Dealing with Swelling after Plastic Surgery By Stuart Baker on December 13, 2016

Woman with a slender, toned bodyPatients who are within their ideal weight range may still have areas of the body that stubbornly hold on to excess fat cells or excess skin. Body contouring smooths and firms trouble spots to improve a patient’s overall figure. These procedures are extremely effective in enhancing body contours and helping patients achieve their aesthetic goals. However, patients should not expect these goals to be achieved immediately.

After plastic surgery, patients should expect to experience some side effects, including swelling. Plastic surgery and swelling are a common concern for our Decatur, IL patients. Dr. Stuart Baker is happy to prepare patients for what to expect during their recovery period, and provide tips on how to minimize swelling and promote healing.

What Causes Swelling after Plastic Surgery?

Swelling is the most common side effect of any surgical procedure. While swelling can be an uncomfortable side effect that also prevents patients from immediately enjoying the benefits of their plastic surgery treatment, it does serve a purpose. Swelling is caused by an increased flow of blood to the surgical site. Blood carries nutrients to the surgical site to aid the body in healing and fighting off infection. If a complication occurs, excess swelling also serves as a warning sign to alert the patient that a problem is present.

How Long Will Swelling Last?

The amount of swelling will largely depend on how invasive the plastic surgery procedure was. This can also affect how long swelling will persist after surgery. In general, patients can expect significant swelling for at least the first couple of weeks after their plastic surgery procedure. After the initial week or two swelling will begin to gradually subside.

Although swelling will become less noticeable over time, patients should allow the body plenty of time to heal. It is completely normal for some degree of swelling to persist for several months. We tell patients that it can take up to six months for swelling to dissipate completely, and for the final results of cosmetic treatment to be noticeable.

Minimizing Swelling

Although swelling does assist in the healing process, it is important for patients to take steps to minimize swelling and promote healing. If inflammation is excessive, it can actually prohibit healing rather than promote it. To ensure that the body heals in a timely manner and that swelling does not get out of control, patients should adhere to the following post-op care tips:

  • Use ice or cold compresses to minimize swelling
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Avoid foods that are high in salt
  • Keep treatment areas elevated when possible
  • Walk or move the body frequently
  • Use a compression garment as directed
  • Get plenty of rest

With proper aftercare, swelling should gradually dissipate until the full results of plastic surgery are apparent.

Schedule a Consultation

If you’d like to target trouble spots and improve body contours, plastic surgery can help. Dr. Stuart Baker offers a wide range of cosmetic treatments that allow patients to safely and effectively achieve their aesthetic goals. To learn more about these procedures and which may help you enhance your natural beauty, schedule a consultation with Dr. Baker at your earliest convenience.

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Dr. Stuart Baker

The Center for Cosmetic Medicine

Dr. Stuart Baker is a board-certified plastic surgeon with decades of experience. He has been recognized as a "master injector" by Allergan, the maker of BOTOX® Cosmetic and JUVÉDERM® products, for excellent patient outcomes. In addition to being a skilled plastic surgeon, he is also an orthopedic hand surgery specialist. His prestigious affiliations include:

  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons — ASPS 
  • American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery — ASAPS 
  • American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery — AACS 
  • American Medical Association — AMA 

Use our online form to schedule a consultation at a location near you in Monticello, Champaign, or Decatur. Or call us at:

(217) 877-9000

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