Normal healing can take weeks or months for a full recovery and return to "normal" be up to a year after your surgery if there were complications.
Nobody really has the time or patience for delays. The following tips are meant to help you avoid complications and speed up the healing process.
1. Avoid Infection that will slow down healing considerably! Keep the wound site clean and covered until it is no longer draining. Another key tip is to wash your hands before ever touching the wound or use gloves if you are caring for someone else!
Antimicrobial products are not always needed and may cause too much drying which results in tiny cracks in the skin which is a portal of infection. Save the antimicrobial products for if an infection develops.
2. Moisture balance is key to faster healing and better looking scars. Keeping it too wet can cause an incision site to fail and too dry can just be downright painful! The notion that you need to "let the wound air out" has been disproven and can actually cause more harm than good. The gold standard in wound care is moist wound healing but it must be a balance. Using the wrong product at the wrong time can lead to delayed healing
3. Don't skimp on aftercare. Once a wound is completed closed it's time to start gentle scar massage. This helps tissue lay flat and prevents scar tissue from forming painful adhesions. Scar massage can also help with pain and numbness associated with healing after surgery. Using a scar fade cream or salve while you do it can help achieve the cosmetic you desire. It doesn't take much time, just need to make a habit out of it.
4. Nutrition is important. You can not heal without proper nutrition. Wound healing requires a lot of hydration and protein to promote new tissue growth. Most people struggle to get enough of both on a regular basis. Basic recommendations are to drink enough water that your urine is a very pale yellow color. Protein should be about 2g a day/Kg of body weight. That means your meals should be heavily based on protein and may require you to use a protein supplement to get enough grams in. These simple changes can help give your body a boost toward healing.
5. Address swelling early by stimulating the lymphatic system which filters toxins from the body. Methods for lymphatic stimulation can be quite simple and easy to do on yourself. They include deep diaphragmatic breathing (which also helps ease anxiety), drinking lots of water, and getting your body moving with simple activities like walking to get those muscles pumping. Get that post-op manual lymphatic massage and consider a compression garment, even if your doctor did not say you needed one.
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