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How to Decrease Swelling after Plastic Surgery

By The Landings Surgical Centre on November 01, 2016


A slender woman with smooth, youthful skinThe signs of aging, weight loss, and cosmetic issues can leave many patients wishing that they could alter and enhance their appearance through plastic surgery. Facial plastic surgery can reduce the appearance of deep lines and wrinkles, and create more balanced and symmetrical features. Body and breast procedures can improve proportion and tighten the skin. Regardless of the type of plastic surgery, there are some common side effects to expect after surgery, swelling being one of the most common. Taking steps to reduce swelling can help reduce pain and speed up recovery. For personalized tips on reducing swelling after plastic surgery, schedule a consultation with Halifax, NS plastic surgeons Richard Bendor-Samuel and Louis Boileau.

What Causes Swelling after Plastic Surgery?

The incisions made during plastic surgery, along with tissue manipulation, causes injury to the tissues. Swelling is the body's natural response to injury or trauma and is necessary for tissue healing. Swelling occurs as white blood cells, proteins, and other fluids collect within damaged areas to help fight off infection and help the body heal.

Tips to Reduce Swelling after Plastic Surgery

Although swelling is necessary to the healing process, too much swelling can cause pain and discomfort. Reducing swelling can help relieve discomfort and aid in recovery. After surgery, you will be given personalized instructions on how to care for your incisions and reduce swelling. It's best to follow all post-surgical instructions to encourage a speedy recovery and desired results. You may be advised to follow these steps to reduce swelling:

  • Apply ice packs: Applying clean ice packs to swollen tissues can help reduce swelling. The ice causes the blood vessels to contract. Care must be taken when applying ice packs to the tissue to avoid further injury; ice packs should only be applied for 15-minute increments.
  • Elevation: Elevating the area of the body where surgery was performed can help drain fluids and reduce swelling. Those who have undergone facial plastic surgery or breast augmentation should sit upright while those who have had a tummy tuck often benefit from a semi-reclined position.
  • Compression garments: Compression garments are recommended and should be worn for a few weeks after plastic surgery. Compression garments help with recovery in a number of ways. They help to reduce swelling by pushing fluids into the lymph system for removal from the body, they help the tissues conform and retract to their new contours, and they support the tissues as they heal.
  • Massage: Gently massaging swollen tissues can help move fluids and reduce swelling. Great care must be taken when massaging the tissues after surgery and should only be done if recommended by your surgeon.
  • Reduce salt intake: Diets high in sodium can cause the body to retain fluid. Reducing salt intake after surgery can help prevent fluid retention and aid in reducing swelling.

Schedule a Consultation

If you're interested in enhancing your appearance and are considering plastic surgery, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Drs. Bendor-Samuel and Boileau to discover your treatment options.

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"Our doctors and staff are cheerful, friendly, calm, courteous, and efficient. They have an excellent rapport with each other and work very much as a team."

JoAnne Reid, Nursing Director, The Landings Surgical Centre

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