By Dr. Philip Solomon and Nancie Heiber

This warm season offers time to relax and recover after facial plastic surgery.

Summer is a time to slow down and go on vacation, making it an excellent time to book cosmetic surgery. Hunkering down at a cottage or in our own backyards offers us privacy for healing. Dr. Philip Solomon, MD, FRCSC, Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgeon, practicing Facial Plastic Surgery in Toronto, explains.

Dr. Solomon, how much time is normally needed for recovery after a facelift?

Recovery time varies among patients depending on their tissue and age, but generally, patients usually need two weeks to recover and often feel comfortable socializing three to four weeks post-op. We have many patients who are teachers or snow birds who prefer summer for surgery so they can relax at home or at the cottage.

What is the recovery time for rhinoplasty surgery and are there other treatments that also require downtime?

Rhinoplasty surgery often requires a cast on the nose for seven to 10 days, so most people typically take that length of time away from work or school. Summer is our busiest time for rhinoplasty surgery as students (high school and university), professors and seasonal workers have time off to recover.

To optimize healing, we recommend patients refrain from strenuous exercise for the first four weeks as it can delay healing. However, we encourage enjoyment of the outdoors and nice weather with a casual walk in the first few weeks. Wearing SFP sunscreen is very important at this stage as well, as the nose can still be numb in the early weeks and could be susceptible to burning and additional inflammation.

Most facial plastic surgical procedures have downtime. Eyelid surgery, facial implants and brow procedures require the same healing protocol for the first few weeks post-op.

What advice do you give your patients that helps them to heal well and quickly? How do diet and exercise contribute to recovery?

Prior to surgery and two weeks following, we ask that they avoid smoking, vaping, alcohol and blood-thinning medication and supplements, all of which can impact recovery. Sleeping slightly elevated and avoiding salty food can help. Patients can also take a supplement called arnica and drink pure pineapple juice, both of which have anti-inflammatory properties. We also recommend oxygen therapy, which is a wound-healing protocol that can be helpful with facelift surgery. Silicone scar gel can improve the appearance of surgical scars as they heal.

What do you advise your post-surgical patients vis-a-vis exposure to sunlight?

It’s a must to avoid excess sun exposure, especially after laser resurfacing; so, we prefer patients do laser resurfacing off-season. We recommend all our surgical patients wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen when outdoors, which is best for anyone, regardless of surgery. It’s one of the best anti-aging practices.

In your practice, is summer the season in which patients are more likely to book surgeries?

Our practice is busy year-round. However, the busier seasons tend to involve work/school vacation time. Generally, June, July, August and December, January and February are the peak seasons for cosmetic surgery.