Plastic Surgery Recovery

Recovery from plastic surgery procedures entail different experiences for different patients.

However, there may be a very general list of things to expect during your recovery. For instance, for many procedures, swelling and tenderness may be a staple recovery experience. Again, each patient has unique experiences. This post is meant to be a general guide to assist you on your recovery journey. 

As always, Millard Plastic Surgery is here to answer your questions about specific procedures during a private consultation. Whether you are interested in a surgical procedure or non-invasive body contouring, Millard Plastic Surgery is ready to help you meet your aesthetic goals. Contact us today to learn how your road to recovery can lead to the body of your dreams!

How painful will my surgery be?

Many patients are probably the most concerned about the pain they may experience following a cosmetic procedure – and rightfully so. With that said, pain is a completely subjective experience for each individual. What may be a “10” on the 1-10 pain scale for you, may be a 5 for someone else. 

In a nutshell, the more extensive your procedure, the more pain you may experience.

At Millard Plastic Surgery, Dr. John A. Millard prefers to use VASER Hi-Def Liposuction over traditional lipo. VASER provides patients with an easier (read: less painful) recovery due to its advanced technology. This lessens the need for post-op pain medication. 

Other procedures that do not require liposuction, such as breast augmentation, are well tolerated by many patients. Usually they may only require over-the-counter pain medications following surgery.

If you experience pain that is intolerable at any point of your treatment or recovery do not hesitate to contact Dr. Millard at (303) 792-5665. He will work with you to keep you comfortable during the recovery process. 

Will I receive pain medication after my cosmetic surgery?

Some discomfort after surgery is normal. To maintain your comfort during recovery, you may be given a prescription for pain medication. You will be provided with the least effective dosage and amount to manage pain during this time. For many patients who are not given a prescription for pain medication, they can usually tolerate post-operative pain using over-the-counter medications.

Dr. Millard will discuss post-op pain management options with you during your one-on-one consultation

What can I eat after plastic surgery?

Nutrition is very important to the recovery process and to Dr. Millard. Having great eating habits will positively contribute to your healing and, subsequently, your results. Following surgery, we send all patients home with a care package that includes protein-rich foods and/or supplements to help ensure appropriate healing.

Will I need to do anything to aid in my cosmetic surgery recovery?

The first, and foremost directive for all patients, regardless of procedure type, is to listen to the doctor. Dr. Millard has extensive training and experience in the fields of plastic and cosmetic surgery. He is the first point of reference when it comes to experiencing a smooth and healthy recovery. 

During the consultation, Dr. Millard will provide you with specific pre- and post-operative instructions. It is imperative that you follow all directions closely, as your healing time, recovery experience, and final results may depend on it. 

In general, you may be directed to undergo a series of lymphatic massages, take a recommended amount of time off of work, wear a compression garment, avoid heavy lifting, and not engage in strenuous exercise. Also, a regimen of specific medications may be prescribed, such as antibiotics, iron, and/or a stool softener. More or less medications may be prescribed depending on your specific case. 

Regular movement or light exercise is required. Immediately following surgery, you will be encouraged to get up and walk around periodically, for a few minutes each time. This is to encourage blood circulation, which promotes successful healing and reduces adverse effects from surgery. 

How long will it take to recover from surgery?

Each surgery has different recovery timelines. A more extensive surgery, like a Mommy Makeover, may require 1-2 weeks off of work. A minimally invasive procedure, such as Cellulaze, may only require a day or two before returning to work. Visit our procedure page to learn more about the downtime of your selected procedure. 

Will I be able to care for myself after plastic surgery?

Some patients do not want their loved ones seeing them in such a vulnerable state following surgery. However, having a support system in place is very important for your health. You will need to have someone drive you home on the day of your surgery and stay with you for at least the next 24 hours. 

After surgery you must be mindful of orthostatic hypertension – also referred to as postural hypertension.1 This is when blood pressure rises suddenly when you go from lying down to sitting up and/or sitting up to standing up. As a result of this sudden blood pressure change, patients may experience dizziness, fainting, or headaches.

Having someone by your side as you adjust to life following plastic surgery can mitigate potential harm from fainting or any other adverse effects. 

Also, having an extra pair of hands can help you heal easier as you can rest more, instead of trying to complete day to day activities around the house. Please ask about our Post-Surgical Caregiver Options. Our patients have tried and vetted these services and have given them rave reviews. 

Can I resume smoking or drinking after surgery?

It is best to live a healthy lifestyle at every stage of life. Before and after surgery, smoking and drinking alcohol should be avoided during the healing process. Smoking and drinking alter the blood – from lowering oxygen saturation to thinning the blood.2, 3 When it comes to recovery, these alterations impede the healing process, introducing serious risk of an adverse recovery experience. 

What if I am unhappy with my cosmetic surgery?

Some patients feel conflicted after undergoing plastic surgery. This is fairly common as your body and mind adjusts to post-surgery you.4 Depending on the procedure(s) you opted for, remember it may take a few months to visualize your final results. During this time, your body may be swollen and you may experience some discomfort. It is natural to wonder when you will look good or why you decided to have the procedure done. Commonly, once patients are closer to the end of the healing timeline, they begin to see the results they initially desired. They become extremely happy with their decision and their results! 

To ensure you have a positive recovery and overall experience, it is important that you consult and choose a board-certified plastic and cosmetic surgeon to perform your procedures of choice. Regardless of the procedure, from dermal fillers to a full body Mommy Makeover with 4D VASER Hi-Def Liposculpture, you must consider the 4 T’s:

  • Training
  • Technique
  • Technology
  • Technician

While in our blog these are discussed in relation to Liposuction/Liposculpture, they are fundamental in the field. To be sure you are working with a professional who is talented, experienced, committed, and equipped to get you closer to realizing your aesthetic goals, reach out to Millard Plastic Surgery to work with one of the most Renowned Plastic Surgeons in the country. Your recovery depends on it.

The Millard Difference

When you walk through the doors of Millard Plastic Surgery for your consultation with highly esteemed, board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. John A. Millard you will notice our difference right away. Our practice is staffed with professionals who have not only the knowledge to assist you, but also a passion for the plastic surgery industry.

We are committed to helping you get the results you desire by providing excellent care and service before, during, and after any procedure. 

A consultation with Dr. Millard is a meeting with Colorado greatness. He has been rated as a top plastic surgeon in Denver and has been featured on a number of news and media outlets for his pioneering expertise. As a leader in the field of cosmetic surgery, Dr. Millard was the first physician to perform VASER Hi-Def Liposuction in the United States. He is dedicated to teaching new and established professionals the art and technique of body sculpting in a safe, effective, and innovative manner. This surgeon, author, teacher, innovator, media contributor, and Air Force veteran is invested in his art and his patients, who come from all over the world to work with him.

Despite the credentials and accolades, Dr. Millard and his staff wish to relay their desire to make your experience with Millard Plastic Surgery positive and incomparable. Our amazing reviews from current patients who are familiar with what we have to offer, speak for themselves. Contact us today to experience the Millard Difference for yourself. 

Additional Resources

  1. Chhabra, L. & Spodick, D. H. (2013). Orthostatic hypertension: Recognizing an underappreciated clinical condition. Indian Heart Journal, 65(4), 454-456. doi: 10.1016/j.ihj.2013.06.023
  2. UW Health. (2019). Smoking and Wound Healing. Health Facts for You. Retrieved from 
  3. Advanced Tissue. (2017, Mar 21). How Drinking Alcohol Can Negatively Affect the Healing Process. [Web log]. Retrieved from 
  4. American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. (2016). Common Feelings After Cosmetic Surgery. Retrieved from 
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