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How Long Before Plastic Surgery Should I Stop Drinking Alcohol?

Undergoing plastic surgery is a significant decision that requires careful preparation. From selecting a skilled surgeon to understanding your procedure(s) of interest, every aspect contributes to a successful outcome. One often overlooked but crucial factor in this process is alcohol consumption. Knowing when to halt your alcohol intake before plastic surgery can play a pivotal role in ensuring your safety and promoting a more efficient recovery.

Alcohol can have varying impacts on the body, and its interactions with anesthesia and the body’s healing response can be more complex than meets the eye. As such, our board-certified Austin plastic surgeon, Steven Holzman, MD, advises patients to stop consuming alcohol at least 1-2 weeks before their scheduled surgery date. 

Some of the ways in which alcohol consumption can impact your surgery and healing process include:

Anesthesia and Medication Interactions

Anesthesia is an important aspect of most surgical procedures, as it ensures patients remain pain-free during surgery. However, alcohol can interact with anesthesia and other medications, potentially leading to complications. Specifically, alcohol can enhance the sedative effects of anesthesia, causing an increased risk of respiratory depression, slower recovery from anesthesia, and even heightened chances of postoperative nausea and vomiting.

Slower Post-Operative Healing

Generally, the ideal way to go into surgery is in a calm, hydrated, and anti-inflammatory state. Alcohol consumption can weaken the immune system, cause dehydration, promote inflammation, and generally delay the body’s ability to heal post-surgery. By abstaining from alcohol before the procedure, you can help your body’s natural healing mechanisms work more efficiently and optimize your recovery. 

Scarring and Infection Risk

Healthy, hydrated skin and tissues with good blood flow are better equipped to heal from surgical incisions. Alcohol can lead to dehydration, dry skin, and blood thinning, all of which increase the risk of improper healing and poor scarring. 

Ultimately, it’s crucial to recognize that your body’s response to alcohol can impact your surgical experience. For the best possible outcome, Dr. Holzman recommends that—in addition to abstaining from alcohol—patients focus on staying hydrated and consuming a protein-rich diet to ensure their body is equipped with the essential nutrition it needs for a safe and efficient recovery.  

Contact Holzman Plastic Surgery today to schedule a consultation.