Facial Feminization Surgery Recovery & Support
Recovery following FFS can be grueling and uncomfortable–especially in the first few days after surgery. Your face will be a rainbow of colors during the first week after surgery! However, at one week “post-op” patients are feeling surprisingly well!
Each patient’s recovery is different based on the procedures performed. Typically, patients stay in the hospital the night following surgery. During that time the face tends to swell and bruise considerably. Ace bandages are wrapped around the face to help minimize the swelling and should be kept on 24/7 for one week. Dr. Spiegel and his team check-in during your stay and most patients feel well enough to leave around 3-5pm the following day. Many people ask us if an escort is required. While one is not required, it is recommended to help with daily cleaning of incisions and emotional support. About 40% of patients travel to Boston without an escort and are able to take care of themselves just fine. We do have private duty nurses available to anyone who would like one but they are rarely needed.
Once you have returned to your hotel or nearby home we encourage you to rest and relax as much as possible. Any bruising or swelling you experience will peak 2-3 days after surgery; icing the surgical areas as much as possible following surgery will help reduce this bruising and swelling. An antibiotic, pain medication and mouthwash (if applicable) are prescribed to keep you as comfortable as possible. Most patients use their pain medication for 4-6 days after surgery and then switch to Extra-Strength Tylenol which does the trick. Once a day incisions should be cleaned with water, a gentle cleanser and a tiny amount of hydrogen peroxide. Then, an antibacterial ointment is put on the incisions, covered with gauze and the head is rewrapped with the ace bandage(s). Many surgeries require only oral incisions which require little maintenance other than a mouthwash used a few times a day. Rhinoplasty patients will have a splint placed on their nose to stabilize the changes. This is removed after one week. Dr. Spiegel does not “pack” the nose following surgery. Mandible (jaw and chin) work, cheek augmentation, and facelifts tend to cause the most swelling following surgery. This improves greatly over the first week but will take several weeks or even months to fully dissipate. Tightness and lumpiness around the forehead and eyes is common and simply takes time to settle. After one week gentle massaging can be applied to any lumpy areas to help address this problem.
Even with the considerable amount of swelling experienced after surgery, patients are able to eat without too much trouble. Soft foods like fruit, shakes, scrambled eggs, and pudding are ideal following surgery. The patient above was even able to go to three dinner parties within her first week after surgery! Remember, no wine!
A post-operative visit with Dr. Spiegel is scheduled 7-8 days after surgery. During this time your sutures are removed and we are able to assess your progress.
Most patients return to work their daily activities after 10 days and are able to return to work 2 or 3 weeks (preferred) after surgery. Remember, your appearance and wellbeing will improve quickly but it is normal to have some minor swelling and improvements to your result even several months after your surgery. Even after you have left Boston and returned home, any questions you have regarding your continued recovery can be addressed via telephone and with the aid of digital photographs. Patients consider themselves “fully recovered” approximately one year after surgery; however, most stay in touch with our office well after that just to keep in touch with us! We hope you will do the same.
Famous question: “What About The Scar?”
Here is the same patient’s forehead incision
before, 2 weeks post-op, 1 month post-op, and 7 months post-op.
Here is a different patient’s scar one year after surgery-close up!
Facelift scar close-up–only 3 months post-op!