A smooth and uneventful recovery is the goal of every plastic surgery patient (and their surgeon). When patients ask me for tips on how to improve their recovery, I tell them that a healthy lifestyle is the first step. Many of the measures I recommend for an improved recovery apply to general health as well:
Stop smoking – Smoking is one of the worst things you can do in terms of your health and your plastic surgery recovery. Most plastic surgeons will require that you stop smoking for at least 4 to 6 weeks before and after surgery. Nicotine constricts the blood vessels, and carbon monoxide in smoke blocks oxygen delivery in tissues, which puts smokers at increased risk for anesthesia-related complications, prolonged wound healing, infection, pulmonary problems, and a host of other concerns.
Protect your skin from the sun – You should be protecting your skin from the damaging rays of the sun regardless of whether or not you’re planning plastic surgery. Skin that has been shielded from the sun remains more youthful, elastic, and resilient, allowing for a better surgical outcome, especially for procedures such as liposuction. My Phoenix patients all get a clear warning that tanning after plastic surgery can cause their scars to darken and their skin to lose elasticity.
Eat right and maintain a healthy weight – A diet rich in lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains keeps the body functioning at a higher level. The nutrients in these foods help to support the immune system and speed the healing process. Drinking plenty of water and eating foods high in fiber can help with digestion, which is sometimes affected by pain medication. A nutritious diet should also help you stay at a healthy weight, which is essential to maintaining your results.