Don’t plan on that wedding, vacation, or 20-year class reunion for right after your
surgery. Most plastic surgery procedures are not something your body can
recover from overnight.
There will be a few days that you are barely able to move around to take care of
yourself. You may not be able to climb stairs or even get out of bed without help.
For a few days after surgery, you will feel totally incapacitated.
The vacation can (should) wait…
Do not plan to go out of town for a vacation, go to family events, a work party, or
anything of the sort for at least two to six weeks after your procedure. (Ask your
doctor what he/she recommends.) All too often we see serious complications in
the healing of patients who use their two-week vacation to have a breast
augmentation and go to Florida for spring break. That is a disaster waiting to
My best advice is to overprepare for your recovery. Set yourself up in the most
comfortable place you can think of to recover. That’s almost always your home,
your mom’s home, or a recovery center where the staff specialize in plastic
surgery recovery. Take a little bit too much time off, think of everything possible
you may need, have too much help around, and read everything your doctor
gives you three times.
What could happen if you rush yourself and get back to normal life too
Some common complications of overdoing it after surgery include fainting and
hurting yourself, bleeding from your incisions or inside your body (a hematoma),
slow healing, open wounds, infections, and hospitalization. Doesn’t sound like fun, does it? In fact, you could add months to your recovery time by causing a complication, and you could permanently ruin your results. What a waste of time, money, and energy just so you could go to the office holiday party the week after your tummy tuck. It’s not worth it.
Learn more about what you’ll need to do to recover and maintain your new body by getting your own copy of, “Making the Cut” available for purchase on Amazon.
Cosmetic surgery can be a major life-changing experience. You will be riding an emotional roller coaster on which you may experience depression, frustration, and excitement. So it’s important to be well prepared psychologically for this
To help you prepare, do the following:
Surgery is a stressful event and a psychologically intense experience. Everything is magnified because not only do you have the normal anxieties and stresses about having surgery, you’re also putting your hopes and expectations for an improved image and lifestyle on top of that. Be aware and honest with your feelings throughout the process.
Understand what to expect and how to properly prepare by getting your own copy of my book, “Making the Cut” available for purchase on Amazon.
Let’s say you’ve done it! You’re on the road to enjoying your new and improved
self. What now? In addition to the time you’ll need immediately after surgery to
recover both physically and mentally, there are some long-term things you must
consider to make sure you are realistic about the amount of time your recovery
Focusing on your workout and diet routine is essential to having the best results
after a body contouring procedure. All too often, people who have a tummy tuck
or liposuction stay in recovery mode too long after their procedures and end up
gaining weight. Sometimes, their ability to fit into a smaller dress size makes
people think it’s okay to have that morning doughnut or skip their workout.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Almost everyone has heard stories about people spending thousands of dollars
on surgery only to gain all their weight back. You should be looking at plastic
surgery as a life change, not just a body change. Exercise, weight loss, and
healthy habits are all part of the life-changing experience that plastic surgery can
be. Immediately after you are cleared by your surgeon (usually in four to six
weeks), you need to get back to the gym and into a regular workout routine that includes strenuous physical exercise at least three times a week, combined with watching dietary habits and the weight on the scale.
Learn more about what you’ll need to do to maintain your new and improved body by getting your own copy of, “Making the Cut” available for purchase on Amazon.
Plastic surgery is safe, common and accessible to almost all; if you are healthy,
there is minimal risk in undergoing plastic surgery. You’re not likely to have any
type of problem either during or after your procedure. However, there are some
health problems that make undergoing plastic surgery absolutely contraindicated
(should not be done).
One of those conditions is a family history of something called “malignant
hyperthermia,” which is a life-threatening genetic disease where your body
temperature goes out of control when you undergo anesthesia with some
commonly used medications. If someone in your family has it, you need to be
tested for it, and you really should stay away from having any type of
unnecessary surgery, including plastic surgery.
In the medical profession, there’s a criteria system that is used in almost every
operating room called the American Society of Anesthesiologists criteria. If
you’ve had serious health issues and you have a physical status classification of
three or higher based on the ASA criteria, then you really should not be having
elective surgery at this time. In fact, you really shouldn’t be having surgery at all
unless it’s a medical emergency.
