How do I prepare for Facial Plastic Surgery?
If you’ve chosen Dr. Weber as your surgeon and scheduled your sought-after procedure, you’re well on your way to a great result. However, you’re not done! The next step is to prepare yourself, your home, and your support system for your recovery process. These tips will help you optimize your environment for a smooth healing process. These recommendations are critical for avoiding complications and ensuring an optimal result.
When is the “best” time to schedule surgery?
Surgery, much like our hectic lives, can be stressful. Please do not schedule your procedure between multiple trips or other major commitments. Give your body and your mind time to adequately prepare for and recuperate from the effects of surgery. It is crucial and helpful for you to be well-rested and relaxed on the day of surgery. In this way, your body will be better able to handle the stress of surgery. Furthermore, it is important for your peace of mind not to be anxious about impending life commitments while you’re supposed to be focusing on rest and healing.
How much time will I need to recover?
In general terms, most of Dr. Weber’s patients can return to work within 5-7 days, but a small amount of camouflage makeup might be required to cover up any redness or residual bruising. Most of our clients feel very confident about their appearance within 1-3 weeks following surgery. By three months, 75-90% of the healing is complete. Technically, it can take up to a full year to complete the healing process, but it is unusual to notice a significant amount of healing between months three and twelve.
How can I prepare my skin for optimal healing after surgery?
We recommend starting a high-quality skin care regimen such as our proprietary formulation, W Skin, including foaming cleanser (Purify), vitamin C serum (Quench), and a product containing retinoid (Brighten). Starting this regimen at least one month before your surgery will prepare your skin for the procedure and subsequent healing process. Brighten, in particular, will increase the speed at which your skin regenerates and “turns over” and will improve your skin’s ability to heal after surgery.
Should you need further advice on a skin care regimen, please contact our office, and we can tailor a regimen specifically for you.
What about vaping or smoking cigarettes or cannabis?
You should refrain from smoking or vaping anything for at least two weeks before and two weeks after surgery (one month total). Nicotine, as well as the byproducts of burning tobacco or cannabis, will cause blood vessels to constrict. These small blood vessels supply nourishment to the skin and facial tissue and are critical to avoiding healing complications following surgery. Any restriction of this blood flow will jeopardize the healing process, create objectionable scarring, and can lead to a less favorable outcome from the procedure.
What about cannabis edibles?
Cannabis edibles are perfectly acceptable following surgery if used in moderation. Great care should be taken with consuming edibles while you are taking narcotic medications in order to avoid oversedation and overdose. If you consume edibles, please ask us for recommendations about how to use narcotic pain medication safely.
What medications and supplements should I avoid prior to surgery?
Please do not take any aspirin, NSAIDs including ibuprofen, St. John’s Wort, CoQ10, garlic, ginger, ginkgo, ginseng, fish oil, or vitamin E for two weeks before surgery. A complete list of medications to avoid can be found here. All of these medications, herbs, and supplements can prolong bleeding and increase the risk of severe bleeding complications.
What medications can I take for headaches or joint pain before surgery?
Medicines that contain acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be used safely before and immediately after surgery.
How can I prepare for general anesthesia at the ambulatory surgery center?
Do not eat anything for at least 8 hours prior to your surgery start time. You can drink CLEAR liquids up until 6 hours prior to surgery. You can take approved medications with a sip of water (no more than a capful or water) on the morning of surgery. Leave your valuables at home, remove ALL piercings, and please do not wear jewelry. Wear loose and comfortable clothing that can be zipped or buttoned so that your dressings stay intact when dressing after surgery.
If you’re undergoing browlift, facelift, necklift, or ear pinning (otoplasty) surgery, we advise leaving the conditioner in your hair after showering and letting it dry without rinsing it out. This will help you wash your hair once your bandage is removed following surgery. For your own safety and comfort, do not wear any makeup, mascara, or false eyelashes on the day of surgery. Wash your face thoroughly with mild soap and warm water. Do not wear contact lenses unless advised.
