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Dealing with Swelling after Plastic Surgery

Vishnu Rumalla Mar 30, 2017

Woman with plastic surgery markingsStubborn fat cells and flabby skin are two of the most universal cosmetic concerns affecting the body. It doesn’t matter how much a person weighs, they are likely to have at least one or two problem areas that hold onto excess fat deposits. Body plastic surgery eliminates unwanted fat for good while tightening the skin to vastly improve body contours. The results of body contouring procedures are dramatic. However, patients should not expect the body to transform overnight.

Swelling after plastic surgery is extremely common for our Fort Worth, TX patients. In fact, swelling is the most common side effect after any surgical procedure. Dr. Vishnu Rumalla explains why his patients should expect swelling following treatment at his plastic surgery practice.

What Causes Swelling after Plastic Surgery?

Even though patients know that swelling is a common side effect after plastic surgery, many are alarmed to see how much the body seems to swell after treatment. It helps to understand exactly why the body reacts in this way. In short, the body views surgery as a trauma. Any time the body undergoes a traumatic injury, it responds by increasing the flow of blood cells to that area. Although inflammation can be an unattractive and uncomfortable symptom, it is actually a helpful response that plays an important role in the healing process. The excess blood circulating through the surgical site carries proteins, white blood cells, and other chemicals, all of which trigger the body’s healing process.

Minimizing Swelling

It is true that inflammation is a natural and important part of plastic surgery recovery. However, a patient can still take steps to minimize swelling without interfering with the healing process. Below are some of the practices that are most helpful in minimizing swelling after plastic surgery:

  • Keep the surgical area elevated: Rest is a key aspect of plastic surgery recovery. While rest is important, patients must be careful about keeping the surgical site slightly elevated whenever possible to encourage circulation of the blood.
  • Ice the surgical area: Ice packs are one of the most helpful tools for a post-surgical patient. Ice contracts blood vessels and decreases blood flow through the area. Patients should be careful about applying ice for too long, though. It is best to apply ice for 15 minutes, followed by 15 minutes off. While ice is most effective during the first 24 hours of recovery, patients should feel free to use this technique for the first 72 hours after plastic surgery.
  • Gently massage the treatment area: Gentle massage is helpful during plastic surgery recovery. Patients can apply gentle pressure to the treatment area to encourage blood flow. Just be careful to avoid the incision sites, which should not be pulled or strained.
  • Stay hydrated: It seems counterintuitive to increase water intake when the body is holding on to so much extra fluid, but hydration is important to minimizing swelling. Water helps the body get rid of excess fluids naturally and encourages the body’s healing.

Swelling can be pretty severe during the first several days after plastic surgery, but by sticking to post-surgical care instructions and following these tips, patients can ensure that inflammation decreases in a timely manner. By the end of the first week of recovery, most patients see inflammation go down substantially, and in the weeks following surgery, swelling will continue to dissipate until the full results of surgery are apparent.

Schedule an Appointment

If you are considering plastic surgery and would like to learn more about the typical recovery period, Dr. Vishnu Rumalla would be happy to answer any questions you may have. Schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience to learn more about our wide range of cosmetic treatments.

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