Plastic surgery: after the operation

23 July 2013

Maji in ConelandBy Plastic Surgeon Dr Dirk Kremer

You've read my blog on getting prepared before surgery, and now you're ready: you want to undergo cosmetic surgery. You want breast augmentation surgery, rhinoplasty or a Turn Back Time Facelift. As a plastic surgeon with years of experience, I'd like to tell you first that every operation is different, every patient is different, and therefore every post-operation experience is different, but I’ll try and give you an overall idea of what to expect after you have had plastic surgery.

Plastic surgery can be painful

Well, yes, as the saying goes: "no pain, no gain." If you want to undergo surgery you need to be prepared to suffer a little. I am not one to lie and although some patients will barely feel a thing after an operation, some will hurt for several days, or months. A nose job is one of the surgical procedures that takes the longest to recover from, as it can take up to 6 months for the nose and up to 12 months for the nose tip to heal completely and swell down. Procedures like a facelift or a neck lift will see you good as new in 4-6 weeks, with in most cases just some slight discomfort, nothing that pain killers can’t help with. After 2 weeks you can go public again even though good friends will wonder why you have a (still) fuller face - start thinking now of the right answer if you want to keep it a secret (such as 'I just had my wisdom teeth removed.')


Recovery time as I mentioned above varies from one person to another and depends on the surgery you've undergone. Since breast surgery, i.e. breast enlargement, breast lift or breast reduction, is quite popular in cosmetic surgery I will concentrate on this. Recovery takes about 2-3 weeks, and I advise patients to get some help at least for the first week or so. Indeed, women undergoing breast surgery will feel discomfort or pain when using their arms. That means no lifting things, but also no hair brushing and hair washing on your own. A buttoned shirt or any top that doesn't require you to raise your arms to put it on, will become your best friend! During the first few days the most sensitive patients will feel pain even walking and doing basic things like brushing their teeth. After breast surgery you shouldn't sleep on your stomach for at least two weeks, but you will naturally avoid this position as it will be uncomfortable.

If you suffer from any unexpected pain, swelling or if you start bleeding, don’t hesitate to contact your plastic surgeon. If you have surgery with me I will tell you during the first consultation and also before surgery what to expect. As surgeons we have to warn patients of the risks of surgery, even if complications are extremely rare.


Beauty is of the utmost importance for me as an aesthetic surgeon so I will always do my best to make the smallest scars possible. Unless there are complications you should barely see the scars after a year or so, and scars are hidden whenever possible. Liposuction scars are hidden below the bikini line, and breast surgery scars will be hidden by the breast itself. After breast surgery I advise my patients to buy comfortable bras like sports bras. You’ll have plenty of time to look pretty later! Right after surgery, what matters is that you feel comfortable with your new breast implants. You can get some silicone based creams that are pretty effective in soothing scars if they start to turn red and hypertrophic after surgery. The period of hypertrophy lasts up to 1 year until the scars turn pale and flat. The silicone based scar creams can shorten this period.

Undergoing plastic surgery is a choice and something you need to think hard about and really want, because it is not a walk in the park. I don’t want to alarm you and all of my patients would tell you that they don’t regret undergoing surgery one bit, as the little pain they had to go through was definitely worth it. But cosmetic surgery is surgery, and therefore it has consequences which you should be aware of. I think that all plastic surgeons should be open and honest. If you come and see me I will not push you to do anything, as aesthetic surgery is your choice, and yours only. All I offer is a caring hand, knowledge of a qualified, certified cosmetic surgeon, and quality care. If you want to know more, just contact me I’ll be happy to help.


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