10 Things Plastic Surgeons Wish You Would Stop Doing After Surgery

10 Things Plastic Surgeons Wish You Would Stop Doing After Surgery featured image
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When it comes to aesthetic surgery, any reputable plastic surgeon will tell you that good results rely heavily on the prep and the ever-important “post” steps, both of which are in the hands—and the attentive ears—of the patient. “You can pretty much sum it up in one sentence,” says La Jolla, CA plastic surgeon Robert Singer, MD: “You are a participant in your own care and the single-most important thing you can do is to follow your surgeon’s instructions pre- and post-op. You can’t speed up your results, but you can significantly slow them down.” Here are some other common missteps experts say stand in the way of the healing process:

Over Exercising

It’s a common misconception that being overly active helps you recover quickly, says New York plastic surgeon Daniel Y. Maman, MD. “I ask that my patients follow my activity restrictions closely. We do this operation once and we want it to heal perfectly.”

Trying to Speed Things Up
Also hitting the “too much, too soon” category comes this sage piece of advice from New York facial plastic surgeon Konstantin Vasyukevich, MD: “I’ve learned over the years that many people whose recovery took longer than expected brought it upon themselves by trying to heal too quickly,” he says. “One must remember that too much of a good thing is not always better. Oftentimes, patients are doing the right thing—but doing it in a way that’s over-the-top: placing bandages overly tight, using excessive heat, and practicing forceful massage will all result in healing delays and could potentially even affect the final result. Remember: Whatever you do, you should do so in moderation.”

Looking in the Mirror Too Much

This is a tricky one, but Reno, NV plastic surgeon Tiffany D. McCormack, MD says it’s something she strongly recommends: “Stop analyzing yourself in the mirror before things are healed and settled! Swelling will go down, bruising will go away, scars will lighten…things will change!”

Making Predictions

In line with the looking theme, Westborough, MA facial plastic surgeon Min S. Ahn, MD says his best piece of advice is to not try and predict whether the final result of the surgery will be good in the first couple of weeks. “It’s much too early and all it does is create anxiety.”

Sleeping With Pets

Might sound anti-social, but Eugene, OR plastic surgeon Mark Jewell, MD says it’s smart to skip certain activities with your furry friends post-surgery. “Sleeping in the same bed with your pets is one of my major annoyances after a procedure,” he says. “It can up your risk of infection.”

…And Snuggling With Them, Too

“I wish patients would stop letting their pets walk or sleep on their pillows, as well as kiss or lick their faces after surgery,” says Encino, CA plastic surgeon George Sanders, MD. “We see a significant number of infections following such outbursts of affection!”


You’ve probably heard this one before, and it’s not just for the numerous overall health reasons we all know: According to the Aesthetic Society, smoking has a negative effect on wound-healing and, because of that, many plastic surgeons are unwilling to perform cosmetic surgery procedures in patients who smoke. And that goes for any kind of nicotine, including vaping, stresses Tijuana, MX plastic surgeon Juan Carols Fuentes, MD.

Following Social Media

Surprisingly, this no-no doesn’t strike down filters, but actual aesthetic-focused content posted on Instagram. “Stop getting your post-surgical ‘instructions’ from other’s people’s social media feeds,” advises Houston plastic surgeon German Newall, MD. “Only the plastic surgeon who operated on you can know your specific case and give you proper instructions.”

Taking in the Sun
While the Aesthetic Society strongly recommends “life-long” sun protection, the society is quick to recommend proper SPF protection and staying out of the sun whenever possible to minimize photo-damage and “maintain your rejuvenated appearance.”

Icing Out
Nashville plastic surgeon Daniel Hatef, MD says his biggest “do not do this” wish is something rather off-the-radar: “Do NOT ice your breasts after breast augmentation! This is something we have to specifically tell patients, because we have seen two ice burns post breast aug. Thankfully, both patients recovered, but it took months before they looked normal and one of the patients required a few laser treatments and a lot of scar therapy.”

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