Keep Your Eye on the Ball : Don’t Fumble! PART TWO

Follow All Post-Operative and After Care Instructions Closely

After cosmetic or plastic surgery, it is extremely important to follow all instructions. If a patient doesn’t do this, risks and complications can be increased. Post-operative instructions are given with the intention of maximizing healing and decreasing any chance of complications or problems. Follow them closely. Do not cheat or ignore the instructions, as this can really increase the risks associated with the cosmetic operation.

KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE BALL! This is an expression used for many athletic games. It means watch the ball closely and focus on the ball. If you take your eye off the ball, you might not get a “base hit” or you might “strikeout.” After surgery, you have to keep your eye on the ball to make sure you heal well and maximize results. A fumble in football is where you drop the ball. We don’t want this to happen after surgery. A “fumble” would be where we don’t closely follow all after care instructions. This can lead to problems. Surgery is serious business. Pay close attention to all instructions to minimize a risk of a fumble. After surgery, Go Slow and BE WISE!


Clinical Examples:

1- Abdominoplasty:

I am going to review this common operation and recovery instructions. The operation is an abdominoplasty or a tummy tuck. We want to follow all instructions to minimize risks of blood clots, fluid accumulation, seroma, and other problems. I have a specific educational writing that covers the risk of blood clot or DVT. It goes over exactly what should be done to minimize this risk. This important writing can be read now by linking to it.

The post-operative instructions also review early ambulation, support stockings, the “invisible bicycle,” and “the tilted back lounge chair.” These are extremely important dater care instructions to follow after the tummy tuck. Patients must keep their eye on the ball. This means follow the instructions closely and take it seriously. We don’t want any risks to happen. Following all after care instructions is the best way to avoid problems.

We must be careful after surgery for one month. Many people start to relax after two weeks. Recent studies show the risks, like blood clots or DVT, are elevated for a month. It’s natural to relax as we heal, but we must be smart and keep up with all the exercises for one month.

Fluid accumulation after a tummy tuck is one of the most frequent problems. The vast majority of times its relatively easy to treat. But we still don’t want to have this problem. Fluid or seromas after surgery are typically treated by serial aspiration. This means using a needle to suck it out. It sounds scary, but honestly it is easy and with minimal pain. After about a week, the drainage tubes are removed. This is a big day! It is at this time that I will review and emphasize the instructions to minimize fluid accumulation. Sometimes a patient will relax after the drains are out and start overdoing things. This can violate the instructions and lead to fluid production. We must keep our eye on the ball and still follow all after care. The following picture is an example of the instructions that will be given to you to heal quickly.




2- Facelift and Eye Tuck:

After facial cosmetic operations, I provide very specific instructions for after care. These are reviewed by me in detail, and they are also on my web page under PATIENT PORTAL. For the face, these instructions include things like head elevation, chin up, and rest relax and whisper. See the picture below to help remember these instructions. For eyes lid lifts or eye tucks the instructions emphasize closing and icing of the eyes. We must follow the after care closely to minimize problems. As I have reviewed above, patients must do everything as specifically as discussed, so we don’t get risks. We must keep our eyes on the ball to avoid a fumble.

Risks of facial cosmetic surgery include bleeding and swelling. Many of the instructions are aimed at decreasing these problems. We want to be relaxed and calm to keep blood pressure normal. We also want to keep our head elevated for similar reasons. Patients that don’t do this are risking problems during recovery.

As with the facial surgery described above, we have to continue to follow the instructions during the whole healing period. We don’t want to let our guard down too early. This means we shouldn’t stop being vigilant and careful to early. We want to continue focusing on all the after care until completely healed.