Category: Plastic Surgery Recovery

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Surgical Drain Care After Plastic Surgery

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When you get plastic surgery, one of the things you may deal with during your recovery is one or more surgical drains. Below, we discuss everything you need to know about caring for your surgical drains as you recover from plastic surgery.

4 Min Read:

Recuperating from any surgery is a crucial and delicate process. When you get plastic surgery, one of the things you may deal with during your recovery is one or more surgical drains. While it may seem daunting, caring for surgical drains isn’t difficult, and they play a significant role in ensuring that you heal quickly and effectively after your procedure. Below, we discuss everything you need to know about caring for your surgical drains as you recover from plastic surgery.  

What Is a Surgical Drain?

A surgical drain is a flexible rubber tube with one end inserted into its own incision near your surgical incision. The other end of the drain empties into a small bulb, which you will empty a couple of times a day. Drains remove excess fluid from your surgical site after specific plastic surgery procedures. There is too much fluid for your body to absorb, and without a drain, it would accumulate and prevent your wound from healing correctly. By giving the excess fluid a way to exit your body, surgical drains help minimize the risk of complications like seromas (fluid buildup under the skin). 

What Types of Plastic Surgeries Use Drains?

Surgical drains are used after procedures that involve skin and tissue removal. Depending on the type of plastic surgery, you may have one or more drains placed after your procedure. For example, a tummy tuck usually requires two drains, one on each side of the body, while an upper body lift will likely require more than that. 

How Do I Care For My Surgical Drain After Plastic Surgery?

As the fluid accumulates in the drain, you will need to empty it periodically. Before emptying the drain, note how much fluid is in it by looking at the measurement marks on the side of the bulb. Your surgeon will have you keep a log of the amount of fluid drained each day so that they know how well the healing is progressing and when they can remove the drain. At the top of the bulb is a seal that you can pull out (just like you would on an inflatable pool toy), and you can empty the fluid completely by squeezing the bulb. When all the fluid is out of the bulb, keep it pressed flat and close the seal. Keeping the bulb flat creates a bit of suction to help pull more excess fluid from your body.

What Do I Do if My Surgical Drain Gets Clogged?

The drain is secured into the incision with sutures, which helps to keep it stabilized and in place. There shouldn’t be any leaks from the incision site, but even if there’s just a small amount of seepage, it’s not a cause for concern. If the bulb end of the drain leaks, you likely didn’t replace the seal firmly enough. 

You can use a safety pin to carefully attach it to your clothes to keep the drain from getting in your way or pulling at the incision site. 

If you notice that your drain bulb isn’t filling up or can see fluid accumulating in the tube, you may have a clog in your surgical drain. To unclog the drain, follow these steps:

  • After washing your hands, use one hand to pinch the tubing at the incision site.
  • With your other hand, use your thumb and forefinger to pinch the tube just under where you’re holding it, and, using firm pressure, slowly push your pinched fingers down the tube. 
  • When you reach the bulb end of the tube, stop and repeat the process as often as needed until the blockage is cleared. 

When Can I Get My Surgical Drain Removed?

Just like the number of surgical drains you have is influenced by what plastic surgery you had, removal of the drains works the same way. The general rule is that you can remove your surgical drains when the fluid accumulation is no more than 30cc (about two tablespoons) per day for two days. In the case of multiple drains, you may get one removed after a week, and the others removed later. In most cases, you won’t have your surgical drains in for more than two weeks, though more extensive surgeries may require a longer duration. 

Once you remove your surgical drains, your surgeon will put a bandage over the small incision where the tube was inserted, and you’re ready to go on your way. 

Want to Learn More About Plastic Surgery in Washington, D.C.?

Whether you need a breast reduction or a Mommy Makeover, the expert surgeons at DAVinci Plastic Surgery will leave you looking gorgeous. If you’re ready to explore what cosmetic procedures might benefit you, call our office today at 202-966-9590 to schedule a consultation or complete the online contact form.

So When Can I Work Out After Plastic Surgery?

3 Minute Read: 

Like it is for me, exercise is extremely important to many of my patients. It keeps us fit and frankly, sane. So when we are talking about plastic surgery and the recovery that a patient can expect, this question comes up a lot.

Woman stretching on a bridge before going on a run.

While it varies from procedure to procedure, the good news is that I really try to minimize downtime for my patients. As soon as it is safe to get back into routines, I am all for it. Bedrest is a thing of the past. In fact, I cannot think of a procedure in which a walk outside the day after surgery isn’t a good thing. Ok, maybe a calf augmentation. 

Exercise After Breast Surgeries

For most breast surgeries—including breast augmentations, lifts, and reductions, patients can expect to be back to cardio by four to six weeks. In the meantime, long walks, Peloton (without getting in and out of the saddle!) and lower body workouts are encouraged. Avoid heavy lifting and more dynamic (read: bouncing) exercises. This is because we want to give enough time for the internal scar tissue to form properly for a pretty and lasting result. I also tend to hold off on submerging in a pool or the ocean until about six weeks, so that incisions are 100% healed.

