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Why can't you drink alcohol pre and post-op?

We all love an after work tipple or a social cocktail at the weekend but why is it so important to stop drinking alcohol before and after surgery? With the desire to go out and celebrate your new found confidence and amazing results, you may want to think again after reading the below, or at least delay your plans for now.

March 14th, 2019 |Ask an Expert

Will alcohol affect my cosmetic surgery results?

It is important not to drink alcohol prior to your cosmetic surgery procedure (or any surgical procedure) as it can and cause complications and can have a serious impact on the final results and the way you heal. MYA advise not to drink alcohol for a minimum 48 hours before your surgery, unless you drink more than 2-3 drinks daily. If this is the case, you need to abstain for 2 weeks prior. This may vary given your chosen surgeon, procedure or medical history.

Why you shouldn't drink alcohol before surgery:

1. Alcohol thins your blood

Alcohol naturally thins your blood. All types of invasive cosmetic surgery will involve some form of blood loss as there will be an incision made. Most cosmetic surgeons will refuse to perform surgery on someone who has been drinking alcohol because the thinned blood makes it harder to stop any unexpected excessive bleeding during surgery. Since safety is paramount a surgeon will not risk your health to operate on you if you have alcohol in your system.

2. Alcohol dries out your skin

Alcohol, especially when consumed in excess or over a prolonged period of time, can dry out your skin. This can then result in cracks appearing in your skin. If you are having a procedure where the skin is stretched like a breast enlargement, tummy tuck or face lift, then dry & cracked skin will make it harder for the surgeon to stitch, staple or glue the skin together. This results in a less than appealing result and possibly unattractive scarring.

3. Alcohol affects anaesthetic/sedatives

For the majority of cosmetic surgery procedures, you will require a general anaesthetic. Drinking alcohol can result in serious problems for the anaesthetist as they will be unable to correctly estimate the dose required to put you under (asleep) because alcohol reduces the effectiveness of medication used to do so. An anaesthetist has the ability to cancel your procedure on the day if they believe you've been drinking.

Why you shouldn't drink alcohol after surgery:

Drinking after cosmetic surgery can be just as serious as drinking before surgery. MYA strongly advise that you wait up to 2 weeks before drinking alcohol although this may vary depending on your procedure, medical history or surgeon's preference.

1. Alcohol can result in delayed healing

Generally, drinking alcohol after your procedure will affect your recovery rate and will thin your blood. The thinning of your blood can cause additional problems such as prolonged bleeding or infections, as alcohol can reduce the effectiveness of your autoimmune system.

2. Alcohol can increase the risk of swelling

Drinking alcohol widens your blood vessels and this can cause swelling, which could result in additional complications. If you have had a rhinoplasty (nose job) procedure, drinking alcohol after it can be very serious as the nose is extremely susceptible to alcohol-related swelling. If your nose swells, it will be uncomfortable and possibly painful; it will also take longer for you to recuperate and see your final result.

3. Alcohol may make your medication dangerous

Following a cosmetic surgery procedure you are often prescribed antibiotics and pain killers. The side effects of mixing alcohol with medication can include nausea, vomiting, headaches, drowsiness, fainting, and loss of coordination. It can also put you at risk for internal bleeding, heart problems and difficulty breathing.

Should you have any questions or concerns regarding the points brought up in this blog please contact your local MYA clinic nurse.


How long after surgery can you drink alcohol?

MYA recommend that patients abstain from alcohol during their recovery following any cosmetic surgery procedure. it is important to fuel your body with lots of nutrients and keep yourself hydrated to aid with healing and ensure the best possible result. MYA strongly advise patients to wait 2 weeks post-op before consuming alcohol. Although, this may vary depending on your procedure, personal medical history or surgeon's preference and will be discussed with your MYA clinical team.

If you have any questions concerning your alcohol intake, please contact your MYA clinical team. 

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