Cambridge Plastic Surgery

Plastic and reconstructive surgery, hand surgery and aesthetic surgery

Medicolegal reporting



Post operative instructions after minor facial surgery

  • The area of surgery could be numb for 3-5 hours. If this includes the mouth or lips, then avoid hot drinks.
  • Dressings should usually be left intact until the sutures are removed. You will need to be careful when washing, or shaving.
  • You should sit up in bed on the first night of surgery, lying flat might increase the tendency to bleed.
  • Post-operative pain is usually controlled with a combination of paracetamol, ibuprofen, or cocodamol (co-codamol is 15mg codeine, and 500 mg paracetamol). Do not exceed the recommended daily intake of ibuprofen or paracetamol.
  • Facial wounds are closed with a deep-layer of absorbable sutures and interrupted non-absorbable sutures to the skin surface. These need to be removed after 6-7 days. This can be done by the practice nurse at your GP’s surgery, or by the private hospital nurses. These arrangements will need to be confirmed before you leave hospital.
  • After the sutures are removed most patients will benefit from the use of a piece of Micropore tape across the wound for a further 3-4 days. This provides some extra support to the healing wound. A fresh piece can be applied each day.
  • Infections after facial surgery are rare, but need rapid treatment. Signs of infection include: Swelling, increasing redness, pus or bleeding, the wound feeling warm, an unpleasant smell, increasing pain, or fever. If you think you have an infection, you can contact the private hospital for advice, you could arrange an urgent appointment to see your GP, or call NHS direct for advice.
  • Sepsis after minor facial surgery is extremely rare, but if untreated it can be devastating. Signs of sepsis include high fever, or low body temperature, chills and shivering, patches of discoloured skin, raised heartbeat, or fast breathing. If you have any of the features of sepsis, you should phone NHS direct as soon as possible, or urgently attend a local hospital emergency department.
  • You should not drive until confident and safe to do so.
  • The timing of your return to work is dependent upon the work environment, the intensity and length of duties, and the extent and anatomical location of surgery. Many patients will discuss this with an employer before surgery. I can also issue you with a fitness for work certificate to cover a period of sick leave.


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  •  Skin Cancer