Cosmetic Surgery in Winter: Ensuring a Smooth Recovery


Expert advice from Mr. T K Sankar, Chief Medical Officer for The Harley Medical Group

Mr. T K Sankar, Chief Medical Officer for The Harley Medical Group reveals the key reasons to consider cosmetic surgery in winter and shares his expert advice on optimising recovery after a cosmetic procedure.

Downtime for rest and recovery

Often patients seek cosmetic procedures, such as an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), prior to a summer holiday. However, cosmetic surgery is not a ‘quick fix’ solution, but instead offers a long-term benefit. I advise patients to wait at least six weeks to recover from this type of procedure before travelling. This allows the body to heal and for the patient to have a follow up consultation to confirm if they are fit to travel.

Certain cosmetic procedures are well-suited to the winter months, particularly when it comes to aftercare, rest, and recovery. For example, the winter holidays are a good time to consider more invasive procedures, such as breast augmentations, reductions, or uplifts, which require time off work to rest and recover.

As we are typically more sedentary during winter, it is easier to spend time curled up in the comfort of our own homes or relaxing indoors. This is exactly what is required in the weeks following cosmetic surgery to allow the body to recover.

Strenuous exercise and stretching should be kept to a minimum for at least six weeks post operation, as vigorous movement can cause stitches to open, and can increase bruising, bleeding, and inflammation through elevating your blood pressure.

Reduced sun exposure

Following a cosmetic procedure, it is important to avoid unnecessary sun exposure to the operated area and scars and use a high factor sunscreen to protect the skin and prevent unwanted sunburn. This is particularly the case after procedures such as laser resurfacing or a facelift, as the skin on the face is more delicate. In winter, this tends to be easier for patients, due to the limited sun exposure during these months.

Conceal the side effects

Cosmetic surgery is often accompanied by visible signs, including dressings, redness, swelling, sutures, and bruising. For those who prefer to keep their cosmetic surgery discreet, winter apparel such as hats, scarves, and chunky sweaters can help to conceal obvious signs of a surgical procedure. In addition, by having the surgery during winter, the scars will have plenty of time to heal and fade in the run up to summer, when they are likely to be more exposed.

Another advantage associated with the cooler temperatures is that recovery essentials, such as compression garments and bandages, are much more comfortable to wear as prescribed.

Optimising recovery

If a patient is considering any cosmetic procedure – whether it’s a breast augmentation, liposuction, tummy tuck or face surgery - it is important to remember that it will take some time to recover. However, there are some simple steps that can be taken to aid the healing process.

First and foremost, it is vital to stay well-hydrated after surgery, drinking two - three litres of water per day, depending on your weight. This helps the body to heal faster and remove waste materials, such as anaesthesia and pain medication, which may lead to constipation. Water also helps the blood to transport nutrients to the wound site.

To prevent infection at the wound site, hands should be washed often, especially if cleaning the incision or changing surgical dressings. It is important to inspect any incisions regularly to check for signs of infection or allergies. With certain procedures, such as breast surgery, it is also preferable to take showers instead of a bath and avoid going swimming for at least six weeks post op.

Finally, a healthy diet is important to promote healing and help the body to fight off infection and boost energy and strength. This should include healthy fats, which are high in vitamin E, to help reduce the appearance of scars. These can be found in foods such as nuts, olive oil, avocados, and oily fish. Berries, such as cranberries, blueberries, and blackberries, which are high in antioxidants are also a good choice as they rebuild collagen and help the body to heal.

Ultimately, choosing to undergo a cosmetic procedure is a big decision – at any season. For those considering surgery, it is important to seek a consultation with a highly skilled aesthetics surgeon who is registered with the General Medical Council’s Specialist Register, and who can provide expert advice and guidance on what procedure is best suited and which will provide the best results.

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About The Harley Medical Group

The Harley Medical Group is one of the UK’s leading cosmetic groups specialising in cosmetic surgery, facial treatments, body treatments, skin peels and advance skincare products.

As a group we are committed to the highest standards in delivering medical procedures and aftercare, with our founded on care approach at the heart of everything we do.

The group has clinics across the UK, including London (Harley Street, Chiswick, Wimbledon and Liverpool Street) Watford, Marlow, Birmingham, Leeds, Brighton, Bristol, Manchester, Nottingham, Southampton, Cardiff, Chelmsford, Northampton, Maidstone, and Liverpool.

A dedicated strong team of nurses, surgeons, and doctors along with their commitment to each and every patient is one of the Group’s greatest assets. The Group’s primary goal is to look after all patients, offering the highest standards of care at all times.

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Posted December 16, 2021
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