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Post-surgery information

Dr. Appel has answered some common questions patients have following surgery. If you have a question and you do not see the answer here, call our office at 704-316-5025 so that we can get you the information you need.

How soon after surgery do I have to wait to take a shower?

Please wait at least 72 hours after surgery unless indicated by Dr. Appel.

How soon after surgery can I start driving?

You should not drive after taking pain pills. Otherwise, you may start to drive 2-4 days after:

  • Nipple reconstruction
  • Liposuction
  • Facial plastic surgery (blepharoplasty, face lift, neck lift)

You may start to drive 5-7 days after:

  • Breast surgery (except for first-stage breast reconstruction)
  • Rhinoplasty (nose surgery)
  • Labiaplasty

You may start to drive two weeks after:

     First-stage breast reconstruction


For any procedure not listed, please ask Dr. Appel about driving restrictions.

How soon after surgery may I start exercising and lifting?

Dr. Appel suggests no strenuous activity and lifting of more than 10 pounds for at least six weeks after surgery.

What bandages should be removed after surgery?

All dressings should be removed before showering. Dressings may be replaced if desired (for comfort or padding if a bra is worn), but are not necessary after that. If there appears to be significant drainage (around a drainage tube or from an incision), gauze should be placed to absorb the drainage and changed until the drainage stops. If the drainage is significant, you should make an appointment to see Dr. Appel. If you are wearing a compression garment required after your surgery you should replace it once your shower is complete.

Do I need to wear a bra at all times after breast surgery?

No. The bra is for comfort only. The only exception to this is if you have had a breast augmentation. If you have had a breast augmentation, then you are asked to wear a bra as much as possible until Dr. Appel says otherwise.

Do I need to wear the abdominal binder/compression garment at all times?

Please wear the garment as much as possible until Dr. Appel says otherwise. It can be removed to shower. Once you have dried your body, the binder/compression garment must be placed back on.

Do I need to sleep on my back and if so, for how long?

If you have had an insertion of tissue expanders or breast implants, you should sleep on your back for six weeks or until cleared by Dr. Appel. If you have had an abdominoplasty or panniculectomy, you should sleep on your back, flexed upright at the waist at least 30 degrees until cleared by Dr. Appel. If your question is in regards to other procedures, you should never sleep directly on an incision.

Do I need someone to drive me to my procedure for local, in-office excisions?

Unless you get lightheaded easily, you should be fine to drive home on your own. If you have had trouble with other procedures or dental procedures in the past, then you should plan to have someone drive for you.

What restrictions are there for me after I have a local, in-office excision?

It is important to keep the incision dry for at least 24 hours. After 24 hours, your incision may be washed gently. Please refrain from strenuous exercise or lifting more that 10 pounds for at least three weeks after the procedure.

How long should I expect to be out of work?

On average you should expect to be out of work for 3-5days following:

  • Liposuction
  • Nipple reconstruction

You should expect to be out of work for 7-10 days following:

  • Breast implant placement
  • Labiaplasty

You should expect to be out of work for ten days following:

  • Breast lift/mastopexy
  • Breast reduction

You should expect to be out of work for two weeks following:

  • Abdominoplasty/panniculectomy
  • Rhinoplasty
  • Blepharoplasty
  • Face lift
  • Neck lift

You should expect to be out of work for one month following first-stage breast reconstruction.

When can I travel or fly after my surgery?

Dr. Appel advises against flying during the first four weeks after any surgery requiring general anesthesia. If flying is absolutely necessary, please discuss with Dr. Appel. Car trips are allowed, but please stop every hour of the drive to walk for five minutes.

How long after surgery may I swim or take a bath?

Please do not swim or take a bath for at least two weeks after surgery or until your incision has fully healed (whichever is longer). If you have had breast implants or tissue expanders placed, then you must check with Dr. Appel, but it is very likely it will be 4-6 weeks until you are able to swim or take a bath.

How soon after surgery may I tan?

Please check with Dr. Appel before attempting to tan after any procedure.



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