Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood on May 10, 2012


Robert Kotler, MD, FACS Cosmetic and Plastic Surgeon of the Face and Neck Clinical instructor, Division of Head & Neck Surgery, UCLA Medical School.

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Video Transcript

Narrator: What are the things that I can do to recover more quickly from cosmetic surgery?

Robert Kotler, MD: Well, patients do have an influence on their own recovery. The first is please follow our instructions, and if you're having pain, take a pain medicine, because if you don't, and you're trying to be stoic, your blood pressure is going to go up as a result of pain and that can translate into more bruising for example. And at worse, it can cause such increased bleeding under the skin that the wound can just pop apart. So, follow the instructions.

Robert Kotler, MD (cont.): Secondly, please don't smoke. We hope you never smoke, but for sure, don't smoke after surgery. It delays the healing and it compromises lung function. There's not a single good thing you can say about smoking, only bad.

Robert Kotler, MD (cont.): Thirdly, don't lay around the house and do nothing. With cosmetic surgery, you don't need to be bed bound for more than one day or so. By the next day, you can be up and about. Now you may not want to go to an amusement park, but you can certainly take a walk around your house. If the weather's nice, go out, get some fresh air. Why? Because if you don't, if you just lay around the house, you're going to be subject to constipation, a very practical issue.

Robert Kotler, MD (cont.): You've got to get moving because you've been taking some pain pills perhaps. Most pain pills will produce some level of constipation. You counter that by getting up, getting around. And by the way, drink lots of fluids. Drink fruit juices. Again, we tell everybody this. It's in writing. This is what they should do.

Robert Kotler, MD (cont.): We tell them what they shouldn't do. What they shouldn't do is go back to the health club three days later and start pumping iron because the blood pressure is going to go up again. Elevated blood pressure after surgery is one of our greatest enemies because of the bruising issue and the bleeding issue, so it's generally 10 days before you can go back to your health club, and maybe even 2 weeks, depending on how things are going, but we'll be monitoring.

Robert Kotler, MD (cont.): And again, because we're going to see the patient often, particularly after the bigger procedures. We're going to see them several times the first week. We're going to be asking these questions every day. How's it going? Are you out and about? Are you getting a little fresh air? Are you moving your body parts? How's it going in the constipation or no constipation department? How are you eating?

Robert Kotler, MD (cont.): Occasionally somebody, they just stop eating for whatever reason, not a good idea. Why? You need protein. You need carbohydrates. Your body has to repair itself. We're big on vitamins as long as they are the right vitamins and we know about them. And we're big on just plain old, good old nutrition.