To ensure that your surgery yields the best result, it is vital that you have excellent post-operative care. So, if you have recently undergone facial reconstructive surgery, follow these post-operative instructions for seamless and uneventful healing. 

  • If your facial surgery procedure has been performed on an outpatient basis, it is essential to have someone to accompany you. Driving is strictly contraindicated for the first 24 hours after surgery. 
  • Please stay at home and rest for the first 48 hours. 
  • Make sure your head is elevated, as it will help reduce the swelling and ensure proper blood flow to the surgery site. 
  • Make sure you are taking all the prescribed medications in a timely manner. 
  • If your procedure has been done under general anesthesia, it is common to have certain symptoms post-surgery. These symptoms may include nausea and vomiting for up to 24 hours. You will be given medications for these, so please do not worry. 
  • Your doctor may suggest you not eat anything for a certain time after surgery. Please make sure you follow these instructions. The fast will be broken by sips of water, and slowly liquid foods will be introduced to ensure your gut does not get irritated. 
  • Please do not smoke or drink after surgery, as this severely affects your healing. 
  • You are bound to have some swelling after your surgery. Please know that this is normal and will eventually wear off. You can use an ice pack, 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off. It will provide you comfort and will aid in reducing swelling. 
  • If your lips feel chapped, you may use Vaseline or any emollient. 
  • For patients who have undergone operations that involve having their jaws tied together, hollow cheek tubes may be placed between the sides of the teeth and cheeks to allow for easier air passage. Congestion from facial surgery can frequently make nasal breathing impossible, so the tubes should be used to help breathe through your mouth. Cheek tubes are beneficial in the first week when swelling and congestion of the nose are most prominent.
  • Your surgeon will place a facial dressing over the area of your surgery. Please do not attempt to remove it unless directed to do so. You may end up disturbing your incision or tearing through your sutures.
  • Most oral sutures are dissolvable and will fall out within two weeks. Skin sutures may require removal and will be evaluated for healing and removal at your follow-up visits. 
  • It is imperative that you follow an impeccable oral hygiene routine. Any infections will complicate and delay healing. You may use a water pik on the lowest setting for the first week. Rinse your mouth frequently with warm salt water or Peridex, at least three times a day. Do not use straws or suck on food since this will create tension and pressure in the mouth that can tear open wounds or cause prolonged bleeding.
  • Your doctor will prescribe medicines for you at the time of your pre-op visit or before discharge. These may include analgesics, antibiotics, antiemetics (nausea), or other medications. Keep in mind that narcotic pain relievers may contribute to constipation.
  • Avoid straining or heavy lifting more than 10 pounds for two weeks postoperatively. Activities such as swimming, strenuous exercise, or movements that involve bearing down or straining should be avoided for up to 2 weeks after surgery. Elevating the head using extra pillows may reduce swelling, discharge, and throbbing in the days following the surgery. Getting out of bed and moving around without straining is recommended. 
  • If you've had surgery involving the nose or upper jaw, your nose, and sinuses may be heavily congested and filled with fluid and blood clots. You will not be able to breathe through your nose for the first 2-3 weeks. It is common to have episodic bleeding from the nose for the first week or two following surgery. This is typically self-limiting and should not be brisk or bright red in nature. If the blood flow is high, however, then you should go to the nearest ED for a more urgent evaluation and contact us. You should not blow your nose and avoid sneezing (by using the nose-rubbing trick or keeping your mouth open) for the first month.
  • A pureed or blenderized diet will be needed, especially if your upper and lower jaw has been tied together with tight rubber bands. Meals can include liquids such as juice, broth, milk products, and supplements (Instant Breakfast, Boost, Ensure). 
  • Your doctor will advise you when it is safe to begin chewing. Most large pharmacies carry a variety of supplements in different flavors. Condiments (squeeze bottles) or turkey basters from the grocery store work great to fill with food and squirt along the sides of the teeth/cheek. Alternatively, you may try to sip directly from a cup or use a feeding syringe. It is essentially impossible to overeat in this condition, so you should try to have at least 4- 6 "meals" a day to be sure that you are receiving ample nutrition and hydration. 
  • It would help if you also tried to stay well hydrated with water or clear fluids. Ice chips or popsicles can be beneficial during the first few days of recovery.
  • Most importantly, you will be scheduled for regular follow-ups after your surgery. These follow-ups are to check for healing, oral hygiene and assess overall conditions. Please make sure you attend all of these appointments


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