If you have plans for reconstructive surgery, you may be just as concerned about healing and recovery as you are about the procedure. The progression of your recovery can affect how well you heal and when you can return to work or school or resume other responsibilities. Thrive Reconstructive Surgery has five tips to encourage healing after reconstructive surgery.

Follow Aftercare Instructions Closely

After surgery, our surgeons will offer post-operative instructions to promote healing and a smooth recovery. Read the guidelines carefully to minimize complications and maximize your body’s healing ability. You may receive instructions for the following:

  • Taking medications 
  • Wearing compression garments
  • Cleaning incisions
  • Minimizing discomfort and swelling

Avoid Smoking or Vaping

Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarette smoke and vaping hinder healing after reconstructive surgery. Smoking or vaping has these effects on your body:

  • Restricts blood vessels
  • Decreases blood circulation to tissues, especially microvessels in the skin
  • Causes blood platelets to clump together and inhibits clotting

A 2012 Annals of Surgery article confirms that smoking delays healing and increases the risk of complications due to its prolonged effect on inflammatory and reparative cell function.

Engage in Light Walking

One of our surgeons will explain when it is safe to start brief, light walking around the house after reconstructive surgery. Walking at home can help prevent complications and has these benefits:

  • Promotes blood flow and wound healing and lowers clotting risks
  • Expands your lung
  • Strengthens your muscles
  • Helps with digestion
  • Prevents skin pressure injuries, or bedsores
  • Builds strength and endurance
  • Maintains your coordination, balance, and posture
  • Improves your mood and self-esteem

Ask for Assistance

Your post-surgical instructions may advise avoiding bending, lifting, stretching, pulling, or driving—activities that can disturb your surgical site or sutures. You can have peace of mind while you recover at home by arranging for family members or friends to assist you in caring for your children, pets, or errands. A 2017 Psychology, Health & Medicine article on perceived family support and post-surgery recovery mentions three benefits of arranging for assistance while you recover:

  • Lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels
  • Better post-surgery recovery
  • Better physical and mental health

Stay Hydrated with Water

Unlike beverages containing sodium or sugar, water keeps your body hydrated without causing water retention, swelling, or a spike in blood sugar levels. Water speeds recovery in these ways:

  • Helps the blood move oxygen and cell-repairing nutrients throughout the body
  • Regulates body temperature
  • Aids digestion
  • Helps your skin, tissues, and organs retain moisture

Request a Reconstructive Surgery Consultation

If you are considering reconstructive surgery, consult a surgeon at Thrive Reconstructive Surgery. After listening to your goals and performing an exam, one of our skilled doctors will explain your treatment options and the results you can expect. Call us today for a consultation.