Post Operative Instructions
All Surgery FAQs
General Surgery FAQs
Q: WILL I BE IN PAIN?
A: You will not feel anything during the procedure, since anesthesia will be used. However, after the anesthesia wears off, you will feel some pain and discomfort. It is highly recommended that you start off taking Extra Strength Tylenol, every six (6) to eight (8) hours, alternating with Motrin. Please DO NOT MIX pain relief medications together at the same time. If you are experiencing a higher level of pain, please take the prescribed pain medication (Norco, or other prescribed pain medication).
Q: HOW LONG DOES THE RECOVERY TAKE? WHEN CAN I GO BACK TO WORK & EXERCISE?
A: Depending on both the surgery and your own physiology (your body’s healing), most patients have a downtime of two (2) to three (3) weeks before returning to daily activities such as exercising. During the first ten (10) days, we ask that you do not do any activity that increases your heart rate. This is to help the healing process, since the blood clot that has stopped the bleeding from the surgery dissolves in about seven (7) days. After ten (10) days, increase activity by ten percent (10%) each week as tolerated. Stop activity if you see a dramatic increase in swelling when you wake up the following day. At the one (1) week post-op visit you will be provided with healing instructions and what specific activities are allowed. Patients can usually return to work after one (1) week.
Q: WHAT TO DO IF I BECOME CONSTIPATED?
Reduce Norco usage, walk around, and take an over-the-counter medication like Colace or MiraLAX. It is recommended that you start using an over-the-counter stool softening medication one (1) day before surgery and continue taking it until you no longer need to be taking Norco for pain.
Q: WHAT DOES THE HEALING PROCESS LOOK LIKE?
A: Bruising, Swelling, and Stitches (which can pucker) are all NORMAL. Tissue firmness is NORMAL. Your body may not heal symmetrically, meaning one side may take longer to heal than the other, this is NORMAL. Any previous asymmetry may remain.
Q: WHY DOES SKIN PUCKERING HAPPEN?
A: You may experience Puckering after surgery. This is NORMAL and a great sign! Puckering at an incision site will ensure that the incision scar heals smaller than originally cut. DO NOT massage the puckered areas.
Q: WHY ARE MY RESULTS UNEVEN?
A: Post-op asymmetry is NORMAL. Pre-existing asymmetry will continue since the human anatomy of left vs. right does not always match. Human tissue is naturally asymmetric. This applies to Breasts, Face, Eyes, and even the Nose. For Rhinoplasty, nostrils can be different since the base of the bone (Premaxillary Bone) projection is different. This also applies to the Jaw Bone (Mandible) and Orbital Bones for facial procedures.
Q: WHY IS MY SWELLING LASTING LONGER ON ONE SIDE?
A: This is very common. The function of your Lymphatic System (which acts as a highway of Arteries, Veins, and Lymphatic Channels) is to filter out fluid from particular areas of the body. Lymph Nodes, Bone Structure & Tissue Shape are different from right to left, so when it comes to draining, the “clearance rate” of the swelling is also entirely different on each side. The heart is located on the left side of the body and distributes blood throughout the body using different paths & pressures. The drainage of the heart is not completely linear; thus another reason why Lymphatic Clearance is different on each side.
Q: HOW SOON CAN I TAKE A SHOWER?
A: We recommend waiting forty-eight (48) hours to shower. Anything that is applied directly to the skin, such as Steri Strips, Foam Tapes, Butterfly Strips, etc., must remain on (even in the shower). Any and all dressings will be removed at your follow-up appointment. When you shower, be careful around these areas. Try not to get these areas soaked. A sponge bath is recommended. When you wash your hair, baby shampoo works best (it doesn’t sting). After the shower, brush your hair with extreme caution as to not tug or pull on any sutures near the hairline. Even brushing the hair far away from the scalp can cause some tugging.
Q: CAN I GET MY SUTURES WET?
A: After forty-eight (48) hours, stitches can get wet. It is highly recommended, however, that only normal saline (over-the-counter medical cleaning solution) is used to clean the stitches. DO NOT use any cleansers or alcohol products on the suture site. Picking or pulling at the sutures is not approved and can cause damage. Pat the sutures dry if need be.
Q: HOW OFTEN CAN I APPLY HEAT AND COLD PACKS?
A: Hot packs are NOT recommended due to a side effect of increased inflammation which can further delay the healing process. However, cold packs are recommended with frequent usage in fifteen (15) minute intervals.
Q: HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR MY TISSUES TO HEAL SO THAT I CAN GO OUTSIDE / LOOK PRESENTABLE?
A: There are many factors that determine the progression of the healing process, for these reasons, we cannot determine exactly how long it will take to heal. We do our best to follow your healing progression. During each follow up visit, we observe how your tissues are healing and we make the proper care adjustments if needed. Feeling comfortable and confident to go outside, and look presentable again, reflects both your personality and the healing ability of your tissues. Some individuals are proud to go out after just three (3) weeks, while others may still feel extremely embarrassed to be seen out in public so soon. Most of the healing will be complete at the three (3) month mark.
Q: HOW SOON CAN I GET ON A PLANE?
A: Every case is unique. Typically, short distances (short domestic flights) are okay. However, we recommend that you wait until you see Dr. BYUN’s team at the one (1) week follow-up appointment for final approval. Please keep in mind that extra swelling can occur due to pressure changes in the plane.
In The Media
Six things to be aware of before going under the knife.
Dr. Michael BYUN is a serious doctor with seriously comprehensive experience unlike many of his peers, setting him heads and shoulders above the rest.
Chicago magazine profile of Dr. BYUN.