During the first week, you will sleep on your back. Get out of bed every 2-3hrs and walk a little bit, then back to resting. Avoid any strenuous movements and heavy lifting. Heavy exercise or straining can cause bleeding or swelling during the first few weeks. Return to normal activity should be a gradual process and should never cause discomfort. Stop if you are uncomfortable!
- First 3 weeks: You may take a gentle walk within a few days, “short Sunday stroll”. You may drive when you are comfortable and have discontinued all medications, typically 10 days post operatively.
- Weeks 4-6: Legs & light cardiovascular exercise only (lower body movement, no arms)
- Week 7-12: Gradual increase in cardio exercise & light upper body training ( abdomen, biceps - no peck exercises for first 3 months )
Please refrain from showering for the first 7 days after surgery. You will be allowed to take a shower on the morning of postoperative day 7 prior to your follow-up appointment. In the meantime you can bathe, but do not submerge your head in the water.
Swelling will vary patient-to-patient. Swelling may actually increase the first three to four days before subsiding. Most of your swelling should resolve over the first two to three weeks. Do expect, however, to have minor fluctuations in the remaining swelling over the course of the next two to three months. To minimize this swelling include keeping your head elevated as much as possible over the first two to three weeks, avoiding bending over or heavy lifting for the first three weeks, and avoiding prolonged sun exposure for the first two to three months.
Bruising will vary like swelling from person to person. Most bruising and discoloration should resolve over the first two weeks.
Your ears may be numb following surgery. This is normal and will subside over the coming weeks to months. Unusual sensations, pins and needles, and occasionally mild discomfort may occur as these nerves regenerate over time.
It is not uncommon for patients to go through a period of mild depression after cosmetic surgery. This typically occurs the second week after surgery while some of the swelling and bruising still persist and yet the patient is anxious to see a final result. Realize this is a temporary condition and things will improve.
- No strenuous exercise for at least two weeks.
- No heavy lifting for three weeks.
- No "pull-over" clothing for two weeks.
- Avoid hard chewing foods for two weeks.
- No contact sports for six weeks.
GARMENT & DRESSINGS
We will provide you with a headband that should be worn continuously for the first 7 days. It should only be removed to preform incision care. After 7 days, you will continue to wear it for an additional 7 days only while you sleep. This helps to hold the ears in good position and protect them. Keep your dressings dry. We will change your dressing on the first follow up appointment
Cold compresses help minimize swelling and bruising. Use a bowl of ice cubes with gauze at the bedside to soothe sore areas during the first 2 days. It is more important to sleep than to have ice on the eyelids, so don’t ‘stay up’ in order to ice. When you do awaken, apply some ice before going back to sleep.
ARNICA & LIGHT THERAPY
Optional - You may take Arnica which is a homeopathic remedy to aid in reducing your bruising and swelling post-operatively. Light Therapy can assist in the healing process.
If you bleed from one of the suture lines, apply pressure with gauze for 10 – 20 minutes, and it will almost certainly stop. If dried or clotted blood is stuck in the suture line, we advise gentle cleansing with clean water using a cotton bud or gauze.
Removal of sutures at 5-7 days after surgery. The application of your prescribed ointment can then be applied during the day until the tube is finished.
BATHING & SHOWERING
Take care when washing your hair and face not to get any product on the area until the day after the sutures are removed.
Scars take at least one year to fade completely. During this time, you must protect them from the sun. Even through a bathing suit, a good deal of UV radiation can reach the skin and cause damage. Wear a sunscreen with a skin-protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 at all times when in the outdoors.
The incisions will be covered with Bactroban ointment for about 2-3 weeks after surgery, then topical Vit A or Silicone for 8-12 weeks. ( this will be explained to you after surgery )
MEDICATION - Take medications as directed.
Contact Dr Geldenhuys if you develop nausea, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation or bloating. If pain persists despite pain medications please contact Dr Geldenhuys.
Infection is unusual. Fever, localized swelling with redness and tenderness may signify a developing infection and should be reported. Appropriate treatment will be initiated.
Smoking should be strictly avoided as it interferes with the blood supply to the healing tissues and slows subsequent healing.
Have 3 meals a day with plenty of fiber, protein & carbohydrates. Hydrate yourself with plenty of noncarbonated drinks: water & freshly squeezed juices.
CALL ROOMS (021) 424 5218 IF YOU HAVE
- A temperature greater than 37’C.
- Excessive bleeding from your eyes or incision sites
- A sudden increase in pain, or swelling.
- Any questions regarding your care.