There will be a mild to moderate amount of pain and discomfort associated with the surgery. This should be easily controlled with oral medications. Severe pain is rare; if you experience this please contact us immediately.
The discomfort and pain should begin to decrease within 48 hours after surgery. A significant increase in pain after this period should prompt you to call the office.
At the time of surgery Dr. Bernacki will often place an abdominal binder which is a compression dressing for the abdomen. It serves to help prevent blood collections under the skin. It should be used for three weeks after surgery except when showering.
You may notice some slight drainage from the small incisions in your belly button for the first 2 to 3 days after your surgery. This is not unusual.
After the surgery you will notice some bruising and swelling in the are of injection. This usually peaks within 2-3 days after the procedure. After 72 hours the swelling and bruising rapidly subside. To minimize the swelling, sleep with your head elevated for 4 weeks after surgery.
In the first 2 to 3 weeks after surgery it may seem as if you are too swollen or too much fat has been used. Don’t worry this swelling will subside slowly leaving you with a more natural appearance long term.
It is of utmost importance to tell Dr. Bernacki ahead of time if you have ever been on Accutane, received radiation therapy to the head or neck, taken steroids or immuno-suppressive agents.
Immuno-suppressed patients (HIV positive, chemotherapy, AIDS etc.) and patients with certain autoimmune disorders may not be good candidates for this procedure as the risks of poor healing and infection leading to permanent scarring and poor aesthetic results may be much higher. It is mandatory that you inform Dr. Bernacki if you have any of these conditions before surgery.
If any of the above should occur after regular office hours, do not hesitate to reach us through the answering service. For whatever reason if you notice one of the above changes and cannot reach us at our office or through the answering service present yourself to the emergency department for evaluation.
Be sure to fill your prescriptions before your surgery since it means one less thing for you to worry about afterwards.
Take the antibiotics and pain medication only as prescribed by the office.
Do not take any aspirin or any anti-inflammatory compounds for 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after your surgery unless you first discuss it with your surgeon.
Make arrangements to have someone drive you to, and from, your surgery.
Having someone stay with you on at least the first night after your surgery is highly recommended.
If you are a smoker you should not smoke for at least 2 weeks prior to surgery and 3 weeks after surgery. Smoking and chewing tobacco inhibit your circulation and can significantly compromise your surgical outcome. You should thoroughly wash your hair with an antibacterial shampoo (such as hibicleanse) or soap (available in drug stores) the night before surgery. You may also be given a prescription for antibiotic ointment before surgery. If so apply a small amount to the inside of the nose three times a day for three days prior to surgery.
To minimize swelling in the face you may use cool, clean compresses or ice wrapped in a dry cloth. Apply these gently to your face four to six times a day for the first twenty four hours after surgery.
Arrive for your surgery in loose comfortable clothing. Your top should button or zip rather than pull over your head.
Sleep with your head elevated for 4 weeks after surgery.
It is not unusual to have some slight drainage from the small incisions in your belly button (umbilicus) for the first few days after your surgery. The drainage is most often red or pink.
On day 4 remove the dressing and start cleaning the belly button incision. This is accomplished by rolling a Q-tip moistened (not soaked) with hydrogen peroxide over each of the incisions, and then gently applying a small amount of antibiotic ointment on it. This procedure should be repeated 2 to 3 times per day. You may purchase the ointment in any drug store without a prescription (polytopic, polysporin, or bacitracin) or use bactroban ointment if it was prescribed for you. After 1 week, you should generally use a small amount of vaseline on the incision (after cleaning with hydrogen peroxide) instead of the antibiotic ointment because some people will develop a slight local skin reaction (redness) if antibiotic ointments are used for longer periods. Occasionally, Dr. Bernacki will ask you to use antibiotic ointments for longer than 1 week. Such cleansing is required for only the first 3 weeks after the surgery.
On the fourth day after the surgery you may remove the compressive dressing, and begin showering. If there is no dressing you may begin showering on day number four. You may wash the dressing in a washing machine if it gets soiled.
You should avoid vigorous exercise or strenuous exertion such as lifting or straining for a minimum of 3 weeks following surgery. Plan on taking it easy.
Do not massage, rub or place any tension on the incisions for a minimum of 4 weeks after your surgery.
Approximate recovery after fat grafting is as follows:
DAY 1: Return home, leave any surgical dressing undisturbed. May use ice or cool compresses for the first 24 hours. Bruising and swelling moderate.
DAY 2-3: Aching, throbbing. Maximum swelling and bruising.
DAYS 4: Remove any dressing at home. Take a shower. Start cleaning wound with hydrogen peroxide followed by application of antibiotic ointment. Repeat 2 to 3 times per day.
DAY 21: Make appointment for office follow-up
6 Months: The transplanted fat has reached its final volume. Enjoy your result.
REMEMBER: If you have any concerns or questions, please contact our office any time. Our office should be a source of information and reassurance throughout this entire experience, from the time of your first consultation and continuing after your surgery.