Why do I need to check-in early at the surgery center?
On the morning of your surgery, you will check-in at the surgery center ninety minutes prior to the operation start time. This allows ample time for the anesthesiologist and Dr. Weber to visit with you and for the nursing staff to prepare you for surgery. An IV will be placed, through which you will receive medication before, during, and immediately after your procedure. Be sure to arrange for someone to pick you up after your procedure because you will not be able to drive safely until the following day.
Will I need to arrange a driver if I have surgery at your office?
In the vast majority of cases, YES. If you are receiving oral sedation medication for surgery at our office, you will not be able to drive yourself home. We will need to know what arrangements you’ve made to get home safely before starting your procedure. If Dr. Weber performs your procedure under local anesthesia without providing any oral sedation medication, you can drive yourself home. However, we still recommend that you arrange a driver to get you home safely.
Will I need to have someone stay with me following surgery?
Yes, we require your significant other, friend, or family member to stay with you for 24 hours. The effects of medication can be unpredictable, and, in some cases, people can become confused following anesthesia and surgery. We do not want our patients to experience falls or injuries or anxiety during this time period. A trusted member of your social circle will avoid any unexpected issues in the early phase of your healing. If you are a very private person, we can arrange for a nurse or medical assistant to stay with you the first evening following surgery.
What medications do I need to take following surgery?
Your prescriptions will be provided one to two weeks before surgery at your preoperative appointment. Please fill all prescriptions as soon as possible.
You will be given prescription pain medications to take as needed. These pills contain a mild narcotic and may make you light-headed or even nauseated, but this can be minimized by taking with food. Please do not drive for 24 hours after your surgery or while you’re taking prescription pain medication.
You will be given antibiotic pills to prevent infection. Take them until they are completely gone even if there is no evidence of infection, and you feel well.
What can I expect during the healing process?
If you have any concerns about your healing, please let us know. Early asymmetries and irregularities are common, but most resolve within the first week following surgery. However, our faces consist of two sides that are NEVER totally symmetric. Sometimes, we don’t perceive these asymmetries until after surgery when we meticulously study our faces. The goals of surgery are to identify any asymmetries prior to your procedure and plan surgery to improve those asymmetries. However, none of us will ever have perfect symmetry.
Is sun exposure acceptable after surgery?
It is imperative to use sun protection following surgery. Sun exposure will cause swelling, darkening of any incisions and will delay the healing process. Plan to wear both a brimmed hat, sunglasses, and a sunblock of at least SPF 25 for three months following surgery.
How can I ensure a smooth recovery?
Following surgery, sleep with your head elevated on at least two pillows for the first 48 hours. Ice should be applied to your face as much as possible (10 minutes on and then 10 minutes off while awake) during the first 48 hours to reduce bruising and swelling. We recommend placing a bag of frozen peas over your dressing to cool your skin. Swelling, bruising, and tightness of the bandage, if any, are normal. Severe pain is highly unusual. Call the office immediately if you experience excessive bruising and pain, especially if it occurs on only one side.
Drink several glasses of water during the first 8 hours after surgery. If you require pain medication, take with food to prevent nausea. Eat a relatively soft diet and avoid hard chewing for two weeks. You may wash your face gently with mild soap and water. You can shower and wash your hair with a mild shampoo after your first dressing change. Avoid vigorous scrubbing. Do not use a hot hairdryer if you have had browlift, facelift, or necklift procedures.
How do I take care of my incisions and surgical site?
The incisions should be kept clean and moist during the first week following surgery. Shower water can be used to gently cleanse the incisions starting the day after surgery. Stubborn crusting can be removed with hydrogen peroxide on a Q-tip. After cleaning the incisions, bacitracin ointment should be applied to all of the sutures with a Q-tip three to five times daily. This will speed healing and allow the sutures to dissolve normally. To assist in the healing process, we recommend using Heal, which is a silicone-containing incision gel that allows for additional oxygenation of your tissue and enhanced healing.