During their plastic surgery journey, patients can play an active part in achieving optimal results. At Medical Tourism in Albania, our dedicated team strives to create the desired results for your procedure. However, we depend on your cooperation, following the pre-and post-surgery guidelines is crucial. We have compiled a comprehensive guide to prepare you for your plastic surgery procedure in Albania, along with our recommendations for post-surgery care. This resource aims to give you the needed tools to improve your results and minimize any potential risks for a speedy recovery.
Three Weeks Before Surgery
We will provide you with a set of essential lab tests or X-rays that need to be conducted before the surgery. You must schedule appointments for all the required laboratory tests, primary physician visits, and specialist consultations (such as an ophthalmologist, cardiologist, etc.) to have them completed no later than two weeks before the surgery. After your appointments, please follow up with your physician to ensure that all your documents have been sent to the office. Within the same week, your surgery date will be confirmed and you will be provided with all the necessary details regarding the procedure.
Any questions you may have should be answered at this stage. We will carefully review your medical records, including the pre-operative clearance from your primary care physician, to ensure your health concerns, such as hypertension and allergies, have been managed.
You Must Stop at This Time
- Smoking: Quit smoking as early as possible, as it contributes to better surgical outcomes.
- Alcohol: If you regularly consume alcohol, it is advised to either eliminate or reduce your intake. Alcohol can lead to easy bruising, lessen the liver’s ability to metabolize medications and interfere with the overall healing process.
- Sun exposure: Refrain from sunbathing, using self-tanning products, or sun booths.
- Facial treatments: If you are undergoing facial surgery, avoid facials, steaming masks, or any other skin irritants.
- Maintaining well-being: Eat nutritious meals, get adequate sleep, and avoid contact with unwell individuals.
- Pregnancy: Women must ensure they are not pregnant before undergoing surgery.
Seven to Ten Days before Surgery
Go through this information with your caregiver for the post-surgery period. Additionally, it would be beneficial to schedule hair-cutting and nail appointments beforehand. Make arrangements for childcare, pet care, and mail pick-up. Take care of any upcoming bills that will fall due while you are recovering. It is also advisable to tidy your house and arrange any housekeeping that might be necessary during your recovery.
Men who are undergoing facelift surgery should allow their sideburns to grow out in preparation for the procedure. If you are going to have surgery at a hospital and haven’t done so already, call the admitting department to confirm your arrangements. Review your calendar for any upcoming birthdays, meetings, or other commitments that may require your attention during your surgery or recovery period. If you develop any skin infections, boils, or pustules around the site where the surgery is planned, or if you become ill within one week before the operation, please notify the office.
Make sure to arrange a ride from the hospital to the hotel and the way back. Arrange a family member or a friend to assist you at home for a minimum of 24 hours following the procedure. If desired, we can arrange for an experienced nurse to provide care during this initial period at your home or hotel. Remember that you are not allowed to drive yourself home if you were administered any type of sedation or general anesthesia.
The Morning of Surgery
Here are the revised instructions for your pre-surgery preparations:
- Take your regular prescription medications, such as blood pressure, thyroid, or birth control pills, with a small amount of water.
- Avoid using any facial or body moisturizer on the day of surgery.
- Men should avoid shaving the surgical area.
- Brush your teeth, but do not swallow any water.
- Opt for comfortable clothing that is loose-fitting and has buttons or a front zipper.
- Wear flat, comfortable shoes and avoid pantyhose or girdles.
- Leave any jewelry, earrings, rings, hairpins, or false eyelashes at home.
- If you wear contact lenses, eyeglasses, or dentures, bring their cases labeled with your name.
- Refrain from styling or setting your hair.
- Wash your hair with a mild shampoo on the night before surgery.
- Remember to bring your medications to the ambulatory surgery center for review.
If possible, leave your purse at home. Inform the nurse about items you may be wearing, such as a wig, contact lenses, eyeglasses, false eyelashes, dentures, partial plates, loose teeth, etc. The nurse will record your vital signs, ask routine medical questions, and have you sign a surgical consent form. Our anesthesiologist will review your health anamnesis once again to ensure maximum safety.
Afterward, the nurse will bring you to a comfortable operating room. The anesthesiologist will administer gentle sedation to put you to sleep. At Medical Tourism in Albania, surgeons generally utilize sedation, permitting you to breathe naturally during the procedure. Advanced intravenous anesthesia techniques are extremely safe and comfortable. Additionally, you will be administered a long-acting local anesthetic to numb the surgical site. Upon awakening, these will be numb, resulting in minimal discomfort. Most patients experience little pain once the effects of the local anesthetic wear off, and any discomfort is easily managed with pain medication.
In the Recovery Area
During the procedure, a light oxygen mask may be placed on your face to supply pure oxygen. A blood pressure cuff might be placed on your upper arm. Your blood pressure reading is recorded by a computer that alerts the doctor and nurse of any changes. An intravenous line (I.V.) may be inserted in your arm to provide fluids. A small plastic finger clip will be attached to one of your fingers to measure your pulse rate and the oxygen levels in the blood, accurately. Additionally, two or three sticky pads may be attached to your chest or back for monitoring purposes.
