Post-surgery infection is quite rare with cosmetic procedures, and serious complications are even rarer.
Still, there are a number of practical steps you can take to manage your risks.
1. If you have body hair in the area of the surgery, do not shave it. This might seem like the polite thing to do, but it is not needed. If you shave in the area regularly it is okay but do not shave just before a procedure.
Commercial razors and clippers can cut the skin or violently yank out hair follicles. This creates a new avenue for infection in the area around the incision. If it needs to be shaved leave it to us! We have specialized medical clippers that are much safer.
2. Have a healthy week leading up to the surgery.
If you can give up smoking for a week, do it. If you can give up drinking, do it. If you can eat lots of fruits and vegetables, eat them. If you can sleep 8 hours a night, sleep.
Keep as hydrated as you can. Anything you can do to help your body will decrease your risk of infection later on.
3. After the surgery, follow the doctor’s instructions. If the doctor says to leave your sutures to the open air, leave them! If the doctor says to keep your bandages on, keep them.
4. Walk around, if you can. One of the riskiest infections in major surgeries has nothing to do with your incisions. It has to do with your lungs. General anesthetic causes partial lung collapse that can lead to a pneumonia infection. Take deep breaths and walk around to clear your lungs.
5. Avoid soaking in the tub. Sponge baths are okay if you avoid the area of your bandages, but soaking in a tub carries a high risk of introducing bacteria into your incisions.
6. Be careful with your makeup. Makeup is not sterile, so be sure to apply it well away from your incisions, and be vigilant if it starts to run.
7. Avoid direct sunlight. Sunlight can damage the skin and open it up to infection. Wear a sun hat or use an umbrella until the incisions heal.
8. Try not to strain the incisions. Pay close attention to how you move to avoid reopening the wounds.
9. Follow proper care when changing the dressing. Remember to use sterile dressings and to thoroughly wash your hands before touching the incision.
With proper care, the odds of severe infection after a plastic surgery are extremely low! Follow these tips and any additional instructions from your surgeon to guarantee a successful recovery.