Dr. Patti Flint

Maintaining Results after Plastic Surgery

While it’s vitally important to choose the right plastic surgeon to help ensure you achieve desired results from procedures such as, breast surgery, tummy tuck or other cosmetic surgery procedures of the breast and body, it’s what you (the patient) do after the fact that also contributes to your long term satisfaction with your results.

I always make it a point to educate my patients on what they can do, following surgery, to maximize their results. It also helps them to realize that they, too, play a part in their outcomes. As your plastic surgeon, I am only “with you” for a few hours during your procedure. The rest of the time…you, are in charge of you.

For specific procedures, there are special recommendations/instructions that I give my patients especially right after surgery. Then there are overall recommendations for a healthy lifestyle that supports your new look.

Breast Implants. Taking care of your breast implants is important if you want the results of your breast augmentation to last. I tell all my surgical patients to “take it easy” for the first 10 or so days after surgery, and no heavy lifting for 3 weeks post surgery. Remember, surrounding tissues are supporting these implants, and we want you to heal properly so that your implant stays in position. Also, some things to avoid while healing from breast implant surgery:

● No underwire bras during recovery. Underwire bras can compress the lower part of the breast, not allowing the implant to settle into place during healing. This can result in a high malposition, where the implant sits too high up on the breast, resulting in an unnatural look. Underwire bras can also irritate the incision site. You’ll wear a surgical bra immediately following your surgery, but when it’s time to switch to a regular bra, choose a soft style with no underwire for the first few months.

● Don’t sleep on your stomach during recovery. This can cause the pocket edges at the center of the chest to heal shut and the implants to shift to the sides of the body, what is called lateral malposition.

● Don’t skip the massage. You’ll need to do a breast implant massage regularly after your surgery and then intermittently after that. This helps maintain proper positioning of the implant in the pocket.

Liposuction. One of the first and most important ways to maximize your liposuction results, and this goes for other plastic surgery procedures for the body as well, is to wear your compression garment as directed. Your compression garment is not a suggestion. It performs a number of important functions including:

● Reducing pain and swelling after surgery
● Helping remove excess fluid from the body
● Locking in the body’s new and improved shape

For best results, wear your compression garment for 4 to 6 weeks after surgery, no less. To maintain liposuction results for the long term, avoid gaining excess weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle. While it is unlikely you’ll gain fat in the treated areas as easily as you did in the past, it is still possible because fat cells left behind and those nearby will expand.

Tummy Tuck. Besides wearing your compression garment as directed after a tummy tuck, the best way to maintain long term results is to avoid excess weight gain. During a “traditional” tummy tuck, I tighten the underlying tissues of your abdomen and removes excess skin to give a firm, smooth, strong look to your abdominal area. Gaining weight after a tummy tuck will cover that area up with a layer of fat. Pregnancy will, for the most part, completely undo my work; thus tummy tucks are best done after you are finished adding to your family.

For best long term results after any plastic surgery procedure, you’ll need to do the obvious: eat healthily and exercise. A diet of whole, healthy, unprocessed foods will keep your weight down and feed your muscles, skin, and bones with the nutrients they need to maintain your fabulous new body. Keep an eye on portion size, stay away from sugar (and too much alcohol), and cook lean and healthy for a healthier, happier you.

Regular exercise will also help your muscles, and connective tissues hold onto your new results longer while keeping weight in check. With so many exercise options to choose from, there is likely some form of exercise you’ll find enjoyable.

Scar care is also essential for the long term. Follow your post-op recommendations to avoid straining your incisions. Use sunscreen on scars and keep them out of the sun as much as possible. I am meticulous about my type and placement of scars, but incisions are the unpleasant nature of surgery, and sometimes scarring cannot be avoided. At my practice, I also offer skin care products to help minimize the look of scarring after plastic surgery for the face or body. Please feel free to contact my office to set up your private and confidential consultation with me, I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have. I look forward to seeing you soon.

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