Recuperating After Surgery

Tips to Minimize Swelling

  • Do not bend forward with your head below your shoulders for the first week post-op. This may cause increased swelling and bruising and puts pressure on your sutures.
  • Use cold compresses for 2-5 days after surgery as needed for relief of swelling and discomfort.
  • Sleep for the first 3-5 days in a more upright position with your shoulders and head elevated.

Tips to Minimize Bruising

  • Do not take aspirin, aspirin-containing products, or omega-3 fatty acid supplements for 2 weeks prior to surgery and several days after surgery. Tylenol is ok.
  • Continue taking the Arnica oral medication you started 3 days prior to surgery. It may also be applied topically to any bruising.

Take Medications as Directed

To control pain and minimize risk of post-surgical infection, take the pain and antibiotic medications Dr. Macdonald provided to you at your pre-op appointment as directed.

Communicate With Us

In addition to coming for your pre-scheduled post-op visits, call us immediately if you are experiencing strange, unexpected symptoms or severe pain.

Dr. Macdonald can speak with you and/or your caregiver about what's happening to determine if he should see you prior to your scheduled follow-up. If he is able to determine that your healing is on track, he may simply prescribe additional medications or healing practices for you to follow until he sees you at your scheduled follow-up.

Specific Post-Op Surgery Instructions

For more detailed post-care instructions specific to each surgical procedure, we have provided you with downloadable PDFs below. You may wish to print the relevant instructions to keep on hand for easy reference as you manage your healing care in the early stages of recovery.

Skin Products to Promote Healing

  • To minimize long-term appearance of surgical scars, we recommend using Dermatix™ scar treatment beginning 3-4 weeks post-op, once scars are fully healed.
  • Apply vitamin C and E concentrate to incisions once completely closed and healed.
  • Completely avoid exposing your scars to sun for at least 6-12 months.
  • Cosmetic surgery is an investment in you, so remember to protect that investment. Consider using our quality medical-grade Anti-Aging Kit and any of our top quality sunscreens as your daily skin care regimen.

Consistent skin care with high-quality products accentuates and elongates the benefits of your surgical rejuvenation.

Gradual Return to Exercise: 2-4-6 Rule

The more complex the surgical procedure you undergo and the greater the number of procedures you have performed at one time, the more slowly and carefully you should resume vigorous physical activity.

The 2-4-6 rule we recommend to patients is the safest guide for ensuring your aesthetic results are not compromised. Be kind to yourself. Take it slow...

  • 2 Weeks Post-Op
    • Again, only non-strenuous walks on a flat surface are advised. No other kind of workouts. Any activity that raises your blood pressure potentially compromises your healing incisions and newly developing blood supply in whatever areas you had surgically treated.
  • 4 Weeks Post-Op
    • Light cardiovascular exercise such as aerobics is fine, but no weight training. Start light. For example, if you normally do 30 minutes on a treadmill, begin with 15 minutes. Then increase intensity as your body lets you know it’s comfortable.
  • 6 Weeks Post-Op
    • Resume all of your usual activities, but don’t forget your daily sun protection.

Taking Post-Op Photos

At 6-months post-op, we remind you to come back for a final surgical follow-up. This is a rewarding appointment for you, Dr. Macdonald and our entire staff. We love to see the happy faces of satisfied patients!

After surgery, photos are taken to capture your final results. You are able to compare them with your before surgery photos and revel in your fantastic outcome.

We enjoy celebrating with you on this day. It’s our pleasure to provide you with a free facial to pamper you in appreciation for allowing us to share in your cosmetic improvement journey.


Before & After
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Michael Macdonald, M.D.
500 Sutter Street
Suite 430
San Francisco, CA 94102