Speeding up healing and recovery time after surgery

For optimum recovery after a surgical procedure regardless of whether it is plastic surgery, orthopaedic surgery or lifesaving surgery there are certain guidelines that remain the same, which have been proven to reduce recovery time after surgery. Recovery starts as soon as surgery is complete and continues for months afterwards. To save money it is advisable to book courses of treatments, rather than individual, therapy sessions.

The 3 most important things to avoid before and after surgery

  1. Nicotine - it is recommended 6 weeks or earlier to stop smoking or using nicotine products

It is essential to avoid nicotine, not just tobacco and cigarettes, in any form including e-cigarettes, vapes, nicotine patches, chewing gum or lozenges; for a minimum of 24 hours before any surgical procedure to reduce the risk of dangerous complications.

Complications caused by use of nicotine products, include:

• Increased risk with general anaesthesia - Cigarettes and tobacco contain carbon monoxide which reduces the level of oxygen in the blood also lowers blood oxygen levels, increasing the risk of a heart attack and respiratory complications.

• Respiratory (breathing) problems - increased risk of developing pneumonia and, or requiring a ventilator to help you breathe.

• Reduced circulation - a regular blood supply is vital for quicker healing of tissues.

• Infection - nicotine and the chemicals contained in nicotine products, lower your immune system and increase risk of infection.

• Necrosis - (tissue death) death of skin cells.

• Slow healing - incisions take longer to heal, increasing risk of infection and noticeable scars.

• Blood Clots - blood becomes thicker when nicotine and the chemicals contained in nicotine products enter the blood stream which increases the risk of a life-threatening pulmonary embolism.

• Pain - research has shown that pain levels can increase, when nicotine and the chemicals contained in nicotine products are in the blood stream.

• Coronary (heart) damage - increases risk of permanent small vessel damage, heart attack and, or stroke.

  1. Alcohol - it is recommended 6 weeks or earlier to reduce your alcohol intake to a maximum of 14 units per week (2 units per day).

It is essential to stop consuming alcohol 24 hours before surgery to prevent dangerous complications

Complications caused by consumption of alcohol include:

• Increased risk with general anaesthesia - alcohol increases the production of a liver enzyme which can affect the way your body metabolises anaesthesia.

• Blood Clots - blood becomes thinner when alcohol enters the blood stream which can interfere with the efficiency of the way blood clots during the healing process.

• Infection – increases due to a delay in healing.

• Necrosis - (tissue death) death of skin cells

  1. Stress - Research has shown that chemicals released when under stress slow down the healing process.

Speaking therapies, meditation, regular massage therapy, increasing exercise and improving your nutrition can all help to lower stress levels naturally.

Complications caused by stress include:

• Slow healing - increasing the time it takes incisions heal, puts you at higher risk of developing and infection and noticeable scars.

• Coronary (heart) damage - stress chemicals may increase the risk of heart attack and, or stroke.

The 3 most important things to speed up recovery after surgery

  1. Nutrition, vitamins and essential minerals

Start to consider your nutritional intake as early as you can. Research has shown that a positive impact to the immune system, can be measured when nutrition is improved at least 1 to 2 weeks prior to surgery.

• Protein - contains amino acids which support the repair of soft tissues, muscles and bones.

• Essential Fats - include omega-3 fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

• Fibre - helps to keep bowel movements regular, preventing constipation.

• Vitamins and minerals - increasing intake of vitamins B, C, K and magnesium will support the repair of muscles, bones, cartilage and soft tissues NOTE: Vitamins A, D, E and K are non-water soluble, do not take more than the recommended daily allowance as this may interfere with kidney and liver function.

• Water - it is recommended to drink a minimum of 6 cups of water a day, to help your body wash out toxins for optimum healing and to reduce the risk of dehydration and constipation.

  1. Massage Therapy

Therapeutic Swedish massage therapy is one of the most researched forms of massage therapy. During a Swedish massage various methods are utilised to combine, long sweeping strokes (Effleurage), kneading of soft tissue and muscle fibres (Petrissage), rhythmical percussion (Papotement), joint mobilisation and stretching techniques.

Research has shown the benefits of Swedish massage therapy, support quicker healing after surgery, these include:

• Reduced production of cortisol, the stress chemical

• Decrease in pain levels

• Reduces swelling and bruising

• Increased circulation (blood flow)

• Releases tension in soft tissues, muscles and ligaments

• Improves the immune system

• Increased energy levels

• Promotes wellbeing, reducing anxiety and aiding relaxation of mind and body

Visit my massage therapy website

  1. Deep Oscillation Therapy and Manual Lymphatic Drainage

Low-frequency electromagnetic radiations are produced via a patented machine. The electromagnetic radiations create electrostatic waves which increase blood flow and lymphatic drainage.

Research into deep oscillation therapy has shown it can help to speed up recovery after surgery the clinically proven benefits include:

• Increases speed of tissue regeneration by stimulating faster delivery of nutrients to the tissues

• Reduced production of cortisol, the stress chemical

• Reduces pain

• Decreases the risk of infection

• Reduces bruising and swelling

• Improves circulation (blood flow) speeding up healing of wounds

• Reduces tension in muscles, ligaments and soft tissues

• Supports the immune system

• Helps to relax, mind and body, reducing stress and promoting quicker healing

• Reduces local oedema and encourages discharge of interstitial fluid, holding waste products

• Increases the production of collagen, improving skin trophicity and elasticity

• Improves and speeds up healing of scar tissue by reducing fibrosis

• Supports the body in the elimination of toxins (detoxification)

• Stimulates muscles and helps to increase strength and muscle tone

For more information about the positive effect of deep oscillation therapy and manual lymphatic drainage prior to and after plastic surgery or any other form of surgery

Posted on May 12, 2020

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