Strategies To Reduce Your Risk For Post-Facelift Infection

Posted on

If you go to sites or plan on undergoing a facelift, your plastic surgeon will talk to you about the risks and benefits during your pre-operative consultation appointment. You will also discuss infection risk, how to care for your incisions and when you can resume your normal activities. Consider the following strategies that you and your doctor may not have discussed during your pre-surgical visit that may help reduce your risk for infection:

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is often recommended for wound healing, and either increasing your intake of vitamin C-rich foods such as oranges, grapefruit or spinach, or taking vitamin C supplements may promote the healing of your incisions. Vitamin C can also help boost your immunity, further decreasing your risk for developing a post-operative infection.

It also helps enhance your skin's elasticity, while helping to promote cellular health. In addition, vitamin C also helps decrease swelling, while reducing your risk for scar formation. Increasing your intake of vitamin C can lead to acid reflux, nausea and in certain cases, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Not Smoking

Smoking not only affects your respiratory system, it can also damage your facial capillaries and slow healing after cosmetic surgery. When your capillaries are damaged as a result of smoking, healing is slowed, and the chemicals found in cigarette smoke can contribute to a post-operative infection.

Smoking can also put you at risk for developing a respiratory infection when you wake up from general anesthesia. If you are unable to quit entirely, at least refrain from smoking until your facelift incisions are healed.

Increasing Protein

Increasing your dietary protein intake can help promote healing and tissue regeneration, so consider including more lean meats, fish and dairy products into your daily diet plan following your facelift. While protein can help reduce your risk for infection and speed the healing process, you shouldn't overload on protein-rich foods or supplements if you have kidney problems.

Too much protein taxes your renal system and if you consume excessive amounts, you may be putting yourself at risk for kidney failure. When you increase your intake of protein, you should also increase your fluid intake as well. Drinking plenty of water helps your kidneys flush out excess protein so that it doesn't lead to renal problems.

Nausea Relief

Your doctor may send you home with a prescription for antibiotics to take for infection prevention. Sometimes, however, the effects of the general anesthetic used for the facelift can make you nauseous for a week or more, and the antibiotics themselves can make you sick to your stomach as well.

If nausea and vomiting occur, you may be unable keep your antibiotics down, which may increase your risk for developing an infection. Your doctor can prescribe an antiemetic medication to relieve nausea and to prevent you from vomiting.

While effective, prescription anti-nausea medications can lead to profound drowsiness, confusion, dizziness, urinary retention and visual disturbances. If you are unable to tolerate the side effects from these medications, consider taking over-the-counter antihistamines, which are often prescribed for motion sickness and nausea.

While antihistamines can produce side effects such as drowsiness and dizziness, they are usually milder, and better tolerated than prescription anti-nausea medications. It is important that you complete the entire course of antibiotics, and at the first sign of nausea and vomiting, call your surgeon for treatment options.

If you experience an increase in pain, swelling or bleeding after your facelift, or if you develop a fever, cough, chills or body aches, call your doctor. These may be signs of a bacterial infection, which will need to be evaluated and treated to prevent further complications.