Cosmetic Surgery FAQs: Why should I avoid alcohol pre- and post-op?

Alcohol and cosmetic surgery

Dry January began as a campaign created and led by Alcohol Change UK more than a decade ago and has now become a global phenomenon as more and more people appreciate the benefits of abstaining from alcohol for January.

In the first week or so, the benefits aren’t always evident. You might find it harder to fall asleep initially, you may experience hangover-like symptoms because of mild dehydration, and you may start craving the sugar you are no longer getting from your alcoholic drinks.

But, by this point, you should have begun to feel sharper and more energised and be experiencing the myriad of health benefits that come with abstaining from alcohol. So, it may come as no surprise that we will advise you not to drink in the run-up to your cosmetic surgery procedure.

In our latest blog, we look at how alcohol consumption before and after surgery can cause complications.

Why should I avoid drinking alcohol before my cosmetic surgery procedure?

  1. Alcohol thins the blood: you will be advised not to drink any alcohol for a minimum of 48 hours before your surgery. All types of cosmetic surgery involve an incision, and there will be some blood loss. If your blood isn’t clotting as normal, it can be harder to stop any unexpected excessive bleeding.
  2. Alcohol can affect the anaesthetic or sedation that is used: alcohol can impact the effectiveness of any medication used by the anaesthetist. It can make it difficult for them to estimate the correct dosage.
  3. Alcohol dries out the skin: cosmetic surgery procedures such as a tummy tuck or facelift involve the surgeon removing excess tissue and then redraping the skin to your new contours. Dehydrated skin can make this more challenging to do and possibly worsen scarring.

Why is it best to abstain from drinking alcohol after my cosmetic surgery procedure?

  1. Alcohol can delay the healing process: we advise you to wait at least two weeks after your cosmetic surgery or hair transplant procedure. Partly, this is because alcohol can delay your healing, and this, in turn, can affect your results.
  2. Alcohol can increase the risk of complications: excessive bleeding and infections after surgery are more likely to be a problem.
  3. Alcohol increases swelling: some swelling is to be expected after any invasive procedure, but alcohol exacerbates this as it widens your blood vessels. The nose is very vascular and prone to alcohol-related swelling, so definitely avoid it after a rhinoplasty.

Cosmetic surgery is a significant investment of time and money, so it is also important to remember that alcohol consumption can affect your results in the long term, so you may want to think about cutting down or quitting post-procedure. If you’ve undergone Vaser or other body contouring surgery, it is important to maintain a healthy weight and alcohol is full of empty calories and sugar, affects your sleep, and increases food cravings.

And, if you’ve undergone a facelift or other anti-ageing procedure: alcohol results in both skin inflammation and dehydration, deprives the skin of the nutrients it needs to keep your complexion looking as youthful and radiant as possible and causes oxidative damage, which leads to wrinkles and skin sagging.

If you want any advice on how best to prepare for your cosmetic surgery procedure, call 02033 256 533 or email to arrange a consultation with Dr Mooz.