To monitor your heart rate, the adhesive pads are also attached to an EKG computer. Depending on the type of surgery, dressings will be applied to the surgical site. Sometimes, a small drain may be inserted, which consists of a small plastic tube connected to a drain bulb. This drain helps reduce swelling and bruising by collecting fluids. It will only be used if the surgeon sees it necessary and it will be removed 24-48 hours later under local anesthetic.
If necessary, you may also have ace bandages on your legs to maintain warmth. In the case of abdominal surgery, a bladder catheter might be used. Your vision might be blurry following the surgery due to the protective ointment used during the procedure.
For the Journey Home
In the recovery room, we ensure your comfort and safety by providing the following:
- Arrange for someone to drive you home if you have undergone sedation or general anesthesia.
- We recommend bringing a pillow, blanket, and a box of tissues. Adjusting the front passenger’s seat to a reclined position will add to your overall comfort.
- Drive slowly and cautiously, as it is common for patients to feel light-headed.
- The person accompanying you should assist you in entering and exiting the car, and provide support as you walk from the vehicle to your home. Once inside, it is advisable to lie down on the couch or bed with one or two pillows positioned behind your back.
Signs to Look Out For
Please be aware of the following symptoms or conditions that require immediate attention:
- If your temperature exceeds 38 degrees Celsius, with or without chills.
- Excessive swelling is accompanied by tight or restrictive dressings, especially if you notice a difference between one side of your body and the other.
- If you experience excessive bleeding that does not cease. In the case of oozing or bleeding, apply direct pressure on the area for 10 minutes without interruption.
- Persistent vomiting.
Contact our office for further guidance, or if necessary, have someone drive you to the emergency room for immediate medical attention.
Immediately After Surgery
For the first 24 hours following your surgery, we advise you to follow these guidelines:
During the first day or two, take deep breaths and cough lightly to promote lung exercise. Alter positions while in bed or on the couch to decrease discomfort in your back. Move your legs from side to side and up and down, and intermittently flex your ankles. These activities will improve blood circulation and reduce stiffness. Do not exert yourself in the first few days after the surgery, as it can lead to increased swelling and bruising. Elevate the area that was operated on and avoid lifting or bending whenever possible. If you underwent a tummy tuck or abdominoplasty, it is necessary to walk with your back flexed at the hips at approximately 30 to 45 degrees.
Following a face or neck lift, bending or turning your neck should be avoided. In the case of facial surgery, sleep with your back raised at an angle of 30 to 40 degrees using a wedge or pillow for support. For breast or abdominal surgery, avoid sleeping on your sides. Gradually begin to resume your regular activities, progressing daily. Pay attention to your body. If you feel fatigued or experience soreness while in activity, slow down or stop altogether. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery for at least 24 hours after your procedure or after discontinuing narcotic pain medications.
When getting up from bed, it is not unusual to experience dizziness if you do so too quickly. It is best to have someone assist you during the initial day or two. Sit on the edge of the bed for a minute or two until you feel steady, and then rise gradually. If you have undergone breast enhancement, abdominoplasty, or liposuction surgery, use a technique called “logrolling.” Gently roll over on your side and bring your knees up. Slowly move your legs off the bed until they hang down, and then use the elbows to put yourself into a sitting position while keeping your knees bent. Have a nightlight and a chair in both your bedroom and bathroom. At this stage, you may feel somewhat vulnerable and as if you’re moving in slow motion, but this sensation will soon pass.
Focus on one step at a time. Face the handrail or banister and firmly grip it with both hands. Have an assistant walk behind you as you ascend the stairs and in front of you as you descend. If you feel dizzy, promptly sit down wherever you are without worrying about your location.
Maintain cleanliness and dryness at your surgical site for a minimum of 48 hours following the end of your surgery. If you have drains in place after 48 hours, it is needed to avoid showering until all the drains have been removed.
Based on the type of surgery, there might be a period during which you cannot wash your hair for several days. In such cases, you can use “No-Rinse” in place of shampooing. Unless instructed otherwise, you are allowed to brush your teeth gently and use mouthwash.
To allow blood circulation at the surgical site, compression garments should be removed every 2 hours for approximately 10-15 minutes. You may leave the garments on overnight without removing them, to allow yourself a comfortable sleep.
During the initial days of your recovery, it is normal for you to feel thirsty. It is recommended to keep a stock of juices available. If your throat is sore, which can often occur after anesthesia, try drinking lukewarm, decaffeinated tea with honey or non-citrus fruit juice like apple, pear, or peach juice. Throat lozenges or ice cream can also be very soothing. It is normal to have a reduced appetite for a few days after surgery. To prevent dehydration and minimize constipation, it is important to consume fluids, particularly electrolyte-balanced drinks such as Gatorade. You may also try the low-salt chicken soup. Immediately following surgery, begin with a clear liquid diet and gradually progress towards more regular foods as you can tolerate.
As your appetite increases, it is recommended to consume easily digested foods such as soups, low-fat ice cream, low-calorie milkshakes, pudding, yogurt, ground-up food, or even baby food, and high-fat dairy products. Following facial surgery, it is important to follow a full liquid or soft diet for one week. In particular, please avoid chewing on firm foods such as apples, pizza, thick steak, or chicken breast, as we want your face to heal without excessive strain from firm chewing or wide mouth opening.
