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Recovery

Recovery

The average recovery periods for each procedure are described, but there is considerable variation from person to person.

In recovery, there is usually some discomfort, which may be irritating enough to prevent the person from sleeping as soundly as usual. For example, even with simply a bandage or a cast, even if no surgery had been done at all, there will be an annoyance. Also, post-surgically, the patient will usually be asked to sleep in a position with the head elevated.

Then, wherever there are stitches or wherever the surgery has been done, there is soreness and tenderness.

Add to all of the above the fact that there is some swelling (which, if around the eyes, may cause blurring of vision), and the concerns one has about the results and the possibility of infection and other complications, you can imagine how it all might accumulate into restlessness and fatigue.


Depression

There is a normal After-Surgery Depression that should be expected, because it is common and is easier to withstand if it is expected and understood.

It comes about, for example, when the person after surgery looks in the mirror and sees that instead of looking better they look much worse. With all the discomfort, costs, time off, social isolation, and fatigue, it is very disappointing to see oneself so distorted and looking and feeling so badly, with discoloration and swelling, even though we know all this is just temporary.

It can be very helpful to see the doctor during this phase, to go over what the goals were, review what was done, communicate how things are progressing, and understand when one can expect improvement.

The cure for the depression is the return of confidence that comes when the person is looking good, and it is especially quick to go away when the person feels they look better than ever. Unfortunately, very often many weeks or months are required for all the swelling to go away completely.

It is important for a person who is undergoing a change in appearance to look normal as quickly as possible, even if that means wearing much more make-up than they would ordinarily like to wear. To strangers, it is better to seem to be wearing too much make-up than to appear to be injured or allowing bruises to show.

The only friends you should expose yourself to when not looking your best are those who are supportive and will not be critical of you in the process of trying to look as good as you can. Some old acquaintances may feel uncomfortable that you have made this change, and may be under the impression that you are going to look so good now that you won't need them anymore. Sometimes an old friend will feel that you're not going to be their buddy anymore if you look so much better, and they need your reassurance that they will still be a part of your life.

The first persons we should expose ourselves to after surgery are the people we don't know and will never see again. It can be very helpful psychologically to see that our appearance is acceptable to people who don't know us, even when we think we look very bad.

It is a good idea to wear sunglasses if it is allowed, and to wear a scarf if we don't feel our hair looks good. We can go out, sort of incognito like the celebrities do. We can take care of our needs and still have somewhat of a good time during the healing phase, which is very beneficial to our mental health. On the other hand, if a person sits home alone for weeks feeling miserable and doesn't go out, a feeling of depression can become exacerbated and serious, even when the surgery has been very successful.


Satisfaction

Many people are happy just to have the operation over and done. Some people, a few, are never pleased with anything. Most are reasonable people who develop a goal with us and are genuinely satisfied with a permanent improvement in appearance, even if not everything that was desired was possible via surgery.

It is a mistake to allow oneself to become too excited about an improvement in appearance. Not everyone will like us better because we are better looking.

Just as wealthy people are often no happier than poor people, attractive people are not necessarily happier than those who are not so good-looking.

Frequently, by the time a person has fully recovered and adjusted to the changes in appearance, they have trouble remembering exactly what they looked like in the beginning. It is helpful to have photographs, and we like to give all of our patients copies of their before and after photographs.

Many patients take pictures of themselves, and sometimes a picture a day with any camera along with some good pictures taken before will show the daily progress. This will give you a nice record of the changes that are occurring.

It can be very encouraging to see the resulting improvement in appearance by comparing your before and after pictures.

 

William Roy Morgan M.D., F.A.C.S.

1419 Superior Avenue, Suite 2

Newport Beach CA 92663

Phone 949-645-6665    

wrmorganmd@gmail.com        wrmorganmd@yahoo.com

 

 

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 William Roy Morgan, M.D., F.A.C.S  Last modified: January 22, 2015