Post-Plastic Surgery “Must-Haves” at Home

Are you scheduled to have a plastic surgery procedure and wondering what might make your recovery more comfortable once you get back home? We have some suggested “must-have” items that can aid in the healing process and help make the first several days at home a bit less stressful. Taking it easy after any kind of reconstructive or plastic surgery is essential, and with a little preparation, relaxation is achievable with the right products and supplies. One of the best things you can do to help aid post-surgery recovery is to plan ahead.

Comfortable Clothing

Do you have a favorite oversized button-up shirt and pajama pants? If not, it is time to purchase a few sets. After surgery, it’s not about fashion, it’s about comfort. Loose-fitting clothing will be your new favorite look, and your body will thank you later.

After plastic surgery, such as breast surgery, lifting your arms may be temporarily difficult. A large button-up or zip-up top is easy to put on and take off. Soft, loose-fitting bottoms with either an elastic waistband or tie and a pair of slippers are also highly recommended. For a few days and sometimes longer, you will want to minimize the amount of movement necessary for you to put on and take off clothing articles.

Vascular Compression Garments

The body naturally produces fluids during recovery, and wearing a compression garment can help the body recover and increases your comfort during the healing process. The compression garment aids in a smooth recovery process after surgical procedures by applying even pressure around the treated area, preventing fluid buildup and helping the body absorb any fluid that does not accumulate.

Vascular compression garments are constructed of elastic and nylon material and work to facilitate a tight (but not constrictive) fit. Compression garments ensure that specific body areas receive constant, uniform pressure and are appropriately sized to fit your body’s contours for the type of surgery you underwent.

Some of the benefits of wearing compression garments include:

  • They Can Promote Healing
  • Swelling happens when the body sends fluid to the surgery site after a surgical procedure. By using compression garments, the amount of fluid buildup reduces, resulting in less swelling.
  • They Can Reduce Infections
  • Because compression garments are placed over the surgery site, bacteria and other potential contaminants are kept away from the wound, keeping the surgery site protected from possible infection.
  • They Can Prevent Bruising
  • Bruising is common after surgery. Blood vessels are disrupted when a surgical incision is made, causing blood to leak from small blood vessels under the skin near the surgical site. This bruising can be minimized by using compression garments to help red blood cells from working themselves up to the surface of the skin.
  • They Can Minimize Scarring
  • Compression garments deliver pressure therapy to help manage the development of scar tissue. The compression garment holds the skin together firmly and interferes with the body’s ability to produce collagen at the surgery site, which is how scars are formed.

Body Support Pillows

After a plastic surgery procedure such as a facelift or rhinoplasty, keeping your head elevated is helpful. Those that undergo breast and body plastic surgery procedures can benefit from body pillows and cushions such as the body pillowcervical pillow, or thera cushion by Hermell Products.

Pillows help position your body so that you can rest and sleep comfortably during recovery. Some plastic surgery procedures like breast surgery won’t allow you to sleep on your sides for an extended period. Having a couple of body pillows on each side can help you stay in place throughout the night without worrying about accidentally turning onto your side.

Underpads or a Mattress Cover

After most surgical procedures, our digestion systems get disrupted. The use of anesthesia and other pain medications and lack of mobility all contribute to constipation. Some respond well to gentle constipation relief like stool softeners or laxatives, while others may wind up having unpredictable diarrhea episodes. By preparing yourself and your recovery area with underpads, bed pads, or chux, you can protect yourself and your furniture from these incidents.

For even more security for your bed, you might opt for a mattress cover. A mattress cover or mattress protector can help extend your mattress’s life by protecting it from stains. With a mattress cover on, you are safeguarding your bed from leaks and spills that can also result in potential mold growth if the liquids soak deep into the mattress. Just make sure that you choose a waterproof option when purchasing your mattress cover. In addition to keeping your bed clean and sanitary, a mattress cover can also provide another comfort layer.

Skin & Wound Care Supplies

You cannot wash your hands enough after surgery. The frequent use of hand sanitizers and antibacterial soap can prevent infection and the spread of it. Place hand sanitizers next to your bed, the kitchen, near the toilet, and at your front door for visitors to use upon entry.

Your regular personal hygiene routine might not be possible when you are recovering. With some surgeries, your doctor’s orders may include for you to not get wet for the first few days after plastic surgery. Stock up on no-rinse products like foaming cleansers and body wash, rinse-free shampoo, and no-rinse perineal cleanser. These products can help you feel cleaner and more comfortable.

You can also benefit by being well-stocked on wound care supplies such as gauze sponges and pads, wound care spray, and alcohol prep wipes or swab sticks. Your doctor may send you home with a little care pack that includes a limited amount of these supplies, but that will usually not be enough. Depending on the directions you receive from your surgeon, your would site may need to be cleaned and redressed multiple times a day. Having an ample supply of wound care products can keep your surgery site sterile and help reduce the risk of infection.

