Kate Moreland talks with Postscript Magazine

What happens after plastic surgery?

What Happens After Surgery?

Cosmetic surgery is now an option chosen by many women in the quest for better looks and in hanging onto them longer: and cosmetic medicine is also growing, with a 15% increase in non- and minimally-invasive procedures in the 12 months till April 2012.

While procedures like rhinoplasty, dermabrasion and facelifts can make a big difference, they’re not the end of the treatment process, says Kate Moreland, director of Clarify Clinic, a consulting company for those considering plastic or cosmetic surgery – skin requires extra care and often a new skincare regimen following a procedure.

‘Preserving a healthy, youthful appearance involves maintenance and a lifestyle approach to prolonging youthful, gorgeous skin for as long as possible through sensible living, advanced skin care, occasional beauty shots and skin treatments,’ says Kate.

‘Hence, if you are contemplating cosmetic surgery you must consider altering your skincare routine.

‘Cosmetic surgery is not like other surgeries. Postoperative care involves a commitment by you and your plastic surgeon to maintain your new look for as long as possible.

‘The specific follow-up care will depend on the type of cosmetic surgery you had, your age, your lifestyle, and your expectations.’

Kate says that it’s very important that people recovering from cosmetic surgery are gentle with their skin, avoiding harsh products; they also need to be vigilant about sun protection and avoiding ultraviolet radiation, which can damage healing skin easily.

‘You want to heal without any discolouration,’ she says. ‘You really need to take care after surgery to prevent pigmentation.

‘Only mild, hypoallergenic products, like non-soap cleansers and fragrance-free moisturisers, must be used.

‘Be extra vigilant about sun protection. It’s best to avoid the direct sun in the days immediately following your procedure.

‘If you must go out, use a sunscreen which blocks alpha and beta sun rays [UVA and UVB]. SPF30 or 40 should be sufficient – the higher SPF sunscreens can block the pores, so it may be better to avoid them.’

Any product or procedure which is abrasive, such as exfoliants, should be avoided until the skin heals, Kate says.

For example, she says post-operative instructions for dermabrasion include not smoking, as this delays healing and increases the risk of complications; avoiding the sun for at least 7 days after the microdermabrasion treatment; and not using glycolic, alpha hydroxy, beta hydroxy, Retinol, benzyl peroxide or topical acne medications for 24 to 48 hours following the treatment.

After more invasive procedures such as rhinoplasty (nose surgery), patients need to be even more careful.

‘Do not smoke. It is important that you do not smoke after the operation, because smoking lowers circulation,’ says Kate.

‘This can slow recovery and cause complications such as necrosis (death of skin), scarring and skin loss.

‘For at least 2 weeks after your surgery, refrain from strenuous exercise as this will affect the healing process. Avoid bending over, as this can increase blood flow and can lead to excess bleeding.

‘For the first few weeks, sleep with your head slightly elevated above the rest of your body, keeping your nose propped up at a 45-degree angle.

‘Shower after a few days because your face will still be sore and tender. Shower in cool water and only soap – do not use any scrubs or exfoliating creams as this can be painful and will also harm the healing process.

‘Do not be tempted to scrub old blood away, as this will not help your surgery to heal. If gauze has been used to cover the tip of your nose, change it regularly to avoid infection.’


by Megan Haggan