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What Is the Plastic Surgery Process and Healing Time?

Here's What to Know About Recovering From Plastic Surgery, According to an Expert

Cosmetic breast surgery. Cosmetic surgeon applying a protective bandage round the client's breasts after surgery.

If you've ever considered getting plastic surgery, one major question you may have had is what your recovery process might look like. Will it be painful? Will you be left with a scar? And just how long will it take for your body to heal? Understandably, there are a ton of questions to be had, and since there's evidence showing that the public's perception of plastic surgery is shifting — and demand for procedures amid the pandemic is up — we can't think of a better time to get some answers.

Whether you plan on going under the knife at any point in the future or if you're just curious, read ahead for more information on what you should know about the post-plastic surgery healing process.

How Long Does It Take to Heal From Plastic Surgery?

The length of your healing process will depend on what kind of procedure you're recovering from, but generally speaking, you can expect it to take in the ballpark of two months.

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"The natural process of wound healing takes six to eight weeks for complete healing in a healthy patient," Constance M. Chen, MD, told POPSUGAR. "Often, people may feel fairly normal by one month, but there is still underlying wound healing happening even if someone feels great. Thus, it is important to take things easy to avoid stressing the surgical site for the best results."

Your lifestyle or any underlying issues you may have can also play a role in how long it takes you to heal. For example, according to Dr. Chen, smokers, diabetics, and people with a body mass index (BMI) over 30 are more prone to wound healing problems, so in those cases it may take a bit longer to heal post-operation.

How Can I Make My Recovery Process Go as Smoothly as Possible?

One thing Dr. Chen stresses when giving patients post-op advice is the importance of nutrition and a good diet after surgery. "After surgery, many people may have decreased appetite or even nausea, but they need about two times the amount of calories as normal to heal properly," she said. "Pre-surgical preparation by optimizing nutrition, weight, and overall health will help your body get in the best shape for healing."

Additionally, having a friend, family member, or roommate help out with taking care of you may also make things easier, as well as having dedicated post-op clothing and supplies available (think topical ointments and surgical tape) in the event that you feel any discomfort.

How Can I Make Sure My Post-Surgery Scars Heal Properly?

The best way to make sure your post-op scars heal properly is to keep them clean, which you can do that with soap and water. Once the scars have healed completely and there are no scabs, Dr. Chen recommends using silicone strips and massageing your scars to flatten and lighten them.

Much like you would a tattoo, you should also keep your scars out of direct sunlight as much as you possibly can since the tissue can burn more easily. "If the scar must be exposed to direct sunlight, then use a mechanical sunblock like zinc or titanium oxide for the best possible protection," Dr. Chen said.

Image Source: Getty / Ian Hooton
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