Post Surgery - Frequently Asked Questions

Questions Patients Ask About Post Surgical Care


Depending on your surgery, you may be asked to wear special garments, or avoid exercise, or not fly on holiday. There are very good reasons for this. If you want to heal correctly it is always best to follow your surgeon’s advice.
Read on for the answers to some of the questions we get asked about post-surgery care.

 I have been told to wear a garment. How long should I wear it?

For most larger procedures such as Liposuction, Breast Reduction Surgery, and Abdominoplasty / Tummy tuck you will be required to wear the garment for at least 4 to 6 weeks.

For some of the more minor surgeries such as Ear Correction, Browlift, etc you will be required to wear a compression garment constantly for 1-2 weeks and for up to 6 weeks when sleeping.

In most cases the compression garment must be worn 24/7 even when you sleep, you will be only allowed to take it off when you shower. It is recommended to have two garments, so you can have one for change. Invest in a good quality garment as this influences the outcome of the surgery.

Some of the benefits that you will realise from wearing your compression garments are:

  • Reduced Swelling
  • Lower Risk of Bruising And Bleeding
  • Quicker Healing Process
  • Shapes & Contours
  • Reduced Infection Risk
  • Less Pain & Discomfort After Surgery

For specific guidance on what compression garment, you will need and for how long you should wear it, please refer to the Patient Information Leaflet (PIL), supplied to you for your procedure

When can I exercise or return to the Gym?

After the first four weeks, the majority of patients can resume light exercise (walking or slow/stationary cycling) and gradually work up to a more vigorous workout over the subsequent two weeks. By six weeks after surgery, most patients can return to various activities, such as hiking, golf, or swimming.

We would always advise caution when returning to exercise after surgery and bear in mind the old adage “Listen to Your Body”. Returning to exercise too soon after a procedure can cause the side effects of any form of surgery to feel much worse, which could result in pronounced and prolonged pain, discomfort, bruising, and swelling. You may in fact be slowing down the healing process by rushing back into your exercise routine.

Will I get pain medication?

In all cases, patients will be assessed post-operatively with a large part of the focus being the management of pain directly after surgery to ensure you are comfortable and suitably fit for discharge. During this time the team will also assess what take-home medication you will require to manage your pain, typically for up to 7 days. The type and amount of medication supplied will vary from patient to patient depending on the procedure undertaken, their own personal tolerance to pain, and any potential contraindications due to existing health conditions or current medication being taken.

In all cases, the medication given will be items that can be taken orally (by mouth) and will be prescribed and issued to the patient prior to their departure.

All patients will be issued with 24/7 contact details and in the pain persists or becomes difficult to manage they should contact us as soon as possible.

When can I drive?

Driving poses some unique issues, and it is very important that you do not go back to driving too soon, or you could endanger yourself, your passengers, and the people in cars around you. Most importantly you must be off of pain medication before you attempt to drive and should have pain-free movement when sitting behind the wheel and when performing the tasks required to safely operate a vehicle.

Even if you feel perfectly fine, it does not matter. If you are driving and you have strong painkillers in your system, then you will automatically be assumed to be at fault if you are in an accident.

We know the above comments sound very intimidating, but really it is not that long after surgery that these issues resolve, and driving is safe. With a smaller procedure like breast augmentation or liposuction, most patients can be back to driving in about two weeks. With larger procedures like a tummy tuck, liposuction, or combination procedures, it may take a month or more to be ready.

Once you think you are ready, go for a test drive first (in an empty car park, or just around the block at your home) before you head out on the motorway or into heavy traffic and find out the hard way you really needed more time!

When can I fly?

In most cases, we would advise patients not to undertake short-haul flights (i.e., less than 3 Hours) within two weeks of having surgery and not to undertake long-haul flights for at least two months after surgery. This may vary in some cases depending on the type of surgery undertaken.

In addition to waiting for a few weeks, there are some tips that can help reduce your risk of complications and increase your comfort when flying after surgery which you should take into consideration

  • When booking a trip with connections, make sure to schedule plenty of time between flights.
  • Do not lift or pull heavy suitcases at any point during your trip.
  • During the flight, be sure to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration which is common when flying and can affect your healing.
  • When it is safe to do so get up and walk up and down the aisles a few times during your flight. This will help reduce your risk of blood clots.
  • When flying it is beneficial to wear compression stockings which again reduce the risk of a DVT and will help reduce swelling of the legs and ankles.
  • Be sure to take all your regular medication with you on holiday.

When can I get fitted for a bra?

We recommend our patients wait around six to eight weeks before getting fitted for a new normal bra, rather than a compression or sports bra. Bear in mind that it can take at least six months for your breasts to settle into their final shape, so your bra size may alter over that period.

Many of the more established high street retailers who sell lingerie offer bra fitting services with trained staff and it might be worth considering booking an appointment to have this done, to ensure you get a well-fitting bra that will help optimise your breast shape.

When can I use scar gel?

You can begin using silicone gel for your scar as soon as your wound is fully healed and there is no more bleeding or scabbing. Generally, it takes about 3 weeks for a wound to fully heal, but this can vary by patient. If you had stitches in your wound you should wait until they have been removed or have dissolved (if dissolvable stitches were used).

Scar gel should be used on your scars for 2-3 months. This is generally the timeframe that patients see the best results in their scar treatment journey. However, because everyone’s skin is different and everyone’s scars heal in different ways, some patients will see results sooner than the recommended 2-3 months. The gel should be applied on a daily basis, to be effective, it should be used for 12-24 hours per day.

For scars that are much older (1-3 years old and older), you may still benefit from using silicone gel on your scars.

When can I return to the sun beds?

The current advice from the medical community is that people should limit the exposure of their skin to direct sunlight or tanning beds, due to the risk of long-term skin damage or potential skin cancers.

However, we recognise that some patients will want to maintain a tan so it is recommended that you wait at least 6 weeks before exposing any fresh incision to a tanning bed or direct sunlight, in which case we would recommend you use an SPF30 sunblock with moisturiser. If you have a dark complexion and a person who always tans without ever burning, we suggest you should wait for at least 3 months bore commencing tanning activity.

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