Before getting into the generic recovery rules, I provide the following disclaimer: Each procedure has unique post-operative instructions, and your plastic surgeon will give you post-operative instructions combined with the particular procedures they use during your operation. Based on our experience, we plastic surgeons shape how we do every procedure for and patient. I will try to provide some general guidelines. It goes without saying, but I’m going to say it: If you choose an Experienced Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon because you trust them and you like the results they achieve, the best course of action is to do things their way.
Rest: It helps prevent increased swelling and further damage by avoiding physical exercise, heavy lifting, and sudden movement. Immediately after surgery, rest prevents elevated blood pressure and post-operative bleeding. Movement is nice in the weeks following surgery, but relaxation helps you to recover with improved comfort and a more predictable result.
Ice: Ice therapy, particularly for the first few postoperative days, is successful, and if it feels good, it can be continued. I recommend using it for 15 minutes and then leaving it off for 45 minutes. To avoid frostbite, always hold a thin cloth between you and the cold.
Compression: Compression garments for many procedures are very important for controlling swelling and keeping the skin smooth. The skin loses support as well as stuffing after processes such as liposuction, so the garment is essential for keeping the skin flat and smooth. It should be worn 24/7 for the first two weeks.
Elevation: Elevation helps the surgical site drain. This is simple throughout the day, as your face and body are elevated. Lying flat at night can lead to some increased swelling; sleep, however, is very important. If you can sleep with the operated body part elevated for a few days, it helps.
RICE therapy is based upon common sense, and it is a proven treatment. Although it offers an informed basis for evaluating procedures, it should be approved by your surgeon before beginning any new therapy. Your physician has the most knowledge about your operation and has the most experience. During your initial consultation session, it is a good idea to address recovery, because although the surgery will be elective, the recovery becomes obligatory after the operation is performed.