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Jul 25, 2012 7:31 PM

Make Me Over: 7 steps for an optimal surgery recovery

TUCSON - Many people avoid elective surgery because of the healing time. In today's
"Make Me Over" segment, Dr. Gwen Maxwell, our plastic surgery contributor, stopped by to talk about seven steps to optimal healing, pre- and post-surgery.

Here's her list:

BEFORE SURGERY

Step 1- Stop Smoking

Step 2 - Prepare your home... and job:
• Plan realistic time off work... and suspend strenuous physical activities
• Do your shopping/chores in advance
• Stock up on necessary supplies

Step 3 - Get Support:
• Arrange a caregiver for children
• Arrange a caregiver for yourself
• Get someone to drive you to your first few appointments

AFTER SURGERY

Step 4- Follow instructions:
• Take medications as prescribed
• Dressing and bandages, as directed
• Keep all your follow-up appointments
• Don't overexert yourself
• Don't smoke

Step 5 - Have realistic expectations:
• Be prepared for swelling, bruising, incisions, drains, dressings and sutures.
• You'll look worse before you look better.

Step 6 - Take advantage of services/products that help with healing:
• Pharmaceutical grade vitamin supplements
• Lymphatic drainage massage
• Scar reduction creams and treatments

Step 7 - Long term protection:
• Maintain your weight... diet and exercise
• Protect yourself from the sun
• Get regular facials/skin treatments
• Use pharmaceutical grade skin products
• Don't smoke

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