Swelling After Plastic Surgery: How Long Will It Last? By Jaime Perez on October 21, 2014

A woman in a towel covering her breastsDr. Jaime Perez has been helping cosmetic surgery patients in the greater Tampa area undergo the treatment that they need to really look their best. Whether they undergo liposuction to remove unwanted fat deposits and look trimmer and slimmer or breast augmentation to enhance their curves, Dr. Perez can meet those needs.

Patients often have questions about what to expect after they undergo surgery. One aspect of the healing process is swelling, which we want to go over right now.

Is swelling common after plastic surgery?


Swelling is a common side effect following any kind of surgery, whether it's a cosmetic/elective procedure or otherwise. Inflammation--whether it's redness/discoloration and puffiness or more serious kinds of swelling--is simply your body's natural response when injury has occurred, even incisions made and closed during a surgery.

Why does swelling occur after surgery?

Following a surgery, the most common reason that swelling happens is the increase in fluid and white blood cells to the area that has been operated on. Increased blood flow to the treated area is also common and contributes to the swelling. The swelling will go down as you heal. If the swelling becomes worse or is painful, it's important that you contact your surgeon as soon as possible to have the matter looked at.

How long will the swelling last?

Though it varies based on the surgery, the most significant swelling after a surgery is performed usually lasts about a week to a week and a half.

Mild swelling can last for a few weeks and even a few months as patients continue to heal. The swelling will go down completely once the whole recovery process is completed, but it can take some time. The tips below will help reduce the appearance of swelling in the short-term and generally reduce the duration of the swelling in the long-run.

Get a Lot of Rest

In those first few days after surgery, be sure to get a lot of rest. Do not push yourself or engage in any activities that may cause fatigue. You should commit yourself to resting in order to ensure total wellness sooner.

Note: Light walking around the home can help improve circulation, but this is not the same as draining or taxing physical activity.

Wear Your Compression Garment/Surgical Dressings

Compression garments and surgical dressings should be worn as directed and changed as directed. Both of these can improve your overall healing experience significantly, so do not take their use for granted.

Cold Compresses

Using ice or cold compresses for 20 minutes every hour can help bring the swelling down after surgery. Since you'll be making direct contact with the part of your body that was operated on, be sure to consult your surgeon about the use of ice or cold compresses. Ice packs may not be recommended for your particular surgery or there may be special instructions when it comes to the use of cold compresses on the surgical site.

Stay Well Hydrated

As you're resting, be sure to drink water and stay hydrated. This is just good for promoting total wellness as you're healing.

Attend All Follow-Up Visits

There will be several follow-up visits with your surgeon to monitor the healing process. Go to each follow-up so you can discuss your concerns with your surgeon in person with regard to swelling, discomfort, and other issues that you encounter as you heal. Your surgeon will be able to address these issues as they arise.

Schedule a Consultation with a Cosmetic Surgeon

For more information about the side effects of plastic surgery and what you can do to address these issues, be sure to contact our cosmetic plastic surgery center today. Dr. Perez and the entire team here looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you make the best decisions with regard to aesthetic enhancement.

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Plastic Surgery Center of Tampa

Dr. Jaime Perez offers state-of-the-art cosmetic procedures utilizing the most high-tech equipment available. He is a board-certified plastic surgeon who is a member of several professional associations including the:

  • American Board of Plastic Surgery
  • American Board of Surgery
  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons
  • American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

To schedule a consultation at the Plastic Surgery Center of Tampa or to learn more, contact us online or call (813) 877-3739 today.

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