I am always surprised at how many patients spend enormous amounts of time and money researching surgeons, having procedures done by “the best plastic surgeons” and then become cavalier or resistant when it comes to post-operative care. Just because the surgery is complete, the process is not. Following post-operative instructions to the letter is part of the entire procedure. Under no circumstances should post-operative instructions be considered “optional”.

Post-op care is always important, though with some surgeries it is even more critical. Many patients prefer to recover at home instead of in the recovery ward of a hospital or a dedicated recovery facility. Some surgeons will insist on a 48-hour recovery period in a facility staffed with nurses. This is a good thing. However, not all surgeons make this a requirement.

When patients are given the choice and opt for going home, it is important to hire round the clock post-op nurses for a minimum of the first 48 hours. This is no time to scrimp financially. The cost of experienced nursing care must be factored into the entire expense. The reason is that in the unlikely event of an emergency, someone will be there who will know how to respond appropriately.

For instance, after a facelift some of the most dangerous complications that could arise include the formation of blood clots and hematomas. During the post-op phase, your blood vessels are usually more sensitive and an elevation of blood pressure can cause the blood vessels to break in a localized area. This can cause the blood to accumulate under the skin and a hematoma to form.

Many patients actually go home alone and become terrified upon seeing the swelling and bruising that occurs with a facelift. I’ve even heard of cases where the patients think the surgeon didn’t do a good job. That kind of misunderstanding causes fear, which can cause blood pressure to rise. You want to feel just as safe and comforted throughout the entire healing process as you did pre-surgery. You want to be assured constantly that whatever discomfort you are experiencing is either normal or not.

Just because the surgery is over, the entire cosmetic procedure is not over until healing is complete. Know this going in. Confidence in your surgeon should compel you to be compliant throughout the entire process for the most beautiful results.

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