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An upcoming vacation, family event, or significant personal event often becomes the incentive to undergo some form of plastic surgery. Whether it is the consideration of seeing themselves on a beach or wanting to look great at their class reunion, a change from plastic surgery can be very appealing. Often times, however, patients appear not that far from the event and they may not have allowed proper time for recovery.

Recovery from plastic surgery should not be determined by the information one acquires from marketing or promotional information. Such estimated recovery times almost always are optimistically short. And there is a difference between what the doctor says is recovery and when you feel and look fully recovered. Quite frankly, unless the plastic surgeon themselves has been through the procedure, I am not sure I would have confidence as to their estimates.

When one is planning plastic surgery with an eye towards an upcoming event, it is best to plan for longer than one thinks to recover. Based on my Indianapolis plastic surgery practice experience, here are some estimated recovery times for common ‘event-oriented’ procedures. In giving these estimates, I am focusing on full recovery. This means when you have no bruising or swelling and feel 100% yourself without feeling restricted for even strenuous physical activities.

Botox – One week. It often takes at least three to five days before Botox ‘kicks’ in.

Injectable Fillers – One day. While the results of filler treatments are immediate, some mild redness of the treated areas may be apparent for a few hours.

Breast Augmentation – Two to four weeks. While you be fine to attend that wedding reception or family reunion in a week, being on the beach fully recovered will take up to three weeks.

Body Liposuction – Four to six weeks. Because of the time it takes for bruising and swelling to go down, a month is the minimum time before going on vacation. If your event involves something physical (e.g., hiking, diving), then you should allow at least six weeks.

Tummy Tuck – Six to eight weeks. Major trunk reshaping affects the central core of your body which you use for most activities. If you want to be completely comfortable for any activity, allow two months before traveling if your destination requires any physical exertion.

Blepharoplasty – Three weeks. The swelling and bruising from eyelid surgery persist longer than you think. Four weeks is ideal, but three weeks will not make you look like you have had recent surgery.

Facelift – Three weeks. In an isolated facelift (necklift), you will look almost back to normal in under a mont. If you have had the more complete facial rejuvenation (facelift, eyelifts, browlift, etc), four to six weeks is more realistic.

These estimates are based on the concept of undergoing plastic surgery so that you are fully recovered. Many patients will use a ‘vacation’ or a respite to recover from the procedure. In that case, one can usually leave within days and undergo much of their recovery there.   

Barry L. Eppley, M.D., D.M.D.

Indianapolis, Indiana

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