AESTHETIC MEDICINE AND SURGERY
SKIN CANCER AND DERMATOLOGIC SURGERY
Post-operative recuperation is considered to be an integral part of surgery; the achievement of desired results, as well as the success of the operation, depend on it. Therefore, post-operative visits play a pivotal role in the healing process as they allow the early detection and treatment of complications. They are usually held at 7, 14, 28 days, and 3, 6 and 12 months post-op.
Upon discharge, a letter with post-operative instructions will be provided, medication prescribed (antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, pain-killers) and any necessary precautions will be clearly described.
Good personal hygiene is crucial for proper healing and to avoid wound infection. In light of this, the surgeon will provide clear instructions for wound management. On the day after the surgery it is possible to wash hair with lukewarm water and a delicate shampoo. Sutures in front of the ears are usually removed after seven days, sutures in the scalp after two weeks.
After surgery, bruises may appear, which may take approximately two weeks to clear; bruising may be more conspicuous on one side of the face. Swelling, more or less evident according to the individual’s predisposition and the extent of the procedure, subsides significantly in the first two weeks post-op. It may be more apparent on one side. Chewing and heat can cause pain and worsen the swelling. Therefore, in the days following the operation, it is preferable to eat soft and cold/room temperature food. In the days following surgery, it is advisable to sleep with the head facing forwards with additional support (e.g. additional pillows) and to keep the face cool, so to accelerate swelling resorption. It is normal to experience some numbness on the face and neck for a few months after the surgery.
After a neck lift, a specialised compression garment is prescribed, which must be worn day and night for three days, and solely at night for two weeks. It helps to accelerate swelling resorption, prevent bleeding and allow the tissues to heal in their new position. Attention must be paid to the correct application of this garment, as it must be adjusted and adequately fitted in order to provide even and homogeneous pressure, without causing grooves or indentations.
Post-operation, patients are unfit for work for one to two weeks in most circumstances. If prolonged or considerable physical exertion is required, a longer rest period is necessary. Normal activities such as driving, house-work, sexual intercourse and socialising can be resumed after two weeks. Mild exercise may be resumed after three weeks, but for more intense exercise, it is preferable to wait at least six weeks. Hair dye (close to scars) can be used after three weeks.
Face lifting procedures result in fine scars that run along natural grooves in front of and inside the ear, continue behind the ear and to the scalp in the case of a neck lift. Scars are generally hidden by the surrounding hair, however, in the first months post operation, it is possible to camouflage pink and fresh scars with make-up. Scarring can take more than a year to settle and become inconspicuous. In order to achieve the best results in terms of scar quality and visibility, it is advisable to apply silicone gel for a few months, as it facilitates controlled scarring. Post-operative care continues with the application of sun-screen to the area for at least three months.
During post-op visits, starting from the first month, photographs are taken to monitor progress.