How Alcohol Affects Plastic Surgery Results

March 09, 2020
A woman drinking white wine

A little drink every now and then is fine, but too much alcohol is bound to cause problems. We’re not just talking about your ability to drive or go about your daily life either. Alcohol can have a negative impact on your ability to heal from a cosmetic plastic surgery procedure. It makes side effects worse, and could lead to an increased risk of complications.

This is why Dr. Marcus H. Crawford tells all of his Atlanta and Marietta, GA plastic surgery patients to avoid consuming alcohol in the lead up to their procedure and during the recovery process. Let’s go over some of the reasons why you should’t drink after a cosmetic surgery procedure.

Problems Caused by Alcohol After Plastic Surgery

Drinking alcoholic beverages prior to surgery or during the recovery process can lead to the following post-op complications.

Increased Swelling

Alcohol widens blood vessels, which can increase the amount of swelling patients experience. Too much swelling could result in some serious health issues as you heal.

Post-Surgical Bleeding

Drinking alcoholic beverages will thin out the blood, which can make post-op bleeding a greater issue. If the incision sites cannot clot and heal properly, it could cause problems with healing times and infection.


Having a drink may seem refreshing, but alcohol actually has a negative effect on hydration. It’s important to stay properly hydrated after surgery to aid with the recovery process.


Your body needs energy to function properly. If you drink after surgery, you’re bound to experience higher levels of fatigue. This can result in slower healing times and other issues.

Soreness and Discomfort

While you might expect alcohol to numb the pain after surgery, it can actually make your pain and discomfort worse. Other more serious health problems arise if you mix pain medications with alcohol.

Avoid Alcoholic Beverages in the Lead Up to Surgery

Given all of the potential hazards of drinking, plastic surgery patients are advised to avoid alcohol in the weeks leading up to their procedure. This puts their body in an ideal condition to heal quickly.

Refrain from Alcoholic Beverages After the Procedure

During the recovery process, patients should continue to avoid the use of alcoholic beverages. The same is true of tobacco products after plastic surgery. Focus on getting plenty of rest, staying well hydrated, and eating a healthy diet after plastic surgery.

When Can I Have Alcohol Again?

That can vary from patient to patient.

If you’ve had a relatively minor plastic surgery, you can resume drinking after a few weeks. For more involved cosmetic procedures like a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), you may need to avoid alcohol for several weeks. We will let you know when you can resume various activities during your followup care visits to our practice.

Return to Alcohol Consumption in Moderation

When you do resume having alcoholic beverages, be sure to drink in moderation. You’ll want to take it easy to start before returning to old habits and routines. This will help with the continued healing process, and it can even improve the final results of plastic surgery.

Learn More About Plastic Surgery Recovery

If you would like to learn more about achieving the best results from a cosmetic surgery procedure, be sure to contact a board-certified plastic surgeon. The team at Crawford Plastic Surgery looks forward to your visit and discussing these matters with you.

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