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Post-Operative Instructions

  • General Comfort: It’s important to get up, move around the house, and take some deep breaths 4-6 times a day. Plan to sleep on your back with your head elevated, if possible. Sleeping on your side will cause swelling on the side you are laying on. Making a nest with pillows can be very helpful. Some people experience a slight sore throat or mild cough for 2-3 days after surgery. This is the side effect of anesthesia and should resolve in 48-72 hours.
  • Pain Management: The first night and first day after surgery will be your most uncomfortable. The pain will then stabilize over the next 24-48 hours and then decrease day by day. Most people will not need prescription pain relievers by the end of the first week. Some people only take a few doses and then use Tylenol. Take your medications as needed. You will heal faster if you are not tense and tired from pain. Pain is also your body’s way of telling you to slow down, plan to rest the first week after surgery. You will be offered a prescription pain reliever for use after surgery. It is usually a combination of acetaminophen (Tylenol) as a narcotic. To avoid nausea, take the pills with food in your body. Constipation can be a side effect; double your fiber and fluid intake while taking these pills. You can take non-steroidal pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), 5-7 days after surgery but not before your drains are removed. Narcotics will interact with alcohol so do not drink at the same time you are taking them. The medication will also make you drowsy, so do not drive while you are taking it. After the first few days, if you have stopped taking pain medication, you may drink.
  • Drains: Drains are used in 80% to 90% of our surgeries to prevent postoperative swelling and fluid build up. You will be instructed in drain care before leaving the surgical center. Please check them periodically when you are awake. You will need to empty them when they are a third to one-half full. It is important not to get the drains wet because of the risk of infection. The initial drainage will be bloody, changing to clear red and clear yellow over the next 3-5 days. If blood clots in the tube, it can be cleared by applying pressure and “milking” the tube toward the bulb. Be careful not to put tension on the tube where it enters the wound. You should wash your hands after handling the drains. Record the amount of drainage and empty the bulb into the toilet. The bulb will need to be squeezed when sealed in order to create suction. If you have less than 30cc of drainage in 24 hours before your first postoperative visit you may call the office to make an appointment to have them removed. Keeping your upper body quiet in the first few days after surgery will reduce your drainage.
  • Wound Care: There is no need to change a clean, dry dressing for the first 2-3 days after surgery. If you have drains, your first dressing change will take place in our clinic. If you do not have drains you may remove your dressing at home 2-3 days after surgery. Remove the outside adhesive and the gauze padding. It is normal to have some dark brown drainage on the gauze. You will probably see paper tapes (Steri-Strips) directly on the suture line and a scab along the Steri-Strip. You will have some bruising as well. Do not remove the Steri-Strip. You may shower after the original dressings and drains have been removed. Lather up with a mild soap on your chest and above the incisions and Steri-Strips. Allow the suds to wash over the breasts (breast augmentation), do not scrub at the area; be gentle with yourself, rinse and pat dry. Place gauze padding or rectangles of clean, soft cotton material (such as an old t-shirt) over each breast and hold in place with a front closing, sports bra. Your doctor will give you other wound care instructions the day of your surgery.
  • Complications: Please call our office or go to the emergency room (if our clinic is closed) if you experience any of the following:
  • Increasing swelling, redness, or pain.
  • Pus drainage from any incision site.
  • Excessive bleeding post-op (i.e. bandages become soaked with blood).
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Fever greater than 100 degrees orally.
  • Activity limitations after Surgery: There should be no reaching above shoulders, twisting or lifting more than five pounds for the first few weeks depending on the surgery. No heavy activity or exercising for three weeks. Any activity that makes your face flush or makes you sweat can make you swell. No soaking your incisions (bathing or hot tubs) until your Steri-Strips are removed, your sutures have been removed, and all scabs are healed. After three weeks, you may resume normal activities.

We know this is a lot of information at once but we want to ensure you have a place to reference back to when needed. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to call us at (910) 323-3757 as soon as possible.

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