Preparing for Post Surgery
Recovering from cosmetic surgery at home is made easy with a compact kit of medical supplies you'll need. Sophie Gordon reports.
Susan Harvey is the founder and president of a cosmetic surgery comfort catalog called Home Recovery. She started making post-operative comfort kits four years ago when friends having procedures complained about being sent home without anything other than medication. "Cosmetic surgery is an elective procedure so patients who have had these procedures can't necessarily afford a recovery center or have a nurse at home," explains Susan.
Because procedures aren't as invasive as they used to be and recovery periods are shorter, most patients rely on themselves and their family for care. Home Recovery kits provide the patient with everything he/she needs to be comfortable at home. The kits come in small tote bags and can be ordered over the Internet or through the catalog. "Patients have enough to worry about. So having these supplies alleviates any extra anxiety," says Susan. "The patients feel as if they are prepared and being proactive in their healing. That's important."
Home Recovery makes kits for breast augmentation, facelift, liposuction, rhinoplasty, abdominoplasty, and skin resurfacing procedures. The content of each kit was developed using instructions from surgeons and nurses, and items that patients have specifically requested. "They are basically scaled down, medical grade versions of products that a consumer can't find. We buy them in bulk from medical suppliers and dispense them in small quantities in a compact little bag," says Susan.
Although demand for each kit varies from state to state, facelift and breast augmentation kits are Home Recovery's best sellers. According to Susan, many cosmetic surgeons buy Home Recovery kits for their patients. "Instead of sending baskets or flowers they send these recovery kits," she notes.
A breast augmentation home recovery kit contains an inflatable, plastic wedge pillow with a cotton cover. "Once it's inflated it keeps you at a 45 degree angle in bed," says Susan. "Surgeons advise you to keep yourself propped up. Elevation is important. The pillow also makes it easier to get in and out of bed because putting pressure on your arms is painful after a breast operation."
A product known as the 'bed pull-up' is also included for the same reason. Arnica ointment (a homeopathic anti-inflammatory topical gel) reported to reduce swelling and bruising is included along with bromelain (a derivative of pineapple) to assist the speed of the healing. All items in the kit are disposable -- polysporin (an anti-bacterial ointment) applied to the incision areas, medical grade applicators, non-skid slipper socks, and cool tops (ice packs) that fit your breasts comfortably. "The cool tops are moon shaped with a gauze back. Ice reduces the swelling although some surgeons have different views about that," admits Susan. "Of course you can speak to 100 different surgeons and get recommendations for a 100 different items but, by and large, we found these to be the best products." The breast recovery kit retails for around $65.