Recovering after Plastic Surgery Procedures
Have you tried to get a sense about what your recovery after a procedure is going to be like and you are not quite sure how long it will be before you can go back in public again? Recently the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery specifically defined some of the terms used when describing recovery after laser treatment (press release). What does it mean when there is “no downtime”? Or when someone describes “moderate redness”, what’s “moderate” supposed to mean? Doctors and patients may have different ideas of what “minimal”, “moderate” and “significant” actually are. When everyone understands the terminology this helps to eliminate misunderstanding and improve patient satisfaction.
However, these terms are not limited to laser therapy. In fact, they are very similar to what one would expect to hear about any procedure. Whether your having a Botox treatment, being injected with a filler such as Juvederm or Restylane, or having liposuction or a breast augmentation, it helps to be able to understand the downtime, pain, bruising, swelling and redness that they may experienced.
So when talking about recovery, this is what you can expect to hear and what that really means:
“No downtime”: Means that it may take a few hours but less than a day to look like yourself again.
“Minimal downtime”: Expect 1 – 3 days before looking normal again.
“Moderate downtime”: It will take 3-7 days to recover.
“Significant downtime” Plan for at least a week of “social downtime”
“Almost no pain”: This means you may need to take Tylenol or Advil for a day or so.
“Minimal pain”: You may need a topical numbing cream applied over the area before treatment or a prescription painkiller after.
“Moderate pain”: Like minimal but will need local anesthesia injected before treatment.
“Significant pain”: You will need intravenous “twilight” sedation or general anesthesia during the procedure so that you don’t have to feel it.
“Almost no redness”: You may look a little blushed for day.
“Minimal redness”: You can plan up to three days of redness.
“Moderate redness”: Redness may last a week
“Significant redness”: You may have noticeable redness for over a week.
“Almost no bruising”: You may have a little bruise but it should fade fast and can easily be covered up with concealer.
“Minimal bruising”: Bruising may take a week to disappear.
“Moderate bruising”: Bruising may last up to two weeks.
“Significant bruising”: It can be more than two weeks before all your bruising fades. You may need where concealing makeup for a while.
“Almost none”: Again, this means that you ma be puffy for a couple days.
“Minimal swelling”: You might have some swelling for up to a week.
“Moderate swelling”: You will have some obvious swelling that can last up to two weeks.
“Significant swelling”: This swelling is going to take a while to come down and may last for several weeks or months.
Now when your surgeon tells you that after injecting a filler and having a chemical peel that you will have “no downtime, minimal pain and swelling, moderate redness and almost no bruising” you can smile as you understand exactly what that really means.