What to Expect Following Facial Surgery with Dr. Weber
As a busy surgical practice, we are constantly trying to better educate our patients on what to expect following surgery and how to optimize healing. This is a significant part of the consultation and pre-surgery process that every patient at Weber Facial Plastic Surgery is involved in. Please see below to learn more about the general process of healing after facial surgery with Dr. Stephen Weber. If you have additional questions, please contact us at [email protected]
We use sutures or, in rare cases, staples to support your surgical wounds until sufficient healing of tissues occurs. You may notice some slight redness around individual sutures. Notify us if the redness extends along the entire line of the incision or if the suture line becomes tender and swollen. This may indicate an early infection that should be treated with antibiotics. Unless we recommend otherwise, avoid Neosporin, Polysporin or “Triple Antibiotic” ointments as they can create an allergic reaction after several days of use. Instead, apply Bacitracin ointment on a regular basis to keep your incisions moist and glistening. This promotes rapid healing, prevents infection and allows easier suture removal.
One of Dr. Weber’s assistants will remove your sutures between postoperative days five (5) and seven (7). An occasional suture may be sore, but you should not experience undue pain during this removal process. If you wish, take Tylenol or Ibuprofen prior to your office visit to minimize any potential discomfort.
Every incision, technically, leads to a “scar.” However, with proper incision placement and meticulous incision repair, your surgical incisions should heal in an inconspicuous fashion. However, this healing process can take place over several months to a full year. Please be patient during this period. Massage is often helpful to soften and smooth incisions. If this is recommended, we will discuss this with you during your follow-up appointments. Use sunblock during the first three months following surgery. Sunblock helps to prevent discoloration of the scar.
All surgery on your skin is followed by some degree of temporary swelling. You may find this disconcerting, as it may distort your facial features. You may lessen the swelling by keeping your head elevated during the day and while resting at night. Additionally, you may reduce the amount of swelling that occurs during the first 48 to 72 hours after surgery by applying ice packs wrapped in a moist washcloth. Ice packs applied directly on the skin may cause injury by frostbite, so avoid them. The less swelling that occurs, the more quickly it will disappear.
Small amounts of blood that accumulate in your tissues in the early postoperative period can cause discoloration and bruising. You may not notice bruising during the first two (2) to three (3) days following surgery. It should completely disappear by one to two weeks after surgery and is typically easy to camouflage by postoperative day five (5). Ice packs will reduce the risk of bruising. However, once a bruise has developed you can speed its resolution by alternative cold and then warm compresses. Makeup may be used to camouflage the discolored areas as soon as your sutures are removed.
Your body temperature may rise slightly to 38°C (100°F) after surgery. If this elevated temperature persists for more than 24 hours or exceeds 101.5°F, notify us immediately. Please do not estimate your temperature: Use a thermometer.
There is usually mild to, at worst, moderate pain after facial surgery. Take note that discomfort and pressure type sensations are totally expected after surgery. Pain is worsened by anxiety and Dr. Weber will review your symptoms following surgery in order to put you at ease about the expected amounts of discomfort. Likewise, swelling does cause a tight feeling. Take the medication for pain we have given you, but only as much as needed. Do not take aspirin as this will cause severe bleeding and complications following surgery. If your procedure(s) included facelift, necklift or lower eyelid surgery we also ask that you avoid Ibuprofen/ Motrin/ Advil for seven days following surgery. Avoiding this medication will result in decreased bruising and risk of bleeding complications.
If you are like most patients, you should not require sleeping medication. However, if you normally take medication or feel that one may be necessary for you during the early recovery period, please let us know. You should minimize the use of sleeping pills as they will interact with the prescription pain medication that we provide you and could result in an overdose.
You may feel weak, have palpitations, break out into cold sweats or feel dizzy following surgery. This is not unusual and usually resolves quickly without medication. However, if you feel that these symptoms are severe, contact our office immediately.
You may feel a little “down” or “anxious” after facial surgery. Such feelings are not unusual and are short-lived. Keep a positive attitude, busy yourself with postoperative care and resume your daily activities as rapidly as possible. You can minimize this risk by preparing a catalog of books, podcasts, shows and movies to watch during your recovery. Before long you will be enjoying the benefits of a successful surgical recovery.
Don’t injure the operated area. Be careful of small children and restless bedmates.
Don’t stoop over, strain, lift objects heavier than 10 (ten) pounds or do anything to make the blood rush to your head for at least five days following surgery.
Don’t remove the dressing unless we have instructed you otherwise.
Don’t compare your progress with that of other patients; everyone heals differently.
Don’t smoke and avoid alcohol for at least two weeks prior and two weeks following surgery.
Don’t pick at the operated area if it itches; we will give you a medication for itching if it becomes excessive.
Don’t take aspirin, under any circumstances, or any other medications unless you have checked with us.
Don’t apply makeup over the suture lines for at least the first five (5) days following surgery.
You can learn more by contacting us by email [email protected] or phone at (303) 792-2224. We look forward to seeing you soon and appreciate your trust in our expertise.