We provide patients with a letter they can provide their primary-care physicians
to obtain the right medical clearance for plastic surgery. Make sure the surgeon
you work with requires this; use this as a guide when you discuss your health
with your doctor to make sure you’re in good health and prepared to undergo surgery.
To learn more about being prepared for cosmetic procedures, I invite you to get your own copy of my book, “Making the Cut” available for purchase on Amazon.
Having a plastic surgery procedure requires physical and emotional support. A support
system built of understanding and able friends and family is a must following surgery.
Ninety-eight percent of plastic surgery procedures are done in a “outpatient” setting,
which means that you don’t spend any time admitted into a hospital after your
procedure. Once your pain is well controlled in the recovery room, and you are fully
awake from the anesthesia, you will be “discharged” from the place where you had
surgery. Your caretaker will be your family member or friend who has volunteered to
take care of you. To most, it makes sense to have help after surgery. However, some
people mistakenly believe they’ll be fine on their own. “I’m tough,” “I heal fast,” and “I
don’t need help” are a few comments I hear that I know can lead to a disaster. Let me
give you a few reasons why you need help for at least two to three days after any
In addition to someone helping you recover, you will need someone to temporarily take
over whatever personal responsibilities you have, both at work and around the house. You’ll be stuck mostly in bed, which means you will need help for basic things such as meals, driving to the doctor, and chores around the house.
If you want to recover properly and safely, you’ll need to secure help and be comfortable with letting things go for a while. Learn more about what to expect from your surgery by getting your copy of, “Making the Cut” available for purchase on Amazon.
When it comes to your cosmetic procedure, being realistic about your outcome is
a high-priority conversation you should always have with your plastic surgeon. It
is of utmost importance for a patient to understand what surgery is capable of
changing and to what degree. If you expect something that is impossible to
achieve, you are setting yourself up for failure.
You Won’t Become J. Lo or Brad – That’s a Good Thing
Plastic surgery cannot radically change your bone structure, skin, muscle, or fat
so much that you will look exactly like another person or even give you any of
that person’s exact physical characteristics. Often we encounter patients who
have the misguided notion that looking like someone else is going to give the
lifestyle of that person. There is no way that looking like a celebrity is going to
give you the attention or opportunities that someone else has.
Too often, we see people who say they want to look like Brad Pitt, J. Lo, or Kim
Kardashian. Although it is okay to refer to the type of result you want (“I want
Angelina Jolie-type lips”), you need to know that you will not suddenly be
transported to a mansion in Beverly Hills and make movies. You also need to
know that Angelina Jolie’s lips look good on Angelina Jolie, J. Lo’s buttocks look
good on J. Lo, and so on. This type of result may not look good on you because
the rest of “you” is completely different.
The important thing to remember is we are helping you become your best self – not to become someone else entirely! Learn how to have realistic and healthy expectations for your next cosmetic procedure by getting your copy of, “Making the Cut” available for purchase on Amazon.
Your mental and emotional health is of utmost importance.
Anyone who has a current, untreated psychological diagnosis is not a candidate
for plastic surgery. That doesn’t mean that if a person does have a diagnosis,
they cannot have surgery ever, but they should be being treated for the disorder
and they should discuss the idea of having plastic surgery at length with their
psychologist first. Make sure your psychologist is involved in the entire process of
the procedure—before, during, and after.
You may need a dosage adjustment of any medications, as well as counseling
through the different stages of recovery. The reason why this is so important is
that plastic surgery has been shown to magnify certain psychological ailments.
After surgery, people are more likely to feel scared and vulnerable. They can’t
move around as much. They’re stuck at home recovering. They’re in some
degree of pain, which can cause changes in the hormonal activity of your body
and brain. Having surgery releases stress hormones from the adrenal glands that
affect your mood and thinking.
All these drastic hormonal changes can be tough for anyone to deal with, but
they can be even harder on people with a psychiatric diagnosis. This means that
if you have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, or anxiety, and
it’s not under control when you have the procedure done, then you can have significant problems and worsening symptoms in the immediate post-operative period. Even if your disorder is under control, your symptoms may be magnified, which is why it’s important that your psychologist be involved every step of the way.
Learn more about the psychological impact of cosmetic surgery and how to be prepared for it by reading, “Making the Cut” available for purchase on Amazon.