And don’t forget about a box of gloves. Even though you will frequently be washing your hands and using hand sanitizer, when you are cleaning a wound site and replacing the dressings, you will want to handle your wound care supplies with just as much care.

Prepared Meals

Making sure you have plenty of meals prepared for when you get back from the hospital is essential since you may not be up to cooking for the first several days after surgery. Prepping extra food when cooking in the weeks leading up to your surgery will help fill your freezer with easily accessible reheatable meals during recovery. You can also opt for prepared meals that come in a can or microwaveable container that similarly provide balanced nutrition, especially if you might have any trouble swallowing.

Certain surgeries, such as breast surgery, will limit your range of motion. It is wise to place items you will need out of the refrigerator, freezer, and cabinets down to a more accessible level. Anything that is 5 lbs. or more should also be distributed into smaller, more manageable containers to not lift more than you should during your recovery.

In addition to your favorite healthy foods, have a few options on hand that are gentle on the stomach in case of irritation. You might feel nauseous after anesthesia or when using pain medications, so having items such as ginger ale, applesauce, bananas, rice, and crackers are foods that may have a calming effect on the stomach when you feel nauseous after surgery.

And always remember to stay hydrated! Keep plenty of fresh water around you at all times. The body heals quicker and better when it is adequately hydrated.

Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medications

It would be a wise decision to ask your doctor what prescriptions you will be required to take to get these filled in advance if possible. Some patients don’t need prescription pain relief and easily manage discomfort using over-the-counter options. Make sure you have ibuprofen and acetaminophen on hand, as these are potent medications that can enhance your comfort while you heal. Just make sure your doctor approves of these kinds of over-the-counter medications as sometimes they can interfere with the prescriptions or the healing process.

As we mentioned earlier, your surgeon may also recommend over-the-counter products to counteract constipation resulting from the pain medications. These may come in the form of powder, liquid, pills, or fiber intake. You can avoid discomfort by making sure you have these ready and available should the need arise.

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Don't Forget to Ask for Help

Make sure you have someone to help you around the house for the first few days. You can also hire a home health care service to help you with chores or small errands like prescription refills if necessary. In addition to the meals you ready prepped, friends and family can help cook some comfort foods to keep you well-stocked. It never hurts to ask for help, and you will be surprised how many will be more than willing.

As you prepare for plastic surgery, you may need to ask for help in the following ways:

  • Someone to drive you home on the day of your surgery
  • Someone you trust to stay with you for the first day or two
  • Help with your children, if you have young ones at home
  • Assistance cleaning up around the house or running quick errands
  • Someone to drive you to and from post-surgical appointments until you’re off pain medications and able to drive yourself

Recovery is often the most challenging part of the plastic surgery process, but with a little preparation and a bit of patience, you’ll soon be looking back at how quickly it all went. Take your time throughout the recovery process and allow your body to heal at its own pace gently. While there is no checklist that works to fit everyone’s personal preferences and doctor recommendations, this list of “must-haves” may be a great place to start.

For any questions about any of the products we offer that might help you with your plastic surgery recovery process, our Personally Delivered Product Experts are just a phone call away and ready to assist. Remember, recovery is a process. It takes time, patience, and everything you’ve got.

The Importance of Hydration with an Ostomy

There are many benefits to staying well hydrated.  Every biological function of your body relies on the body being properly hydrated. You’ll concentrate better, your skin will retain elasticity, wounds will heal quicker, and staying hydrated will help your digestive system function properly. The body’s ability to absorb water is often compromised after ostomy surgery, so staying hydrated is vital for all aspects of your health and well-being during this time.

Why Hydration is Important in General

Because water plays a vital role in the proper function of the human body, we are dependent on it. The human body is made up of 60% water, so we rely on it to:

  • Keep our eyes, nose, and mouth tissues moist
  • Regulate our body temperature
  • Lubricate our joints
  • Help prevent constipation
  • Help lessen the burden on our kidneys by flushing out waste
  • Carry nutrients and oxygen to cells throughout the body
  • Help dissolve minerals and nutrients to make them accessible to the body

When it comes to staying hydrated, it is different for everyone. It depends on the size and weight of an individual, the environment they are in, their overall health, whether they are pregnant, or a variety of other situations. By staying hydrated, you can potentially prevent health complications further down the road. Your doctor should be able to help determine how much water you need to drink daily or refer you to a specialist that can further assist.

