Recovery: What To Expect
After you are awakened and brought into the recovery room, the
recovery nurse will monitor your vital stats until you are ready
to be released. This is dependent upon the individual but
may take up to two hours or more. You will feel quite tender
and possibly confused as the anesthesia wears off. If you
feel any discomfort you may want to ask for a pain reliever which
you will more than likely have been asked to bring with you.
You may even feel emotional or upset, this will depend upon your
body's reaction to anesthesia. You may also experience
rigors or shivering. This may feel uncontrollable and is
usually from the medications, more than likely epinephrine that is
used as a vasoconstrictor, and the cold saline which will have
been introduced into your system for the last few hours, and still
may be. The fact that the operating room is usually very
chilly, surely does not help matters in this regard. The
recovery nurse usually has wrapped you in a warm blanket but if
not, request one. It certainly makes things more tolerable.
You may even be lucky enough to have heating lamps! Some
surgical theaters are more like the dollar theater rather than
IMAX, so ask first.
patients feel nothing different than waking up from a good
night's rest. Although if you have had General you may
feel a little sick, hopefully your surgeon gave you something to
lessen this. Although I was prescribed Zofran, I forgot to
take it and got sick as soon as I got into recovery. Your prescribed medication should alleviate
any pain or discomfort. However, if you believe your pain
to be out of the ordinary once you get home, call your surgeon
or the on call staff immediately. You will be driven home
by your spouse, significant other or friend as you will not be
able to see, much less drive yourself home.
Please keep your incisions/suture line dry if they are
extra-oral. Your surgeon
may have placed Steri-Strips on top of your incision line and
sutures or you may have has internal sutures but externally may
have had tissue glue to bind your incision edges. Either
way your surgeon will give you specific care instructions at
your pre-operative appointment or sent home with you the day of
your surgery. It is best to learn before so that your
spouse, friend or caretaker will understand and assist you
instead of having to learn the last minute. Also take care
in not getting creams or lotions, nor topical arnica into the
incision. These can cause inflammation.
incisions, keep your mouth clean! You may be asked to use Listerine
several times a day and stay on a liquid diet until the incisions are
healed. This is common, so expect it just in case. Do not tongue
your incisions, or feel them with your fingers. If you must touch your
incision line for applying medications (although rare), only touch them with a
clean, gloved finger. Disposable latex or vinyl
gloves can be bought at your local drugstore.
You may have your incision sites checked and
your stitches removed in approximately 10 days if they are non-resorbable. Suture removal may
be painful, especially if the wound edges are snipped with the
surgical scissors accidentally. It is generally a quick process and nothing
to worry about although know that there may be some discomfort associated
with the removal process. It may feel like a tugging
sensation or slight stinging.
However, if you have
intra-oral sutures, it is unlikely you will have them removed. They will
eventually dissolve and fall out.
Take your temperature regularly. An elevated temperature could mean an infection. Take
those antibiotics ON TIME and don't forget if you are a female taking birth control that
some antibiotics can interfere so in the event that you do have relations, use
another form of protection as well. Although you should not be doing any type of
activity such as this because it can raise your blood pressure. Your surgeon
will let you know when you are released for normal activity.
Soreness & Pain Factor
Pain tolerances depend upon the individual but you will feel tender, stiff and sore for a few says and will more than likely not want to move too much.
This will subside. Be sure to take your required medications and follow the precise instructions provided to you by your surgeon.
Common pain medications may be Vicodin, Vicodin ES, Percocet, etc. There
is no reason to suffer, so please take your medications regularly instead of
waiting to feel pain before taking a pain reliever. The less pain you
have, the better your experience and the faster you will make a full recovery.
As with all surgeries, swelling will be an issue. Swelling is a normal
reaction to an injury and is categorized as a natural inflammatory
action. Fluids high in white blood cells and hemoglobin will accumulate at
the treatment site to treat the injury. You
may be swollen for up to 3 to 5 months, although this could be very slight and
only noticed by you. Swelling is not necessarily a bad
thing, however severe swelling can be a problem. Let your surgeon know if you
feel your swelling is not normal.
prolonged edema include increasing your fluid intake, preferably
water, normal to low sodium intake, movement such as light
walking, in some cases the prescribing of prednisone. Diuretics
are not advised and should be avoided unless specifically instructed.
This includes natural diuretics as well.
Bruises may or may not be present after your surgery, This depends
entirely on the patient, the technique and the effectiveness of the
epinephrine. One thing is for sure, bruises will usually get better.
Perhaps you can ask your
surgeon about Arnica Montana, or Bromelain
or even Vitamin A and C to reduce swelling and discolorations and improve
healing. Cold compresses will reduce the chances of bruising and
reduce swelling during the first 48 hours. They can also assist in pain
relief and swelling reduction thereafter however, please be careful that you do
not injure your skin. The ice may hurt at first but will feel better as
your skin gets used to it. Ice should not be placed directly on the skin
as this can cause injury.
Warm, gentle compresses starting
at the 48 hours post-op mark can
assist in bruise removal by dilating the blood vessels to help the
body remove blood and damaged tissue away from the treatment area. However,
warm compresses should only be used after the 48 hour mark, and not
is a risk but very rare. if this is the case and you have discolorations
after several months post op, you may wish to seek Intense Pulsed Light
treatments. These treatments target the hemoglobin in the blood.
[Hemoglobin <he*mo*glo*bin> (noun) : an iron-containing respiratory pigment of red blood cells
that functions primarily in the transport of oxygen from the lungs to the
tissues of the body.] A highly advanced computer regulates the light pulse to a specific
wavelength range, which in turn heats the visible, targeted blood vessel(s).
