As your surgery date gets closer, you might feel uneasy. But the more you know about what to expect, the less nervous you’ll be. Take a few minutes to learn what is important before and after surgery with our Plastic Surgery Recovery guidelines.

General Pre-Operative Post Operative Guidelines


It is advisable to stop smoking at least 6 weeks before your surgery date.  Smoking, passive smoking, and nicotine products (Patch, Gum, and Nasal Spray): Patients who are currently smoking or use tobacco or nicotine products (patch, gum, or nasal spray) are at a greater risk for significant surgical complications, especially skin dying, wound infection, delayed healing and additional scarring.  Individuals exposed to passive smoking are also at potential risk for similar complications attributable to nicotine exposure.  Additionally, smoking may have a significant negative effect on anaesthesia and recovery from anaesthesia, with coughing and  increased bleeding risk and risk for respiratory infections. Individuals who are not exposed to tobacco, smoke or nicotine-containing products have a significantly lower risk of this type of complications.

General Information Before Surgery

  • No eating 6 hours before your surgery will take place and clear fluid up to 4 hours before surgery
  • Be well rested and don’t consume alcohol before surgery. The common complications linked to alcohol include bleeding episodes, cardiopulmonary complications and postoperative infections.
  • You should shower or bathe the night before or on the morning of surgery. Do not apply creams, moisturizers or perfumes to the skin. The surgery field should be washed daily with antiseptic soap for 3 days before surgery.
  • Please don’t wear any jewellery to hospital.
  • Dress in loose, comfortable clothing. Easy on/off shoes. A top with front zipper closure or buttons works well if you are having upper body surgery. Pants with an elastic waistband also works well, as you will be drowsy following surgery.
  • If you are prone to nausea, please let the anaesthetist know.
  • Please arrive as indicated on surgery booking for surgery. When you arrive, go to the admission counter of The surgical clinic and the receptionist will meet you. Bring an ID card with you. Feel free to have a friend or family member with you.
  • Prof Graewe will visit you before surgery and if required mark the surgical area.
  • The Anaesthetist will visit you before surgery to discuss and review the anaesthesia plan and check your physical condition and answer any question that you may

Post Operative Care / Plastic Surgery Recovery

  • TAKE YOUR MEDICATIONS AS DIRECTED. Pain tolerance varies from one person to the next. Stay on top of your pain by taking your medication regularly for the first few days. Take your medications with food to decrease the chances of nausea.
  • REST FOR THE FIRST 24 HOURS following surgery. DO NOT drive or drink alcohol while taking narcotic pain medication. You may walk and climb stairs slowly. No heavy lifting or any exercising for a minimum of 2+ weeks. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! Everyone heals at different rates.
  • YOU MAY SHOWER 24-48 HOURS after surgery. Keep your incisions clean and dry.
  • Prof Graewe will remove your dressings and if necessary stitches at your post-op visit. DO NOT submerge in a bath or swimming pool for a minimum of 3 weeks.
  • CALL IF YOU EXPERIENCE excessive pain, bleeding, swelling, discoloration at the incision site, or fever. You can call the office 021 914 0272. We want to make you comfortable and to answer any question you may have, when you have them.
  • Remember, scars take a year to fully mature. We recommend Micropore taping of all scars for a 3 month minimum period. The Micropore tape should only be replaced once per week. This is the most important part of scar management. If you had previous keloid formation or abnormal scarring you need to inform us. ScarScience is a scar ointment that can be used on top of the Micropore should this be necessary. Wear sunscreen (SPF 30) over your scars after they heal. Check for any postoperative complications. It also means action can be taken promptly if there is a complication.
  • Healing may take several weeks as the swelling goes down.
  • You may also have driving restrictions (depends on surgery), particularly for manual cars, which involve more core muscle activation.

Special Considerations As Indicated:

  • GARMENTS/BINDERS: Garments help to reduce swelling and promote tissue retraction following certain surgeries. Wear it for about 6 weeks, around the clock, under clothing. The garment may be removed for bathing, or you may shower in the garment and blow it dry. The garment may also be loosened or adjusted as needed. Hand-wash your garment and DO NOT dry it in the dryer. Keep any dressings or Micropore on as instructed.
  • DRAINS: Drains may be inserted (however not at every surgery) to reduce blood/fluid accumulation at the surgical site. They should be emptied about once daily, and more often if necessary. Expect some oozing at the tubing insertion site. Gauze can be used to reinforce the site. The drain bulbs can be placed in the pockets of your jacket or safety pinned to your clothing. Drains are typically removed between 2 and 10 days post-op, depending on the surgery. A drain record should be kept to record the amount of daily output. (Bring the record to your post-op visits.)
  • As with any surgery, Plastic Surgery Recovery will take longer if complications occur. The length of recovery will depend on the severity of the complication and treatment needed.

We wish you all the best for your surgery.