5 min read

Faster Healing Tips For Cosmetic & Plastic SurgerySurgery

07 May

For many people the deciding factor on whether to have cosmetic surgery is the recovery period.  One of the most common questions we receive is how long will it take to get back to my routine.  The following tips will assist with the healing process to get back into your normal routine as soon as possible.

Before Surgery:

1.    Eat well, keep hydrated, exercise.    Overall good health means you will bounce back faster after surgery.

2.    Don't stress too much in the lead up to your surgery.    Its ok to be nervous but make sure there is also a measure of excitement.

3.    Make sure your surgeon and the anaesthetist know about any medications or medical conditions you have.

4.    Set up where you will recover with everything you might need after your surgery.    ie pillows, comfy clothes, dvd's, books, audiobooks, tissues, lip balm, etc.

5.    Organise someone to collect you from the hospital and stay with you until you are able to fully care for yourself.    Organise someone to look after any pets or children during your first few days of recovery.

6.    Read your surgery instructions carefully.

7.    Stay away from alcohol, smoking and drugs.


After Surgery:

1.   Carefully follow the directions given by your Surgeon

It might be tempting to look to Doctor Google following your surgery.  Only your surgeon knows what is best and right for you personally. If you have any questions, give them a call.   Most surgeons issue post surgery instructions. Check this document as you might find the answer to your question there.

2. Have patience

The body takes time to heal and healing times are not an exact science, each person recovers differently based on environment, lifestyle and genetics.   You may not heal as well as the next person or you may heal faster than the next person.   

Swelling, bruising and skin discolouration from cosmetic surgery can last for weeks. Sometimes it takes months to recover complete.   For example, the lifecycle of a scar is 12 months.   During that 12 months the scar will change colour, reduce in size and only achieve its final appearance at the 12 month mark. Soft tissue also takes time to settle. Inflammation has to subside before you can see the final results. Talk to your surgeon about your concerns and give your body time to heal.

3. Relax and take things easy

Stress does not speed up healing and can take a toll. Your recovery period should be stress free, a time to really look after yourself.   

Take this time to care for you.    Consider reading, listening to relaxing music, aromatherapy, yoga (but no vigorous moves) or meditation to help bring down stress levels. 

Research has shown that people who live near trees and parks have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol than those who live in a ‘concrete jungle’. A study from Scotland showed that a stroll through a leafy park could ease brain fatigue. You might find a walk in the park relaxing, but remember to shield your wounds from the elements.    Pop sunglasses on when you go out if you are recovering from eyelid surgery.

4.   Protect yourself from the sun and the elements

Protect your wounds from the sun, wind and dust and other pollutants.  Exposure to the sun will cause skin damage, inflammation or discolouration at the incision site and result in a bad scar. Wear sunglasses, hats or other protection. Limit the time you spend outside and when you do go outside apply SPF 30+.   Avoid swimming or other high risk activities that could expose your wounds.

5. Avoid strenuous exercise and work tasks

Avoid strenuous activities for 4-6 weeks after surgery (depending on the procedure). These include activities that increase your heart rate and blood pressure.   It is important to avoid these as some of the blood vessels that have sealed can be forced open causing bleeding and bruising.

Be careful around pets and kids. After a tummy tuck or a mummy makeover lifting a toddler or a heavy handbag could hamper recovery.

Before you return to work or vigorous exercise, be sure to tell your surgeon what your job/exercise routine involves. What you do will influence when it’s safe to return to normal work/exercise. How your recovery progresses will also be a factor.

6. Watch what you eat

Healing requires extra protein and calories. Bump up your protein intake and eat foods rich in vitamins A and C.

Check with your surgeon before using health food supplements as some contain elements that can harm you and slow the healing process - the opposite of what you are trying to achieve.

7. Drink lots of water

Water helps cleanse the body and keep it healthy. Drink at least eight glasses of water per day. Juices, tea, coffee and sodas don't count.

8. Stay away from alcohol, drugs and tobacco

These slow down the healing process and cause unnecessary complications.

Alcohol suppresses your immune system and makes healing more difficult. It has a dehydrating effect and can lead to bleeding.

Don't smoke, and avoid exposure to second hand smoke as well. Tobacco smoke limits the oxygen that reaches your body's cells. Your cells need oxygen to heal.

Avoid recreational and prescription drugs; even anabolic steroids used in muscle building and corticosteroids used to fight inflammation can cause problems. Some prescription drugs and supplements can increase the risk of bleeding. Recreational drugs can increase your need for pain medications, and steroids could affect how your incisions heal.

Follow these steps after cosmetic or plastic surgery to ensure a speedy and uneventful recovery.


As always, no procedure is without risk. A discussion of all potential benefits and complications should be held during consultation with a certified Specialist Plastic Surgeon

If you have any other questions or concerns about plastic surgery or the procedures plastic surgeons perform, send an enquiry on our contact page and we will do our best to help.   


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Dr Naveen Somia MBBS, PhD, FRACS

Written by Dr Naveen Somia MBBS, PhD, FRACS

Dr. Naveen Somia is a Sydney Plastic Surgeon who listens to his patients, understands their problems and works alongside them to help achieve their aesthetic goals by applying his skills and years of experience in Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery. A published author on Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery, Naveen’s blog is aimed at helping you make the right choices and stay safe in your quest to look your personal best.