Thereby damaging or otherwise destroying the targeted lesion while sparing
the surrounding healthy or normal tissue. The penetration depth
and degree of heat is highly controlled so that most complications
contributed to these specific factors are not an issue with Pulsed Light
is going to be difficult at first. It is important
to sleep with at least 2 to 3 fluffy pillows under your
upper back and head to keep yourself elevated.
This helps relieve pressure from your treatment area
hence reducing swelling and pain. Many patients
opt to place a pillow under their knees to help keep
them from rolling over during the night. Some
place pillows alongside them and create a sort of
surgeons offer their patients a prescription of Ativan
or Valium to ease pre- and post-operative jitters, sore
muscles and help put you to sleep. I personally
found valium very helpful in falling, and staying,
asleep. My back was a little sore due to sleeping
upright for 10 days so the valium eased this as well.
sure that you do get some sleep because your body can
heal itself better while it is at rest. Besides sleeping
is a good way to past the time during recovery.
Just be sure to have someone wake you up to take your
meds, eat some healthy meals and drink your fluids.
You may want to sponge bathe until you feel better. You
may need assistance if you are disoriented. A shower chair helps, but be
sure not to get an extra-oral incisions wet. You also may have
a support garment so don't remove this to shower, nor get it wet, unless your
surgeon instructs. Bottom line, ask your surgeon when he is okay about
your taking a bath or shower. Baths are easier but you may need assistance
actually getting out of the tub.
should wash your hair beforehand and either braid it or keep it
back in a ponytail if it is long enough. This will keep
your hair clean and out of the way when you are eating and
taking medications, or if you get sick. You may not be
able to wash your hair for a while due to dizziness, pain or
disorientation. If you must wash your hair,
please get a friend to assist you in the sink or with a hand
held shower head. Or if you wish, have your hairstylist
wash your hair for you a week post op or more.
Even though you may not feel like it, your surgeon will more
than likely advise you to walk and move around as soon as you
are able. If you do not and lie around you may develop
clots and or hold fluid (swelling, edema) a lot longer.
will be instructed not to exercise or engage in strenuous
activities for at least 3 weeks. Raising your
blood pressure can cause bleeding and you don't want that.
Don't lift anything over 5 lb. and try not to raise anything
over your head until your surgeon releases you for activity.
Take your time in healing so that you give yourself the best
healing environment possible.
Please print out our Complication
Symptoms & Preparation Info Sheet.
& Keloid Prevention
If you have extra-oral incisions and would like help with keloid prevention and scar flattening some
surgeons suggest silicone gel sheeting. Some products are
manufactured, such as those from BioDermis, or scar tapes such
as made by Curad or Band-Aid.
Please see our Scar
Treatment Section For More Information.
& Loss of Sensitivity
There may be some loss of sensation at first. This is usually caused by the swelling from
the trauma cutting of your nerves ability to transmit pain or
touch sensations. This usually will subside within a few
weeks but be aware that in rare cases, loss of sensation may be
permanent. You may also experience sharp pains, burning
sensations, heat, tingling, prickling, etc. This is from nerve
damage and the sensations of the returning function of the
nerves will result in the physical descriptions above.
Motor nerve damage is rare, but numbness after is common and usually almost
Will I Look & Feel Like? PLEASE
If you have had cheek implants, you will notice your cheeks are
swollen, firm and possibly bruised. Your tissue will soften up
and your swelling will subside. The firmness is from the swelling
which is essentially fluid retention in your tissues. This
is a natural reaction to a wound of any sort, it is your body's
way of repairing it self. The cold compresses in the
first 48 hours, or for comfort thereafter, will
significantly lessen the swelling, as will keeping your torso
If you have had
injectables, the swelling may be less, however I have seen injections cause
great swelling. Bruising is commonly less, but of you develop bruising
don't be alarmed. Your cheeks may also be firm as well.
far as what you will first look like... You may feel you look
like a "pumpkin head", many patients on our message
boards feel this way. I personally liked my swelling but I
didn't have implants, I had fat. Marc, my fiancÚ, had
implants and was swollen on one side more than the other for
many months. He had good days and bad days. This will pass, remember your results aren't near
being seen. Give
it time. Don't jump to conclusions just yet, you will
probably not like them at first and think your cheeks are too
big. Please be
Visit our Facial Implant Message Board
What to Look For & Do In the Event of a Complication
Here For A
Printer Friendly Version
Please contact your surgeon or
the on-call physician immediately if you notice any of the
bleeding from your suture
pus or cloudy discharge from
your incision areas
a foul odor from your
blisters or implant extrusion
displacement or shifting of the implant
temperature over 100.5º F
inability to pass waste (both
liquid and solid)
numbness of the legs (unless
you had lipo as well)
uncontrollable dizziness not
related to the pain relievers
Please contact your surgeon or
the on-call physician AND go to the emergency room as soon as
possible if you notice any of the following:
passing blood through urine,
feces or spitting up blood that is not from your incisions
abrupt and severe
swelling and discoloration
(aside from normal swelling)
blackening of the skin (which
is clearly NOT a bruise)
loss of consciousness not
related to sedatives
temperature over 105º F
What to do in case of a
#1 STAY CALM
Have your emergency numbers
handy and contact, or have your caretaker contact, your
surgeon or the on-call physician to let them know of your
problem as soon as you can.
If you are going to the
emergency room don't forget to tell your surgeon WHICH
Bring all of your medications
with you to the hospital
It may be cautionary to pack
an overnight bag ahead of time "just in case"
If you are able, keep a
written journal (and if possible photos) of your symptoms
Emergency On-call Physician:
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