Two to Three Days after Surgery
Family and friends play an important role during the recovery period, but it is also important to have moments for yourself only, to sleep or to rest. It is advisable to decide when and how often you will have visitors, and for how long. As you begin to feel better, you may want to be more active. Taking short walks can be beneficial, but keep in mind to protect yourself by wearing a hat, scarf, and sunglasses. During the first 24 to 48 hours after surgery, your body undergoes a healing process where it absorbs extra fluids and nutrients. By the second day, you may experience swelling at the surgical site. This is normal and will gradually subside over the following days to weeks. Elevating the area and applying cold compresses can help reduce swelling.
Also, ensure that the room temperature is not too warm, as elevated air temperature can increase swelling. It is normal for small capillaries to continue oozing for a few days, resulting in bruising. As the small blood cells break down during the absorption process, you may notice some discoloration that can last for a few weeks. This is usually minimal. Your body will absorb this fluid over the next week to ten days. Limit direct sun exposure as sunlight can worsen these conditions. Taking a relaxing bath can be soothing. If you have dressing still, ensure they remain dry or wait until they are removed. Generally, you can shower after two days and bathe after one week.
Three to Five Days after Surgery
Fever: You may continue to experience a low-grade fever for a few days following the surgery. Usually as an indicator that you need to take deeper breaths. However, if your temperature rises above 38 degrees, contact the office.
Constipation: Mild constipation can come as a cause of pain medication, inactivity, and surgery. To alleviate this, make sure you are drinking plenty of liquids, such as six glasses of water or juice per day. Additionally, taking one or two tablespoons of Metamucil or a similar product each morning can help. Prune juice may also provide relief.
Swelling: This should begin to subside at this point. You might experience slight shooting discomfort, which shows that the nerves are returning to normal. The operative site may feel firm while swelling is present. Keep in mind that your stitches will still be tender.
Appetite: It might still be decreased. Continue to avoid excessive salt, sugar, spices, fatty dairy products, and alcohol.
Activity: Rest as needed. Gradually increase the level of activity daily, but listen to your body and stop when you are tired. If you have undergone a tummy tuck, continue walking with your back flexed, standing more erect with each passing day.
Intimacy: Shortly after surgery, numerous patients want closeness and intimacy with their partners. Hugging, embracing, and kissing are generally recommended. When you feel ready, you may resume sexual activity, but it is important to explain to your partner that you need to go slowly and gently until the soreness resolves and you have fully recovered.
The Blues: Almost everyone experiences symptoms of mild depression or anxiety during the recovery process, typically around five days post-operative. You may find yourself feeling irritable, withdrawn, or experiencing mood swings. Depression, which is common after cosmetic surgery, is oftentimes a psychological response to achieving your cosmetic surgery goals and transitioning to the next phase of life. Keep in mind that what you are experiencing is completely normal. Keep yourself occupied with activities and projects that you may have been pulling off. Fresh air can also help alleviate feelings of depression.
Two Weeks after Surgery
Diet: You can resume taking Vitamin E supplements and consuming food associated with increased bruising, such as Asian food, papaya juice, and meat tenderizers. You may also take aspirin or aspirin-related products. If you are not taking any medications, you may drink light alcoholic beverages. However, you should avoid excessive salt and spices, as they cause fluid retention and hinder the reduction of swelling.
Activity: Incorporate light exercise. Start with moderate to fast walking, stretching, and gentle exercises for the lower extremities. Gradually do a bit more daily. It is normal to initially feel stiffness and a slower pace. The increase in body fluids over the past two weeks may cause weakness and muscle stiffness. If you have undergone a tummy tuck, you should walk perfectly in an upright position at this stage. Avoid rotating your torso, as this may induce bleeding. If you have undergone breast augmentation, you will receive instructions on self-breast massage. To minimize further swelling or bruising, switch to using warm compresses.
Six Weeks to Six Months after Surgery
Physical Activity: You are now allowed to engage in activities such as jogging, nautilus training, light aerobics, and swimming in a pool. However, continue protecting your skin from the sun by wearing hats, scarves, and sunglasses, or using sunblocks. Avoid electrolysis or waxing around the areas where you had surgery for at least 10-12 weeks.
Emotional Well-being: Patients often feel that they have returned to their normal state, both emotionally and physically. Any remaining soreness at the surgical site should be resolved rapidly and should be minor at this stage. Keep in mind that it may take three months or longer for all swelling and asymmetry to fully resolve.
We Want to Hear from You
Often, when receiving medical care, patients tend to remain silent concerning their needs, recommendations, questions, and concerns. We strongly encourage and value your comments and feedback, as we are always typing to improve and meet your needs. If you had a good experience, we would appreciate hearing about it. We also want to know if your experience didn’t meet your expectations so that we can fix the issues and make the needed improvements. We are committed to helping you maintain a great appearance throughout your life. Alongside successful plastic surgery, many factors may contribute to an attractive, youthful appearance.