Life after getting plastic surgery Introduction We are bombarded every day with the image of the perfect man and woman, and more and more of us become self-aware and more preoccupied with our bodies by erasing the signs of aging. People interested in undergoing plastic surgery to enhance their appearance should understand that while plastic surgery might seem as simple as a trip to the salon, the reality is very different. Plastic surgery is surgery after all, and no surgery is completely without risk. After most plastic surgery procedures, there is a recovery period during which the patient needs to follow a strict post-op protocol. Most importantly, there are signs and marks you will always wear with you after undergoing plastic surgery. In this article we will discuss life after getting plastic surgery and what patients can expect. Life during the recovery period After most plastic surgery procedures, the patient will need to go through a recovery period. Often we are talking about two weeks, more or less depending on the procedure and its complexity. For example, the recovery period after an abdominal liposuction can be no more than a few days while a complete tummy tuck recovery might take up to two or three weeks. The recovery times are also dependent on the health condition of the patient and whether there are pre-existing health conditions to be considered. Plastic surgery often entails a very short hospitalization period. In many cases, if no complications occur, patients are free to leave the medical facility within hours after waking up from the effects of the anesthesia. This means that upon the arrival home, the patient is still under the influence of the medication given during surgery and also might be feeling dizzy and nauseated. Aside from the normal side effects of general anesthesia, patients can also experience pain and discomfort during the first few days post-op. The lack of mobility can be rather frustrating, especially for patients who are used to having an active lifestyle. The first few days after the procedure, the patient is advised to take the medication as prescribed and also get off the bed for at least a few minutes every couple of hours and walk around the room. Gradually, the time spent out of bed should increase over the first two weeks. Just make sure to take it slowly. The first two weeks after the surgery is the time when the patient needs to be extra careful about specific complications that can occur. For example, we are talking about infection. Infection is a serious complication that can considerably delay the healing process and also trigger other complications such as bad scarring. The signs of infection are high fever, redness in the operated area, pus coming from the incision site, and intense pain. If you notice any or many of these signs, it is better to contact your doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Depending on the procedure and the area that was targeted, the patient’s life during the recovery period can be more or less difficult. For example, the recovery period after butt implant surgery and fat transfer to the butt are associated with a higher level of discomfort due to the fact that the patient can’t sit on the buttocks or lie on their back. After two weeks post-op, most patients will be able to resume most daily activities and even work; however, there is still the recommendation to avoid intense physical activities for longer. Life a few months after the surgery The final results of most procedures start to transpire three to six months after. During the first months after the surgery, the patient can be confronted with the natural side effects of the surgery such as swelling and bruising, seroma and hematoma, and even changes in skin sensitivity in the area operated on. These are all normal after a surgical procedure, and most will disappear without additional treatment in the months to follow. However, following certain recommendations will help you speed up the recovery, such as wearing the compression garments and also resuming exercise gradually. Three months post-op, most patients often resume all activities and can show off the results. However, there are still restrictions in place. During this time, patients can choose to change their wardrobe to suit their new body. For patients getting butt and breast implants, it is during these three months post-op that they start shopping for new clothes to accommodate the new size and volume of the breasts. It is important to wait until the final results are stable before making serious purchases for your closet. Life a year after the procedure A responsible and experienced plastic surgeon will tell you that you will really see the full extent of the results a year after the procedure. During this first year post-op, the incisions will close and slowly heal, and the cicatrization process takes up to 12 months to be completed. So by this time, you will see how your incisions will look like. Some patients are worried over the months following the procedure as their incisions go through different healing stages that they will be red and swollen and visible all throughout, but this is not true. Unless abnormal scarring occurs, the incisions after plastic surgery heal to be very similar in color to the surrounding tissues. Often, we are talking about fine, white lines that are difficult to notice if you don’t know exactly where to look for them. The appearance of the scars one year post-op is dependent on many factors. First, it is about the skills and experience of the plastic surgeon. A talented plastic surgeon will know how to place the incisions in the natural folds of the body or in areas where they can easily be masked by clothes to make them less visible. Another is the patient’s behavior during the recovery period. There are certain instructions that need to be followed to the letter, such as wearing the compression garments which will keep the tissues compressed and also keeping the incisions dry and clean until they are fully closed. It is important not to apply any kind of cream or product on the incisions not recommended by the plastic surgeon, especially during the beginning of the recovery period as this might trigger infections and also make the scars bigger and unappealing. For implants, they should have certainly dropped and settled in their new location within a year, and the patient can enjoy the final results. Moreover, a year post-op is also a good time to hit the beach or have fun at the pool as the plastic surgeon will give you the green light for spending time out in the sun. During the first year, it is important to avoid sun exposure as it might cause skin discoloration or hyperpigmentation on the scars. After undergoing plastic surgery and achieving satisfactory results, patients notice a surge of self-esteem that is most obvious after the final results transpire. They feel more eager to take on new challenges, better equipped to deal with them, and more willing to engage on a social field. Conclusion While widely available and affordable nowadays, plastic surgery is certainly not as easy as a trip to the salon. Plastic surgery entails the use of general anesthesia in many cases, significant incisions, and a strict pre- and post-operative protocol that patients must follow to ensure they reduce the risk of developing a complication and they achieve good results. Life immediately after getting plastic surgery can be difficult for the patient, meaning that the first few days are often associated with a higher level of pain and discomfort. The plastic surgeon will provide pain medication to alleviate the discomfort. During the recovery period, the patient has to pay a special attention and care for the surgical incisions to avoid infections. After three months, patients can resume their daily activities, work and even exercise. Many of the normal side effects should have subsided by now. A year after the surgery, we consider the process completed and the patient will be able to enjoy the results of the procedure.