Exercise After Body Sculpting

With liposuction, the biggest factor to consider is swelling. You may feel well enough to hit the gym after a week, but remember to keep your compression garments on and dial back the exercise if you notice increased swelling. You aren’t likely to impact your long-term results, but you may prolong swelling if you do too much. 

Tummy tucks are a bit tougher recovery because of the core tightening that is generally performed. It is extra important after this operation to get up and walk, even the evening of surgery. This promotes circulation and prevents scary complications like blood clots. 

Most patients are taking long walks a couple weeks after surgery. Since so many exercises engage the core—like an exercise bike, running, elliptical, Crossfit—we hold off on these until the six-week mark. Core strengthening exercises, like sit-ups and planks, are sometimes pushed off even further, like eight to 10 weeks, if a big muscle separation or hernia was fixed at the time of the tummy tuck. 

After most face procedures, like eyelid surgery or a facelift, patients are advised to limit strenuous activity and exercise for about four weeks to prevent excess swelling and bruising. Non-invasive procedures like BOTOX® Cosmetic and fillers, have almost no downtime. Give yourself a day to minimize swelling after filler treatments. 

A VERY important rule of thumb for all types of surgical recovery is if it hurts, you aren’t ready. If you have a sensation of tugging, pulling, or discomfort, ease off that movement for the time being. It is also a good idea to gradually ramp up your activity: 20 minute jog, yes; Crossfit burpee challenge, no. 

Lastly, every patient is different. We will look over everything together to make sure you are sufficiently healed to resume unrestricted activity and fitness. Recovery is a process, but you will get back to it. Promise!

Ximena Pinell, MD

What Are the Best Hairstyles for You While Recovering From Otoplasty?

3 Minute Read: 

One of the many benefits of otoplasty surgery is being able to wear your hair up with confidence. Recovering from otoplasty surgery is an exciting time as you excitedly wait to show off your new ears. 

Woman with long, wavy, and healthy hair covering her ears.

However, some patients may wish to conceal their ears during their recovery. Keep reading for some helpful hairstyles that you can rock as you heal.

What Is Otoplasty?

Otoplasty is the medical term for cosmetic ear surgery or ear pinning surgery. This procedure is meant to improve the contour, shape, position, or size of a person’s ear. While it’s not the most well-known plastic surgery procedure, otoplasty can help people regain their confidence and self-esteem after dealing with ear-related insecurities.

Typically, people get otoplasty because:

  • They have overly large ears
  • They have ears that protrude significantly
  • They are unhappy with the results of a previous ear surgery

What Are the Best Hairstyles While Recovering From Otoplasty?

While otoplasty offers a fresh beginning that many individuals are excited about, the patient first must recover from the procedure. Some patients may wish to conceal their ears during the recovery process. 

To help, we have identified four cute hairstyles that women recovering from otoplasty can wear to cover swelling and fresh scars.

Half-Up Half-Down Updo

The beauty of the half-up half-down updo is that it gives you the best of both worlds. Half of your hair is pulled up to reveal your face, while the part that is down can be arranged to cover your ears. This hairstyle is also super quick to do, so you can opt for it even when you are in a rush.

Side Braid

A loose side braid looks chic and fits both a casual or a formal event. Not only is this look easy to pull together, but it also allows for your hair to cover the upper half of your ears. In fact, your entire ear will be covered on the side of your face that has your braid.

The Low-Low Ponytail

You can arrange a low ponytail (or a ballerina bun) where your hair still encompasses your ears. This hairstyle does envelope your face, so it’s generally recommended for women who don’t have an overly round face.

Front Bangs Updo

If you have been paying attention to fashion trends recently, you have likely noticed this look already. It’s when you take a simple updo and then pull out long pieces of hair on either side of your face. This gives you the false appearance of “bangs” and, luckily, happens to cover your ears.

What About Men Recovering From Otoplasty?

Unfortunately, it isn’t always as easy for men after otoplasty. Most men have shorter hair that doesn’t extend past the tops of the ears. 

If this is the case for you, discuss when you can start wearing loose-fitting hats after your surgery with your surgeon. Any garment worn over or around the ears should be very loose (as you don’t want a constricting hat, such as a baseball cap).

If you are concerned about the appearance of your ears while recovering, consider growing your hair out prior to your otoplasty. 

Interested in learning More About Otoplasty in Washington, DC?

You don’t have to live with ears that you are unhappy with. Book your otoplasty consultation with Da Vinci Plastic Surgery by calling 202-966-9590 or contacting us online.


Schedule Your Consultation With Dr. Davison

The initial consultation with your surgeon is critical! It should always be face to face with your surgeon during which time he/she listens closely to your concerns. Dr. Davison believes this time spent with you is critical to both you and to him. It is during the consultation that he comes to fully understand your concerns, evaluates them correctly and is then able to make the recommendations and develop the treatment plan thats right for you. Dr. Davison invests the time to sit down and talk to you face-to-face.

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