Plastic Surgery Post-Op: What to Expect in Recovery

When researching plastic surgery, you should take the time to do a few critical things before your procedure. First find a highly qualified, board-certified, licensed plastic surgeon like Dr. Peterson to perform the surgery. Learn about the surgery and what the procedure entails. You should also learn about what to expect during the recovery from the procedure. 

There are five key points to understand about recovering from plastic surgery patients should remember:  

Bruising and swelling are going to happen. Bruising and swelling are side effects of plastic surgery and a natural part of the healing process. Swelling may also occur if you had a lot of fluid pumped into the surgical site, as in the case of tumescent liposuction. Typically, these symptoms subside within seven to 10 days but may last longer depending on the surgery or the size of the treatment area. Staying hydrated during your recovery can help flush out excess fluid and reduce swelling.


Numbness is a natural side effect. It is not uncommon to have numbness at the treatment area or incision site. This is because when incisions are made, although care is used to make the smallest cut possible, nerves are still cut during the process. Nerves do regenerate, and smaller nerves regenerate faster than larger ones. As a result, you may experience numbness or tingling for months after your surgery.

Take it easy, you just had surgery. Plastic surgery is just as serious as any other surgery. You are going to be in some pain. You need to take it easy after your procedure, even though you may feel great a few days into your recovery. Follow the post-op care instructions given to you by Dr. Peterson, wear the compression garment after surgery and take pain medication as instructed. Ease back into your normal routine with care and under the guidance of Dr. Peterson.

Take care of your incision. As part of your post-op care instructions, you will be given information on how to keep your incision site clean. Keeping this area clean will reduce your chances of developing an infection. Remember, it is normal to have clear or pink discharge at the wound site, but green or yellow discharge is not normal. Also, if you have a fever, report that to Dr. Peterson immediately.

Recovery is a long road. We know you are likely very anxious to see the final result of your surgery, but in many cases, the final result won’t be seen immediately. Typically, patients see the final result of their procedures three to six months after their procedure. Be patient, we promise you will love your look!

Do you have questions about what to expect while you’re recovering from plastic surgery? Ask Dr. Peterson. Call 785-234-9000.