In a previous post I discussed the importance of receiving quality care, and that
you’ll ultimately get what you pay for. I include a detailed average price list for all
common procedures in my book, “Making the Cut.” Your quote might be slightly
higher or lower, but a warning sign is if something is much lower than the
There are a lot of people doing cosmetic surgery today, especially in the United
States, who have not been trained appropriately. Many have learned how to do
these types of procedure over a weekend course! Weekend courses do not train
doctors to do these procedures correctly or handle the complications that might
occur afterward. So, if your doctor’s quote is significantly cheaper than what you
see here, you’re going to want to ask why. Just as with anything else, if the price
sounds too good to be true, there’s usually a (bad) reason behind it.
Make sure you can answer yes to all of these questions before you proceed:
Make the best choice for your cosmetic procedures. Learn ways make the best choice in surgeon by getting your copy of, “Making the Cut” available for purchase on Amazon.
In my previous post I addressed the fact that being a smoker is essentially a
deal-breaker for most plastic surgeons when a patient is looking to move forward
with a procedure. Read that post to understand some of the reasons why.
Is there any way to work around this if cosmetic surgery is really what you
The best-case scenario is to quit smoking completely before you have surgery of
any kind. That’s the best strategy for getting you safely through surgery, the
recovery process, and for your overall health. But even if you’re not going to quit
entirely, we tell our patients that they must give up smoking for at least four
weeks before the procedure so that most of the deleterious effects of smoking
have time to reverse themselves. You must also stay off cigarettes for at least
four to six weeks after surgery so that your skin receives enough blood supply to
After six weeks, your incisions should be healed, but if you want the scar to look
its best, you should stop smoking cigarettes for the remainder of the healing
process. Your scar is continually healing for up to a year or longer after surgery.
Due to a lack of oxygen being delivered to the area that is healing, the scar could
end up looking worse than it would have if you hadn’t smoked.
It’s Really That Important…
Smoking before surgery is such an important issue, and the effects can be so
damaging that we can’t just take the patients’ word that they’ve stayed away from
cigarettes for the minimum amount of time. Unfortunately, sometimes, people will
mislead their doctors so they can still have the surgery they want. In our practice,
we use a urine test called the cotinine test to tell us whether there’s still nicotine
in a person’s body. Nicotine from one cigarette can stay in the body for up to a week or longer and can be detected by this test. If a patient has a positive cotinine test, we will cancel the procedure.
The best choice for you and your health is to quit. Learn effective ways to
overcome this habit and prepare for the body you want by getting your copy of, “Making the Cut” available for purchase on Amazon.
Most plastic surgeons will tell you that smoking is a deal breaker when it comes
to having a cosmetic procedure. Why? Smoking anything with nicotine slows
healing tremendously and increases the risk of scarring and infection, as well as
Smoking also makes the anesthesia for the surgery itself more difficult because
anesthesiologists have a harder time maintaining tight control of your vitals.
Postoperative pain control is also more difficult in smokers.
Recovering from the “Flap”
Although smoking is considered bad for any kind of plastic surgery, it is
especially harmful for procedures requiring a “flap.” A flap is raised when you are
having a procedure involving removal of skin. Raising a flap means that we’re
actually lifting skin and pulling it tight and then sewing it back together.
The reason this is important is because when we raise a flap, we’re
disconnecting blood vessels from underneath the flap so we can move the skin.
When we disconnect blood vessels, we’re relying on the other blood vessels that
are traveling long distances to that same skin to provide healing oxygen to the
Skin: Your Largest Living Organ
It is important to know that even though the skin is the biggest organ in the body,
it has some of the smallest blood vessels in the body. You can see proof of the
effect of smoking on skin as smoker’s age. They get wrinkles a lot faster, and
their skin looks thin and crepey. That’s because, over many years, smoking has
decreased the blood supply to the skin, and without years of adequate blood
supply, the skin looks damaged and older at a much earlier age.
Patients who smoke are at an increased risk for skin necrosis, which is when
areas of skin actually die and turn black. Necrosis of the skin (dying skin) is a
difficult problem to deal with after surgery and increases the recovery time
significantly. It causes scarring and infections and can, sometimes, lead to
If you’re smoker, learn how you can prepare yourself to undergo surgery by
getting your own copy of my book, “Making the Cut” available for purchase on Amazon. I’ll also touch on this in my next blog post.