Clear and easily accessible paths – For the most part, you’re going to want to stay as stationary as possible, but there will be occasions when you have to get up. When you have to move, you’ll want to have pathways that are direct and clear of obstacles so you can get from Point A to Point B without unnecessary exertion. Overexerting yourself, even by a small amount, can prolong your swelling.
- Extra pillows – One of the best ways to minimize swelling is to keep the area elevated. This prevents the extra fluid from settling around your surgery site. Extra pillows or blankets can help prop your body up so it stays elevated and keeps your fluids moving.
- Cool ambient temperature – This doesn’t mean keep the air conditioning on full blast or sit in front of a fan. It just means you should keep your recovery area relatively cool. Warm environments, especially when you’re directly in the sun, usually increase swelling.
Taking Care of Yourself
In addition to getting your recovery environment ready, there are some things you can do for your body that will help with the swelling.
- Avoid too much exercise – This will be especially important in the initial days of your recovery, as your body needs lots of rest and relaxation to heal properly. Overexerting yourself could not only increase your swelling, but also prolong your recovery.
- Reduce your salt intake – Sodium is known to cause bloating and increase swelling because it causes your body to retain water. Reducing your salt intake and increasing your fluids will help flush your system so you don’t hold on to any excess fluids.
- Use ice packs – Regularly using cold compresses will help keep the swelling down and will help you feel a little more comfortable while you recover. Your surgeon can help you establish a routine for using them.
Learn More Swelling Management Tips From Your Surgeon
When you decide to have plastic surgery, the process starts by meeting with your plastic surgeon. Your initial consultation is for you and the surgeon to develop a plan for surgery, but you’ll also be meeting with them at least once more before the surgery actually takes place. This is the time for you to learn about what to expect during your recovery and get your post-surgery directions. You’ll also learn some additional ways to manage your swelling, pain, and discomfort while your body heals.
Starting the process is easy! Call Shapiro Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (480) 451-1700 or send your information using our Contact form here on our website. Dr. Daniel Shapiro is a board-certified plastic surgeon and offers a number of procedures for the face and body.