5 Reasons Alcohol and Plastic Surgery Don’t Mix

K. Mathews on 20 Jan 2015 at 6:00pm

Alcohol and Surgery Don't Mix

You may be tempted to toast a successful plastic surgery by knocking one back at a happy hour, but most doctors wouldn’t recommend it. If you're fresh off the heels of a cosmetic procedure, here are 5 reasons you shouldn’t chase your treatment with alcohol:

1. Alcohol increases swelling

After undergoing a plastic surgery procedure, you want your body to be at its desired size as soon as possible. However, drinking alcohol dilates your blood vessels, causing your body to swell. Alcohol is also dehydrating, which results in your body trying to hold onto its precious water as much as possible. (Yep, that's what accounts for that oh-so-lovely bloating you feel after a wild night with your friends.) Your nose is especially susceptible to alcohol-related swelling following rhinoplasty, so you’ll have to make a choice between your appearance and your buzz.

2. Alcohol boosts bleeding

All invasive surgeries require a recovery period, and alcohol only tends to impede this process. Alcohol thins the blood, putting post-op patients at greater risk for bleeding and prolonged recovery.

3. Alcohol leaves you susceptible to pain

While many turn to booze to cope with emotional pain, it doesn’t work the same with the physical pain following cosmetic surgery. According to Memphis plastic surgeon Dr. Peter Aldea, frequent drinkers “may find that pain medications don't work as well and don't last as long as they would otherwise.”

4. Alcohol may make your medications dangerous

More than alcohol just dulling a medication’s effects, Scottsdale plastic surgeon Dr. Steven Turkelaub warns that booze “can interact with certain medications in ways that can be detrimental and even dangerous.” Side effects to mixing alcohol with medication include nausea, vomiting, headaches, drowsiness, fainting, and loss of coordination. It can also put you at risk for internal bleeding, heart problems, and difficulty breathing. Prioritize the prescription bottle over the wine bottle.

5. Alcohol dries out your skin

What’s the use in having surgery to improve your confidence only to be marred with unattractive skin? Alcohol interferes with the hormone that regulates how much urine you produce. For each shot of alcohol you consume, your kidneys create about four more ounces of urine than your body normally would. This causes your body to flush more water, which in turn leads to dehydration and drier skin. (And no, drinking that much extra in water doesn't counteract the effects. Sorry, that's just science for ya.) For optimal results, many doctors recommend abstaining from alcohol for at least two weeks leading up to and following surgery, though this time-frame varies depending on the procedure.

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