What to Expect After Surgery
After your surgery, there are a few things you must know and do to avoid complications during recovery. Remember, your home is your recovery room, so make sure that your healing environment is clean and sterile. Keep pets, children and dirty hands clear of your incisions.
You will be seen at Renu or Scotia Surgery for your post-op check. An appointment time will be given to you the day of your surgery. You can remove your bandages to shower before coming to your appointment.
- You may experience a bit of oozing from the incisions for a period of 24-48 hours.
- Keep incisions clean with a slight (little) amount of ointment.
- Do not overdue it with the ointment. More is NOT better. This could lead to the incision not healing properly.
- Apply lots of ice (20-30 minutes on + 20-30 minutes off) for the next 2-3 days.
- Sleep with your head elevated 30-45° for 2-3 days. You will receive a travel pillow from Dr. Bourget to help rest your head and neck.
- You will experience some discomfort, but it should not be a lot of pain.
- Take your medication as prescribed and explained.
Day 2 – 4
These are your peak days for swelling. You will notice that the bruises are starting to show a bit more colour. You will experience the purple, red, green and yellows of your bruises. These could be on the top or bottom of your eyes, if you have a browlift or eyelid surgery, and these will be noticeable on your neck and chest if you have had a face lift.
You should be applying for a total of 3 days. Remember, applying ice will help reduce your chances of swelling and bruising. This is one of the best solutions for swelling.
You should be cleaning your incision once daily with ½ strength peroxide and ½ H2O. If you shower in the morning, allow the water to cleanse your incision. You can use unscented soap and water. This will clean what you can’t reach and it will not hurt. Once out of the shower, pat dry and apply ointment. In the evening, clean with ½ strength peroxide and ½ H2O, and apply a little ointment. In total, apply the ointment 2-3 times daily.
Day 5 + 6
Your swelling has probably gone down a bit by now. You will most likely still have some bruising. This is normal. The first week with any surgery is always the worst. If you notice an increase in swelling or hardening of tissue, this can be an infection, hematoma or seroma. A hematoma is a collection of blood outside the blood vessels. A seroma is a pocket of clear fluid that sometimes develops after surgery. Please contact us for an appointment and assessment of the area.
Make sure you keep wearing your bandages. Take them off only to shower and eat. An hour off here and there is okay but for you must wear them the majority of the time.
Incisions should be clean and not oozing at this point. Pain and discomfort should be minimal. You may look asymmetrical (uneven) since the swelling does not decrease evenly.
If you are having a general anesthetic (being put to sleep) or having intravenous sedation, you must have someone drive you home from the hospital. When you are ready for discharge, the staff will call this person.
You will not be allowed to walk home or take public transportation.
We encourage you to have someone at home with you overnight to provide care if needed. If you have small children, arrange for someone to help you for a few days if necessary.
Day 7 – 9
You will have another appointment scheduled on day 7 to see a nurse at the clinic for your first suture removal visit. At least half, maybe all, of your sutures are removed at this point. You will also be seen for a general follow-up appointment to see how you are doing after your surgery. Swelling at this point is reduced by approximately 25-40%.
You should be finished your antibiotics now. If you had blepharoplasty (upper and/or lower eyelid) surgery, all your sutures can be removed.
You will be given instructions for continuity of care. Keep wearing your face and/or forehead band for at least 2 weeks. Always make sure incision sites are cleaned and add ointment 1-2 times per day.
You can go out for walks and do some activities, but not excessive. You may feel at this point in time a bit depressed. This is post surgery blues. You may keep asking yourself why did I do this to myself? Is it ever going to heal? When can I return to normal activities? You may go through an emotional rollercoaster, but let us assure you this is normal and you will get through it.
Any questions you may have can be asked at this time or at any time after your surgery by calling us at 1-902-492-1586.
Day 10 – 14
At two weeks post surgery, you will be seen at Dr. Bourget office to have the remainder of your sutures removed. At this point, more than half of the swelling should be gone and you should have very little bruising. However, everyone heals differently.
You may be a fast healer and look great, or you may be a very slow healer and still have some bruising and a fair amount of redness to the incisions. These things cannot be predicted and time will heal the incisions, but patience is required. You may start rubbing your incisions with Vitamin E cream, but detailed instructions will be given to you by the staff. Your incision should be reddish or pinkish in colour and will remain this colour for up to three months.
If you received products with your post-surgery recovery kit, now is the time to start using the products.
Day 15 – 30
You are still in the healing process, but should be back to regular activities (i.e. work, home care, gym, etc.) Start slow and progress as your body allows. Your incisions are still pink and will be for a few months. You may still notice some swelling on occasion.
This occasional swelling could be from anything (i.e. you’re tired, you’ve had a glass of wine, exercise, change in temperature, etc). Before all circulation and everything goes back to normal, this may occur. This could last for 3-4 months, depending on each individual healing process.
You should be massaging your incision, morning and night, this can be done with Vitamin E or your face cream. Doing so will improve the look and feel of your incisions.
1 – 3 Months
You will be seen at Dr. Bourget office for a follow-up. At this point, we want to make sure you are on the right path of healing and that we can address any concerns you may have.
Do not get discouraged with your incision, anywhere on the body. Incisions can take many months to disappear. If we feel you are not healing the way we expect you to at 3 months or you are not satisfied with your results, your surgeon may elect to perform a minor revision. Follow-up appointments will be given to you for future visits accordingly.