Cosmetic surgery is an investment. Literally speaking, you are investing money into your appearance and accruing confidence as your results take shape. It’s also an investment of time and energy—and you want to make sure your efforts pay off.
Cosmetic surgery procedures boast high patient satisfaction rates, and most patients are thrilled with their results for many years after surgery. However, it’s important to understand that your results require upkeep to stay in shape, and that nothing can fully stop the effects of aging, lifestyle habits, and genetics.
The great news is that there are some things you can do to successfully maintain your results for years to come! Here are some suggestions for maximizing your cosmetic surgery outcomes:
1. A healthy diet & regular exercise are key
Body contouring procedures can transform your curves, providing a more pleasing and proportionate look. While the results may seem magical, the look you see now can only last if you remain at a healthy weight. For instance, fat removal procedures such as liposuction will permanently rid you of targeted fat cells, but if you gain weight, you will see it in other areas as remaining fat cells expand. It’s even more important to keep your weight within a stable range if you’ve had a surgical lifting procedure (such as tummy tuck or body lift)—you’ll want to avoid stretching your skin again and nullifying the improvements you worked hard to achieve.
The best way to maintain body contouring results is to continue exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet. The good news is that sticking to this rule will also help you feel great and improve your overall health, in addition to helping you retain the look you love after surgery.
Pro tip: Cosmetic surgery recovery can be a challenge for active patients, as required recovery time will put a damper on your regular exercise routine. Don’t become discouraged and know that it isn’t abnormal to gain a little weight during your recovery period. Eating the right things and introducing non-strenuous activity when it’s safe can help keep you healthy and make getting back to the gym easier once you’re healed.
2. Good skin practices make a big difference now and later
Immediately after your procedure, proper care makes a big difference in scarring. And as time goes by, great skin care will help your results look as good or better than ever.
First off, scarring is a necessary aspect of many surgeries and while your surgeon will take care to place your incisions where they can be most easily hidden, making sure they heal optimally and fade nicely over time is partially in your hands. First, it is critical to follow any postoperative activity restrictions; these rules will help you avoid straining your scars, which could cause them to become wider or more visible. Secondly, be sure to protect your incisions in the sun, keep the area clean, and use the topical scar care creams and ointments recommended by your doctor.
Later on, the right medical-grade skin care products can help enhance and maintain your cosmetic surgery results, particularly when it comes to facial procedures. Good skin care is so helpful that many surgeons have an aesthetician on staff to guide their patients to the right products for their skin. Even if you have an existing skincare routine, it’s best to ask about your products and see if you should adjust anything going forward.
Pro tip: Follow your surgeon’s aftercare instructions to the letter. There are a number of holistic scar care products on the market making unsubstantiated claims—and some of these can even cause wound healing problems. Save yourself the time, money, and potential harm by only using what is recommended by your cosmetic surgeon.
3. Healthy habits inside & out
What you put in and on your body not only impacts your surgical results, it can make a huge difference in your overall health. For instance, most board certified cosmetic surgeons require patients to quit smoking tobacco for at least a few weeks before and after surgery. Nicotine greatly impacts your body’s ability to heal, resulting in prolonged recovery times and, potentially, complications that can lead to pain, bleeding, and more visible scarring. Excessive alcohol consumption is another pitfall you’ll want to avoid; there are a number of health drawbacks to overdoing it when it comes to drinking.
Pro tip: Be honest with your surgeon about your lifestyle habits. Let him or her know if you smoke, how much you drink, any medications you are on, and even what supplements or vitamins you use both internally and externally. Your surgeon will let you know the steps you should take to prepare for surgery and what to avoid to ensure your results are optimal.
Maintaining lifelong healthy habits after surgery may be easier than you think
The good news is that many patients feel so much better about themselves and are so inspired by their improved appearance that they find extra motivation to maintain healthy habits after a cosmetic procedure. So go ahead and relish your new found confidence and see what it inspires you to do for yourself!