Updated: Sep 26
This was originally written at the beginning of 2021. I have made adjustments and changes.
I have written this for those that are either considering cosmetic surgery or have had the surgery and are looking for ways to care for themselves. These are just opinions based on my experience as a Lymphatic Drainage Therapist. Right now about 90% of my clients are post-surgery. I work with all cosmetic surgery aftercare clients. BBL, 360 Lipo, breast augmentation, fat transfer, liposuction, thighplasty, double chin surgery or implants, buccal lipectomy, and more. I recommend contacting me for consultation prior to your surgery and booking your sessions at the same time you book your surgery.
Cosmetic Surgery Aftercare
Jill Scoggins, LMT
Over the years many of my clients have requested my opinion on products and personal care for post-cosmetic surgery. Ultimately anytime you are going to consume something or utilize a technique of care I advise you to speak to your surgeon as s/he knows the surgery s/he performed and the typical outcomes thereof. They have degrees that I don’t have. I also recommend using common sense in your knowledge of your own body and your limitations. If something hurts - don’t do it. If you question the validity of advice given by myself or someone on a Facebook group then research it and speak to your doctor. Any of the recommendations herein are not to supersede or replace anything your physician has told you nor is it medical advice as I am not a physician. These are recommended based on my experience and may not be the best for you.
Ok now that the disclaimers are done:
First and foremost I recommend dry brushing twice daily. This will desensitize the nerves in your skin that are hyper-vigilant. Dry brushing assists the circulation of blood and lymph. Oh and the intense itch of the tissue healing that starts around week two or three (depending on the surgery and the anesthesia) - this will reduce that itch before it even starts. Your body will become dehydrated as the fluids in your body aren’t able to circulate quite right. Dry brushing will assist with all that dead, flaky skin. You’ll definitely want to bathe after (shower or sponge bath - not an actual bath in the tub soaking as most surgeons don’t want you in the bathtub for quite some time after surgery).
I will provide you with a dry brushing chart. If you lose yours then please email me at email@example.com so I can send a new one. If you have a tummy tuck then the point of reference on the chart is from the incision, not the navel. Dry Brush Chart for Download
Next, you’ll want two compression garments after your first week. You’ll want to wash and you need another to wear while the washed one dries. Look for a seamstress to take them in as your swelling decreases.
Protein shakes. You’ll need to consume 100 grams of protein at a minimum daily. You’re not really going to feel up to eating food the first week especially. Protein is a must for the tissue to repair. You don’t want to consume dairy for the first three to four weeks as this is harder to digest. I suggest almond, cashew, or coconut milk during this time; if you aren’t allergic to tree nuts. Use rice milk if you are allergic to tree nuts; which is high-carb milk. If you’ve had a BBL then bonus. You don’t want to cut carbs for the first 3-6 months of recovery with a BBL. if you have only had lipo with no fat transfers then avoiding too many carbs (more than 30 daily) is a consideration. Look into diabetic diets that are well balanced or a well-balanced Keto diet.
The product I recommend is the Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein. I love meat. But most whey-based protein shakes are harder to digest. Garden of Life Raw Organic is a plant-based protein. It is also gluten-free, dairy-free, casein-free, and soy-free. You will want to put it in a blender to pre-mix them as they can get gritty. I recently bought the one with leafy greens in it and it wasn’t too bad. I’m not fond of veggies but they are a necessary part of life and this is a source especially when food is not appealing. Sometimes I will make a few cups and put them in the freezer as I enjoy milkshakes. I’ve been known to throw in some fruit when mixing them too.
Drink a protein shake prior to your sessions with me. About thirty minutes prior is best. If you have pain or uncomfortable feelings of movement during a session your blood sugars will drop and you will get dizzy or nauseous. This is a self-defense mechanism your body has to force you to quit doing something. If your blood sugar is already low then it can be harmful and be more dramatic of a drop. So please drink protein and water prior to your session. If you need water during the session then please ask. I have bottles of water available. They are available after the session, but there is no rule that I can’t give them to you during. If you need two bottles then so be it. Your health is my priority.
With surgery and pain killers, there is a bowel disruption. Very often this causes constipation. Bromelain is a pineapple protein that can aid in inflammation and is often recommended by doctors as a supplement. Well, there is another benefit that some doctors may not be clueing you in on. That is digestive health. You can buy it by itself. Here is a link to an Amazon product that has a good description. It isn’t necessarily the brand, but the info here is good. https://smile.amazon.com/Amazing-Formulas-Bromelain-Proteolytic-Anti-Inflammatory/dp/B077V67RR1/ref=mp_s_a_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=bromelain&qid=1606843069&sr=8-6
I use it in a digestive enzyme combo. It is bromelain and protease. This combo works as a pre and pro-biotic. https://smile.amazon.com/Digestive-Enzymes-Probiotics-Prebiotics-Supplements/dp/B076MDX648/ref=mp_s_a_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=bromelain+digestive+enzyme&qid=1606843382&sr=8-6
There is no point in spending on the huge $ items. This low-cost version works great.
You may also talk to your doctor about magnesium as a supplement. This is great for the pain and for digestive and heart health. Personally, I take the digestive enzyme in the morning and magnesium at night. I would say talk to your doctor about it per the first paragraph.
One question I get a lot of the time is “How many sessions do I need?” My simple answer is a minimum of ten. The problem with that is it won’t be accurate for every person or every surgery. That is the recommendation of most doctors as a general rule of thumb. Now the next is “30 or 60-minute sessions or even 45 minutes?” Answer: book out 10 one-hour sessions and we will adjust the schedule as we go. It may be that your first two need an hour but then after you’ll need 15 thirty-minute sessions. For simplicity's sake book out ten sessions so you have the time reserved then adjust as we go.
Booking before your surgery is best. When you book your surgery, book your aftercare. That includes the person you will use for ultrasonic cavitation or radiofrequency. I offer these services including vacuum therapy and electromuscular stimulation. I do offer a few sessions a week as out-calls (I go to your home). This is considerably more in cost, but in your first week, it is recommended especially if you are still experiencing external drainage (the incisions are leaking).
If you have contacted me prior to your surgery then YAY! There are a few more suggestions about services. I am a Lypossage Therapist as well. If you are going to get a BBL or thighplasty then I’d recommend this service. Generally, it is three times a week for a six-week service. However, if you let me know that you are doing this prior to surgery I will adjust this protocol for you.
I am available for consultations via office visit or Zoom. So if you wish to book one please let me know.
I also recommend the Booty Bean Bag for those that have had a BBL.