When considering the financials involved with plastic surgery, there are the nonnegotiables—the separate and significant fees for the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, and the facility, plus the cost of requisite drugs and possibly garments—and then there are the myriad “extras.” While far from essential, these enhancements are said to speed wound healing, ease anxiety, and generally optimize the post-op period—all for a price, of course, which frequently puts them out of reach for the average patient, who has already spent five figures on a facelift or tummy tuck.
In this regard, stars are not just like us. They have not only the means and opportunity to spring for supplementary services but plenty of motive too. “Celebrities tend to be in more of a time crunch and need to be back to camera-ready within a few weeks of surgery, [which] can be challenging,” says Dr. Kelly Killeen, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, California. To accelerate healing, many abscond to luxe recovery centers, where they’re treated to round-the-clock private nursing, restorative IV infusions, hyperbaric oxygen sessions, and more—typically with the goal of emerging days to weeks later, looking refreshed yet unaltered.
The priciest and most priceless of extras, without question, is 24/7 medical care following surgery. If you can swing it, “it’s a great idea to stay in aftercare or hire a private nurse for a few days, to help you recover,” says Dr. Killeen. “A seasoned post-op nurse will assist you with optimal positioning to minimize swelling, decrease [your] pain medications, which also speeds healing, and help you with those annoying dressing changes and garment placements.”
According to Dr. Killeen, most aftercare centers provide customized dishes thoughtfully built around key nutrients that the body needs to heal. “After surgery, it’s important to have a good amount of lean protein and to avoid excess salt and alcohol to minimize swelling,” she says. The specific nutritional profile of one’s meal plan is often based on their particular procedure or surgical circumstances. For instance, “patients who undergo fat grafting benefit from a high-carb diet for several weeks,” she notes, whereas “foods high in iron are sometimes helpful if there was a significant amount of blood loss during surgery.”
Fashion icon Marc Jacobs recently gave his Insta fam a window into his facelift recovery—which included time spent in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. Following both face and body surgeries, “patients often schedule a few days to a few weeks of treatments, to help increase their circulating oxygen levels and heal their wounds faster,” says Dr. Killeen, who finds O2 sessions to be especially advantageous for “surgeries with a higher risk of skin necrosis and healing issues,” like facelifts, tummy tucks, and breast lifts and reductions.
“A good lymphatic massage therapist is every plastic surgeon’s secret weapon for getting patients camera-ready as soon as possible,” Dr. Killeen says. Most effective when initiated the week after surgery, manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) “moves swelling out of an injured area to a place that will process the fluid normally and minimize your swelling duration while also helping the area scar down as smoothly as possible,” she explains. MLD techniques can also ameliorate abnormal or tethered plastic surgery scars. For most patients, Dr. Killeen prescribes two to three massages per week, for four to six weeks.