Frequently asked questions
It’s been a couple days after surgery and I feel like my face is more swollen than it was the day after. Is that normal?
Swelling is totally normal—swelling typically peaks on day 3 following surgery, so you might actually notice that your face is even puffier and more swollen three days after surgery, before it slowly starts getting better. For example, after a Tuesday surgery: Wednesday would be day 1 post-surgery, Thursday is day 2, so swelling should peak Friday [day 3] and then gradually start to improve. If your face swells very suddenly or in a very sudden rise in your pain level, we would need to evaluate you.
How long will my bruising/swelling last?
Postoperative bruising and swelling from facial surgical procedures vary person to person but most patients typically experience 80% of their swelling resolving by the 2-3 week mark, with full swelling resolution by about 12 weeks out.
Can I use moisturizer on my face after an operation?
You can use moisturizer on your face, just take care to avoid getting any product into the incision lines after surgery and for 24 hours after suture removal. You can apply a triple antibiotic ointment like bacitracin or neosporin, or aquaphor directly to the incision line.
After my procedure I'm getting little bumps between my mouth and where the stitches are in my cheek. Is there something I can put on it?
The stitches inside the cheek start dissolving after a few short days, and fully dissolve after about 2 weeks, but the incision will still feel “bumpy” for several weeks thereafter. This is totally normal and to be expected. It is not unusual to see a ridge/small bumps inside of the mouth during this acute healing process.
What can I eat after surgery?
There are no dietary restrictions for patients after surgery (unless you’ve had a DLI/DAO resection, in which case we have patients refrain from spicy/hot/acidic foods for 72 hours). Some patients find that softer foods are more comfortable to eat during the first 24-48 hours after surgery, as their incisions heal, but you are totally cleared to eat whatever you are craving.
Can I wear makeup after the procedure? Not a lot, but if I want to put a little bit on, can I?
You can wear makeup, just not in the incision lines for 48 hrs after suture removal. If your sutures are dissolvable, we’d like you to avoid makeup in the incision lines for a full three weeks after surgery.
When can I shower?
You are cleared to shower the day after surgery, and wash and shampoo your hair 48 hours after surgery. The sutures are totally fine to get wet—we just ask that you pat the incision lines dry, gently, after getting out of the shower.
When can I work out again?
We ask that you refrain from any vigorous exercise, like running, biking, lifting weights, or going to the gym, for 14 days after surgery. You are totally cleared to go for long gentle walks, as long as you don’t get your heart rate/blood pressure up too high.
I’m worried about scarring. How do I take care of my incisions?
Once your sutures have been removed or have fully dissolved (typically about 3 weeks post-surgery), you can begin apply a scar fade ointment to the incision lines. We recommend a silicone based scar cream, like “Scarfade Gel.” It is also absolutely imperative that you protect your incision lines from the sun, as sun has a tendency to darken scars. We recommend applying a sunscreen continuing zinc oxide (EltaMD makes an excellent one, and is available on amazon) every morning, and applying the Scarfade gel at night.
Is there anything special I should buy before surgery?
We recommend having access to ice at home (reusable gel ice packs from CVS/frozen peas work great!), a triple antibiotic ointment like bacitracin/neosporin, a non-antibiotic ointment like aquaphor or Vaseline, as well as extra-strength tylenol. We like patients to avoid NSAID products like ibuprofen or motrin for 1 week before and 1 week after surgery. If you are having an operation that involves making an incision on the upper leg (aka a gracilis muscle transfer or three ribbons of fascia lata surgery), we would like you to purchase a pair of compression shorts that extend to the knee, to wear for the first month after surgery. They can be purchased online at Amazon or at stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods or Target, and helps discourage fluid accumulation from collecting at the surgical site.
When can I dye my hair again?
You are cleared to use hair dye/chemicals on your hair 3 weeks after surgery.
How soon can I blow my nose after surgery?
You can resume gently blowing your nose 1 week after surgery.
During the first week after surgery, what should I take for pain?
If you experience pain, please take your prescribed pain medication as directed. This medication should be taken with food to prevent nausea. Tylenol (Acetaminophen) may be taken in the place of your prescription.