Each surgery requires specific post-operative care and I provide you with all the information pertinent to your procedure/s.
There are some general pointers that can help every patient through the early post-op days as comfortably as possible:
- Bruising generally takes two to three weeks to settle.
- Don’t expect to see results immediately. Some procedures may take months to become evident.
- Pain and discomfort are at their peak during the first two to three days following surgery.
- Plan for total rest for two to three days after surgery.
- Some patients may feel depressed for a day or two post-surgery, and this is quite normal.
- Swelling is at its peak for the first three to four days and usually resolves over the subsequent two to three weeks, depending on the procedure.
- You will be comfortable taking regular pain medications. Don’t use any pain medication that is not prescribed by your surgeon. If you feel the need to take anti-inflammatories you must clear this with your doctor first.
- Ice packs and compressors can alleviate much of the swelling and discomfort you’ll experience.
- Recovery to the face and neck area can be greatly assisted by keeping your head elevated for two or three days after surgery. If you fail to carry out this simple procedure you could in fact prolong the recovery process and may even cause an adverse effect on the results.
- Make sure you check with your doctor on how soon you may bath, shower, wash your hair, etc.
- Don’t return to work or take on heavy tasks sooner than advised by your doctor.
- Check when you will be able to drive again. This will also be dependent on the pain medication you are taking.
- Don’t start exercising too soon, even if you feel able to.
- Exposure to the sun after surgery can be very detrimental, so keep in the shade and use a sunblock with a minimum SPF of 15.
- There are many alternative therapies that can enhance the recovery process while making you feel better emotionally. Some doctors will recommend practitioners, but always check with your surgeon first and only make use of registered practitioners.
Preventing Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
The risk of developing DVT is increased if you are having prolonged surgery (4 hours or longer), or if the surgery you’re undergoing prevents early mobilization or you have a previous history of blood clotting.
There are, however some things you can do to prevent DVT, including:
- Discontinue oral contraceptive.
- Stop smoking.
- Try to achieve optimal weight.
- Drink enough water and not alcohol
- Move legs and walk around to improve leg circulation
If you experience any lower leg swelling or pain post op, contact me immediately.
Prolonged immobility on a long-haul flight and sitting with bent legs with compression of the back of the knees by the front edge of the seat can obstruct the flow of blood in the leg veins. This may initiate the process of thrombosis (clotting) of the leg veins resulting in their blockage.
How Can it Be Avoided?
Predisposing factors should be modified, such as the discontinuation of taking oral contraceptives, quitting smoking, and attempting to achieve your optimal weight.
You should also take the following precautions during your flight:
- You should purchase and use full length Anti-Embolism (TED/DVT) stockings for the duration of your flight to use both during and after surgery.
- Drink a lot of water and not alcohol as this dehydrates your system.
- Take along your own bottled water.
- Walk around as often as possible during your flight to keep your blood circulation going (get an aisle seat).
- Avoid sleeping tablets as they result in prolonged periods of immobility.
- While you are in your seat, alternately contract and relax different muscle groups, especially those of the lower legs, this helps the blood flow in your legs.
When you arrive in Cape Town, you should try to go for a good walk as soon as possible after your arrival to assist the circulation in your legs.