Plastic surgery is a surgical procedure, which comes with attendant complications and risks that can be avoided if patients take the necessary measures to minimize risks. The best way to avoid complications that come with plastic surgery is by strictly following post-operative instructions given by your plastic surgeon. You should ask your plastic surgeon to provide you with specific instructions for post-surgical care. Post-operative instructions are the instructions given by the surgeon after undergoing any form of plastic surgery, whether invasive or non-invasive. Some of the specific questions to ask your plastic surgeon include: • What are the possible side effects after undergoing plastic surgery? • How long will I stay at the medical facility after undergoing plastic surgery? • Which special medications will I be given after surgery? • What should I do or avoid for faster recovery? • What should I do if I experience complications after undergoing plastic surgery? These are the specific questions to ask your plastic surgeon during consultations and before scheduling your procedure. It is very important to ask your plastic surgeon to help you understand the specifics of any plastic surgery procedure prior surgery. To save time, get the answers to the above questions from your plastic surgeon during consultation. This will guide you in your preparations before and after surgery and go a long way in helping you reduce the risks and complications after plastic surgery. Below is a list of possible complications common to most plastic surgery procedures. • Hematoma • Scarring • Infections • Nerve damage • Pulmonary embolism • Deep vein thrombosis • Undesired results • Reaction to anesthesia • Organ damage • Blood loss • Seroma These are the complications that make potential plastic surgery patients scared of going under the knife. Plastic surgeons usually advise patients to know as much as possible about the desired procedure, its benefits, the accompanying risks and possible complications. Careful consideration of the pros and cons can help you in arriving at an informed decision that will also mean more realistic expectations and increased satisfaction with the outcomes. After surgery, you will be moved to the recovery room. Depending on your status and type of anesthesia used, you may just need to spend a few hours at a medical facility before being allowed to go home. It is normal to feel nauseated or foggy immediately after waking up from surgery. This is a common effect most patients feel after undergoing plastic surgery. The following post-operative instructions should guide you and provide you with the necessary information for swift recovery. To increase chances of achieving your desired results, you should strictly follow instructions provided below. Here are the five tips for avoiding post-surgery complications and enhancing results after plastic surgery. 1. Caring for your wounds and incisions after going under the knife Wash and dry your hands before and after cleaning your incisions. One of the best ways to prevent infection after surgery is to maintain high levels of hygiene. As you recover, you should be able to monitor your progress and spot any signs of infection on your wounds. Watch out for signs of swelling, bleeding, fluid accumulation, tenderness, and redness. You should inform your plastic surgeon immediately if you experience any infection or bad odor from your wounds. Ask your plastic surgeon when you can shower or bathe and how to properly care for your incision site and change dressings. There are no wrong questions so don’t feel shy or embarrassed. Ask any question so everything is clear to you. Your health and wellbeing is more important. Ask your plastic surgeon what to do to accelerate healing. 2. Pain control and medication Do not self medicate. Stick to medication prescribed by your plastic surgeon. Do not use aspirin until you recover fully or your plastic surgeon gives you the go ahead. Aspirin has been known to interfere with recovery and cause bleeding especially after surgery. You should also avoid anticoagulants or blood thinners when recovering from any form of plastic surgery. Stick to the right dose as prescribed by your plastic surgeon. Pain after surgery is normal and your plastic surgeon will advise the pain medications you can safely take. Do not drive while taking pain relievers. Avoid taking painkillers on an empty stomach because you may experience nausea 3. Activities Strenuous, physical activities should be avoided immediately after plastic surgery. While mobility is encouraged, take it slow and minimize activities for speedy recovery. You should also avoid sitting for too long. Walking from one point to another and using stairs is allowed but you should do it moderately. Arrange for someone to drive for you after discharge from the facility. Avoid driving for at least five days after your surgery. You should also avoid operating any form of machinery after surgery. Your plastic surgeon will provide you with a list of instructions to guide you through recovery. These instructions will involve activities to avoid after surgery. For instance, after butt augmentation procedure, you will be advised to sleep on your belly and to not sit for long periods of time because this may interfere with final results. Lifting heavy objects is definitely not recommended after surgery. If you can, arrange for a caregiver to be around to assist in crucial recovery period. Your plastic surgeon will tell you when you can resume normal activities. Do not overly strain your body and listen to the cues to rest. You need time to properly heal so take a rest and let your body do the rest. 4. Your diet There will be some adjustments to your diet after surgery. Your plastic surgeon will tell you what to eat and what to avoid after going under the knife. Don’t resume your normal diet immediately after going under the knife. You can start with something like soup or Gatorade before gradually resuming your normal diet. Plastic surgeons usually advise patients to keep hydrated by drinking lots of fluids. Fiber-rich food should also be included in the diet. Cereals, vegetables, and fruits are some of the foods to include in the diet after going under the knife. Fruits and vegetables along with other foods rich in fiber are known to decrease inflammation. These are also the best foods that can help avoid complications such as constipation and digestion problems. Avoid taking alcohol or smoking while recovering from plastic surgery. These two lifestyle risk factors are known to interfere with the normal wound and tissue healing and affect outcomes after surgery. 5. Avoid pushing yourself through the pain If you experience pain after plastic surgery it is very important that you use the medications provided by your plastic surgeon. It is usually advisable to avoid pushing through the pain and instead use the painkillers prescribed by your plastic surgeon. Studies have shown that managing pain promotes better healing and faster recovery. Pain after surgery is common and a result of bruising, but sometimes due to infections. Stick to the medication prescribed by your plastic surgeon and avoid using other painkillers sold over the counter. Over the counter painkillers may sometimes interfere with your healing process that is why it is always advisable to simply take medications prescribed by your plastic surgeon. Anyone planning to undergo plastic surgery should understand that plastic surgery comes with possible complications and risks. To achieve desired results, plastic surgery patients should know that to look better; they must first look worse. Plastic surgery should be done for aesthetic reasons with realistic expectations. Plastic surgery should never be done for perfection purposes. Plastic surgery patients should be prepared and expect to feel uncomfortable and bruised for the first few days, and it may not be possible to resume daily routine or go back to work immediately. Conclusion Complications that come with plastic surgery can be minimized or avoided completely as long as the patient closely follow pre-operative and post-operative instructions of the plastic surgeon. To ensure optimal results, patients are strongly urged to strictly comply with protocols laid out. Successful outcomes are possible when patient understands and express willingness to follow doctor’s recommendations before and after surgery including proper care of wounds and treated sites.