Preparing for Surgery
- Avoid aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications for 2 weeks prior to surgery. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is ok.
- Stop taking herbal medications and vitamins 2 weeks before surgery as these may thin your blood.
- Refrain from smoking 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after surgery. Nicotine and tobacco can delay healing and result in scarring.
- Plan to take 10-14 days off work and 2 weeks before any major social events; after that the bruising is coverable with makeup and the swelling is significantly better.
- Arrange to have someone to drive you home from surgery and stay with you for at least 24 hours after the procedure.
- Vaseline or Aquaphor ointment
- Stool softener (docusate). Constipation is common with use of pain medications and surgical recovery.
- Baby shampoo. This is ideal for early hair care after surgery
- Stock up on easy to prepare, easy to chew meals and snacks. It is not uncommon to have some temporary discomfort with chewing after this surgery.
The Day of Surgery
- Do not have anything to eat or drink (even water) after midnight the night before your surgery. Essential medications may be taken with a small sip of water the morning of your procedure.
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes that button or zip. Avoid slipover clothing.
- Leave your valuables at home; do not wear jewelry or piercings.
- Avoid all make-up, hairspray, and nail polish.
- Do not wear contacts, it is ok to wear glasses, if needed.
- Bring your ID with you.
- Keep your head elevated for the first 48 hours. Sleeping on extra pillows or in a recliner works best. Continuing to sleep with an extra pillow will help reduce swelling the weeks following surgery.
Icepacks (or ice water soaks) may be used over the face and neck. Do this for the first 48 hours to help with swelling and bruising.
- You can resume your normal diet but try to avoid foods that require tall bites or excessive chewing.
- A feeling of tightness is normal and will lessen in the first few weeks but may last up to 6 months.
- There will be areas of decreased sensation or numbness. The sensation will normalize with time. Be very careful to avoid trauma/burns when using curling irons, hot rollers, blow dryers, warm packs, and ice packs.
- After surgery, it is important to have a bowel movement within a day or two. If you do not, you may take over-the-counter stool softeners to encourage your bowels to move.
- All patients are placed on antibiotics for a short time after surgery to prevent an infection. Please complete the entire course of medication as written on the bottle.
- Travel: you should wait to travel by air or long distances until cleared by Dr. Harbison. It is best to keep your car rides shorter than 60 minutes to avoid blood clots.
- Sunscreen should be applied to the external scars starting 2-3 weeks after surgery. It is important to protect your scars for AT LEAST 1 year to prevent discoloration from the sun. Sunscreen with SPF 30 and above is always recommended to prevent skin cancer and signs of aging/sun damage.
- Resuming physical activities:
- Light activity (preparing meals, walking around the house) is encouraged immediately to prevent blood clots but no heavy lifting greater than 5 pounds, bending over, or straining until cleared by Dr. Harbison.
- Driving: once you are no longer taking pain medications
- Sports: 6 weeks
- Swimming, sauna, hot tub: 3-4 weeks or as directed by Dr. Harbison
- Scuba diving: 12 weeks