Alcohol & Plastic Surgery: Just Say No

It can be a hard thing to give up your nightly glass of wine with dinner, or to say no to a cocktail with friends after work—but if you have a plastic surgery procedure coming up, you should think long and hard before having a drink. Here’s why:

Do you remember when I told you that nicotine is a vasoconstrictor (meaning it makes your blood vessels close up)? Well, alcohol is just the opposite—it’s a vasodilator—and that’s not a good thing, either, because it makes your blood vessels open up and flood your surface tissues.  This is bad for two reasons: 1)  this process takes blood away from your vital organs (like your brain and heart), and 2) it causes your body to swell. You’ll be swollen enough after surgery without adding to it with booze!

Alcohol also affects the blood itself—it makes blood platelets less active, and therefore less able to coagulate. Because of this, drinking before and after surgery puts you at greater risk for post-operative bleeding, and make your healing process take longer than it would if you didn’t have any alcohol in your system.

Another big concern with surgery is dehydration—and since it’s a diuretic (it increases your rate of urine formation, making you pee more often than you should), alcohol is a big culprit in this arena. You’ll already be dehydrated after surgery; if you add to that by drinking alcohol before or after your procedure, you’ll feel absolutely awful in the days that follow.

The bottom line? Avoid alcohol as much as possible in the weeks before and after cosmetic surgery. If you slip and have one drink a couple of days before surgery, you’ll probably be fine—but consuming alcohol the night before or immediately after your surgery is asking for trouble!