Why Hydration Is Even More Important with an Ostomy

When you undergo ostomy surgery such as a colostomy or ileostomy, the large or small intestine is diverted and its ability to absorb nutrients and electrolytes is compromised. Therefore, those that have had ostomy surgery are more likely to face dehydration and inadequate electrolyte levels.

Some water is absorbed in the small intestine, but most of it is absorbed in the large intestine, referred to as the colon. Because of this, staying hydrated with an ostomy can be difficult. Most colostomies and ileostomies result from a disease in the large or small intestines.

  • When a colostomy is performed, the stoma is created by using the large intestine (colon) and bringing it out to the surface of the skin to divert removal of waste at this new opening. Water absorption is sometimes limited to the small intestine depending on the location of the colostomy, making proper hydration difficult.
  • When an ileostomy is performed, the stoma is created out of the last part of the small intestine and bringing that out to the surface of the skin to create the new opening. Water absorption is then limited to the first two parts of the small intestine, contributing to the risk of quicker dehydration.

Both of these ostomy surgeries require someone to pay close attention to hydration levels. Ostomy patients must ensure that they have an adequate intake of fluids to keep their electrolyte levels up so they do not start to suffer from dehydration symptoms such as dizziness or dry mouth. If signs of dehydration appear, consuming a drink containing electrolytes such as Sqwincher beverages can give a boost, but if hydration is a persistent problem, your doctor should be contacted immediately.

The Role of Electrolytes in Staying Hydrated

Electrolytes come from the foods you eat and the fluids you drink. They contribute to the proper balance of fluids in the body and they maintain the blood’s pH level. Electrolytes are minerals like sodium, potassium, and chloride that carry electrical signals to power our nerves and muscles. These minerals carry an electric charge when they are in a fluids like water that we drink.

Electrolytes play an important role to help our bodies properly function. Those roles include:

  • Heartbeat regulation
  • Body temperature control
  • Muscle contractions
  • Bladder control
  • Energy production
  • Neurological functions

Simply put, electrolytes are the minerals responsible for directing water to those areas in your body that need it most. They help us maintain fluid balance throughout our bodies which helps us stay properly hydrated, ensuring our bodies can function well overall.

Symptoms of Dehydration

Many people may find it difficult to stay hydrated with an ostomy and find themselves to be chronically dehydrated every day. They might suffer from daily headaches, lethargy, dizziness, or persistent muscle cramps. However, one of the best indicators of dehydration is simply the color of your urine. The darker the urine, the more likely fluid intake is too low.

Some of the most common symptoms of dehydration are:

  • Persistent headaches or migraines
  • Lethargy
  • Feeling dizzy, shaky, or weak
  • Nausea
  • Heart palpitations
  • Thirst and dry mouth
  • Decreased urine output and/or darker colored urine
  • Leg or muscle cramps
  • Poor concentration
  • Constipation or bloating

If you are suffering from any of the above symptoms, your body is probably letting you know that you need to increase your fluid intake. As always, if these symptoms are affecting your daily life or are persistent, contact your doctor.

Tips to Stay Hydrated with an Ostomy

So we know that staying hydrated with an ostomy is super important, but what are some ways that we can be sure we are getting the electrolytes and nutrition we need while also making sure these options are healthy?

Plain old water is good for hydration but alone, it is not the best source. Consumed by itself naturally, water doesn’t contain the salts and sugars necessary for hydration. When you’re using electrolytes for hydration, you’ll want to choose a drink that offers a good balance of electrolytes and healthy carbohydrates. An electrolyte drink that contains a lot of sugar can lead to further dehydration and end up defeating the purpose.

Some fluids that can help you stay hydrated with an ostomy:

  • Coconut water
  • Vegetable juices like V8
  • Sqwincher products or other low sugar electrolyte drinks
  • Pedialyte
  • Homemade oral solutions such as 200 mL Squash concentrate and 5mL of salt. Just sip throughout the day.

 

 

Not only are oral hydration solutions great for staying hydrated with an ostomy, but consuming foods that have high water content are also important.

Some foods that are high in water content are:

  • Watermelon
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Apples
  • Jell-O
  • Yogurts
  • Smoothies

Some additional tips for staying hydrated with an ostomy:

  • Drink fluids slowly so your body can properly absorb them.
  • Try to eat first, then drink fluids. This helps with fluid absorption.
  • Carry a water bottle and make sure you refill it when necessary.
  • Try infusing water with fruits, or try making your own smoothies.
  • Talk to your doctor about adding Imodium or Metamucil to your diet.

It is very important to pay close attention to signs that you may be becoming dehydrated when you have an ostomy. Always remember to contact your doctor if your symptoms are persistent or if you are struggling to stay hydrated with an ostomy.

For any questions about the products that we carry that may be helpful, please contact one of our Personally Delivered Product Experts and they will be happy to help.