The major surgery which we do at the Staiano Clinic, such as breast augmentation, breast reduction, breast lifts, gynaecomastia and tummy tucks have a dramatic effect on your body both physically and mentally and you should allow enough time to recover from them.
Surgery often involves tightening or stretching the skin, so it can feel tense and swollen for some time and you should avoid exerting yourself.
Not only does this run the risk of putting tension on the wound and the possibility of the wound not healing up as well as we would like, but it will also increase the swelling and the swelling can take some time to subside.
If you overdo it in the early stages then it can be a false economy in the long run and you would have been better off giving yourself more time to let things settle to start off with, and although cosmetic surgery has an image of a lunchtime procedure with no downtime, if you are seeking a dramatic change in the shape of your body then you should expect and plan for a period of rest and recuperation.
The First Week
The first week after surgery is always uncomfortable.
Everything feels tight and tender and you will not feel like doing much.
You will be able to potter around the house and look after yourself, but you should plan for little more.
After the first week you will come back to have the dressings removed and you usually do not need any dressings after this time.
However, everything will still be quite fragile and you should continue to take things easy in the second week, although you may be able to work from home for short periods.
Depending on the procedure you have had done and how you are feeling, you should be able to drive after two to three weeks although occasionally you are able to drive after one week.
You should always check with your car insurance company to make sure you are insured and talk to us as we will be able to guide you.
Every individual is different and you should listen to your body, so that if things are uncomfortable or start to swell, then you should ease off and rest.
It is important not to be too immobile and we always encourage you to keep your legs and arms moving, either by walking around or gently exercising while sitting, as well as taking deep breaths to expand up your lungs.
We encourage you to cough if you feel like you have anything on your chest.
After Two Weeks
After two weeks you may be able to resume gentle activities and you may be able to go back to work as long as it is not too strenuous.
If you have had surgery to your upper body, now is the time you can start exercising your lower body on the exercise bike or the stepper at the gym, but you should avoid too much activity with your arms.
Two To Four Weeks
Between two and four weeks you will start to feel better, although the scars will still be quite fragile and the tissues will still be quite swollen.
We normally advise people to wait at least four weeks before starting to massage their scars with cream, as they might be quite red and firm at this stage.
Four To Six Weeks
After around four to six weeks you can start engaging in more strenuous activities including heavy lifting or upper body exercises at the gym. I would stress that this is the time to start these activities which does not mean that you should go straight in, doing the same level that you were pre-operatively. It is merely that you can start to gently see how you feel and gradually build up. If it is uncomfortable or the tissues swell then you should stop and give yourself more time to rest.
It takes about three months before the shape and the scars really start to settle and there can be numbness or altered sensation, which can take many months to subside.
At around twelve to eighteen months, you will be getting an idea of what the final results should be like, but it is not uncommon to still have some degree of settling after this.
We keep a close eye on you in the clinic and encourage you to get in touch if you have any concerns about how you are healing. We realise that everyone is an individual and this is just guidance.
Or you can ask our director, Jonathan Staiano, a question LIVE on Facebook at 7 o’clock every Tuesday evening, so feel free to drop in.