What to expect before and after and aesthetic surgery

Every aesthetic surgery requires a recovery process or post-op. It is a period of time that starts when your surgery concludes until you are fully recovered. The surgery is in the hands of the surgeons, but the recovery process is your job. Don’t worry, you won’t be alone! you will be advised by your surgeon and by the post-op expert professional of your preference.

If you have decided to have an aesthetic surgery, take into account that it needs rigorous and responsible preparation and post-op care in order to achieve satisfactory and long lasting results over time.

What to expect before an aesthetic surgery

To succeed in your recovery process, after any cosmetic surgery, you should take into account not only the post-op advice of your surgeon, but also the pre-surgical recommendations that she/he will give you. Some of them are listed below. Both, pre and post surgical care will contribute to a good and fast recovery process with long lasting results. Some time before the aesthetic procedure, your surgeon will ask you to:

  • Practice some tests  to check your general health.
  • Meet an anesthesiologist to find out what type of anesthesia is best for you according to the procedure and  your needs.
  • If you have hypertension, diabetes, hypothyroidism, among others, it is important to be previously authorized by your GP.
  • Stop smoking at least 20 days before the procedure.
  • Change eating habits (a new diet will be given to you).

On the other hand, it is important for you to consider the fact that your appearance will change after the procedure. As a  result, it may affect your self-esteem, self-image, emotional stability and interpersonal relationships. 

Why should I book a post-surgery treatment?

The post-surgery treatment is aimed at relieving pain, reducing inflammation and accelerating the recovery process. To do this, it is necessary to properly manage the drains or cannulas during the inflammatory phase without generating greater trauma in the tissues and having adequate asepsis and biosafety for both, the patient and post-op specialist.

Benefits of a post-surgery treatment

  • Reduces inflammation.
  • Eliminates the remains of medication, serum and anesthesia used during the intervention.
  • Reduces water retention. 
  • Reduce pain and bruises.
  • Accelerates the  recovery process of your tissues.
  • Reduces skin sensitivity.
  • Promotes skin retraction.
  • Improves the general condition of your skin.
  • Promotes the regeneration of damaged capillaries and lymphatic vessels.
  • Improves the healing process.
  • Improves muscle and skin tone.
  • Boosts venous return.

Benefits of MLD during your post-surgery treatment

The post-op treatment should start when your surgeon allows you to. Normally 24 to a week  after surgery. It is important to drain the excess fluid, as soon as possible, to allow the skin to adhere to the muscle, reducing saggy skin, seromas and excessive fibrosis.  

The post-surgery treatment starts with manual lymphatic drainage (MLD). Its main purpose is to:

  • Activate the lymphatic system.
  • Drain toxins and accumulated fluids.
  • Help in the reconstruction processes of injured tissues (scar tissue).

How is the post-op treatment performed?

The  post- op  treatment is tailored according to your  needs and type of surgery.  Everybody heals differently, do not compare yourself with others.    

Phase 1 :

After surgery your body starts the  healing process by creating inflammation, followed by fluid retention and bruises.  At this stage, MLD is recommended to help with the excess of fluid which causes pain and inflammation. Usually, the inflammation is localised. However,  the fluid could be present in the area of the surgery and also in other parts of your body such as hands and feet. At this stage, MLD is important to help you deal with the fluid and the inflammation.  

MLD uses gentle movements in one direction and it shouldn’t cause any pain. During  the first phase of the recovery the aim is to drain the excess fluid to the nearest lymph node for absorption and to prevent the formation of seromas and excessive formation of fibrosis.    

Phase 2:

Your body produces less fluid and inflammation.  As a result  your body creates a new connective tissue (fibroblast). It connects the different fibers that had been damaged during  the surgery. When the body generates excess fibroblast  your body feels hard and lumpy and this is what you know as fibrosis. The aim of the sessions, in phase 2, is to treat acute fibrosis before it becomes chronic and to help the skin to attach to the muscle nice and smooth. 

Phase 3

Your body continues with  fibrosis formation, the fluid is less visible and the tissue is less inflamed.  The sessions are focused to release fibrosis and to help with body contouring. At this  point your therapist starts combining MLD; machines such as:  ultrasound, radiofrequency; and massage to treat the scar tissue, reduce fibrosis and to help with body definition.

Keep in mind that each body is different and not  machines work in the same ways for everybody. Therefore, it is important to take in consideration your skin type and the way your body heals to determine which machine and technique to use for best results. 

MLD or  machines should not produce neither pain nor discomfort, even when working on tissues with edema. You will feel relief instead. If you feel pain you need to let your therapist know to adjust the settings or  the techniques for you.

In addition to the benefits of MLD, the devices can help with:  

  •  Reducing inflammation of the tissue (fibrosis).
  • Accelerating the healing process.
  • Reducing pain and edema.
  • Facilitating and improve metabolism in the treated areas.
  • Preventing capsular contracture in the case of implants. 
  • Improving seroma absorption.
  • Reducing scar tissue.

A final word

Remember  that, although in some cases the post-op period has some specifications, each case (how your body responds) and needs are different. For that reason your post-op treatment is tailored session by session. You need to be patient and allow your body to heal. 

Remember there is a long process between the before and after picture you saw on Instagram or at your doctor office. 

The after care is your responsibility, and you need to put money on the  side  for it.  You will need  a minimum of  5 sessions of post- op to get good results. 

We hope this information is useful for you. If you have any questions about our treatments, please contact us. You can find us in Mill Hill Broadway and Islington. If you like this blog, please share!

We are always happy to help.


Topdoctors Colombia, Dr. Alejandro Chiappe. https://www.topdoctors.com.co/articulosmedicos/recomendaciones-para-antes-de-realizarse-una-cirugia-estetica 


Esteticista Lakhsmi S.A.S. 

Bogotá, Colombia


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