What Should I Expect After Surgery?
There will be some bruising and swelling in the face where the surgery occurred. There will also be some bruising and discomfort where the nerves and muscles are removed, but usually this can be easily treated with pain medication. The bruising and swelling will improve considerably over the first two weeks. Initially, you will need to keep your head elevated and avoid any pressure to the side of the face where the surgery occurred. There may be a mouth guard in place to prevent damage to the transplanted muscle. This mouth guard will be removed before you leave the hospital in most cases.
You may require a soft diet for the first few weeks following surgery. We encourage walking the day after the operation. Medication will be provided to help minimize pain and discomfort.
You can expect to stay in the hospital for approximately one week following muscle transplant and less (1-2 nights) after nerve graft procedures. If you live far away, we will help you make arrangements to stay at a hotel close to the medical center for about a week after discharge from the hospital.
The transplanted muscle may show signs of contracting as early as four months after the operation, but this may not occur for as long as nine months and sometimes even longer. We will have you return to the plastic surgery clinic, and we will provide coaching on how to do facial exercises to strengthen the transplanted muscle.