Why you shouldn’t drink alcohol before and after surgery

Prior to undergoing any cosmetic surgery procedure, your surgeon will advise you to stop consuming any alcoholic beverages. Most procedures will require you to stop drinking at least 48 hours prior to surgery and to avoid drinking alcohol during your recovery period.

But why exactly shouldn’t you drink alcohol before and after surgery?

Alcohol consumption prior to and after surgery can cause numerous complications. This includes:

1. Complications with the anaesthetic

If you are having an invasive procedure, you will be given a general anaesthetic. At Centre for Surgery, this is known as ClearSleep™. Prior to surgery, the anaesthetist will need to estimate the correct dosage to give you. Alcohol can reduce the effectiveness of the anaesthetic; if you have been drinking, the anaesthetist may not have given you enough sedatives.

If you have been drinking, the anaesthetist and the surgeon have the right to cancel your surgery, as they may consider it to be too unsafe to proceed.

2. Blood-thinning

If you are undergoing an invasive procedure, chances are there will be some blood loss. To avoid excessive blood loss, it’s particularly important that your blood clots as it normally does. However, alcohol acts as a blood thinner and will impact how effectively your blood can clot. This can cause serious problems, particularly if something does go wrong during your procedure.

This can also cause problems after your procedure. Invasive procedures will involve an incision which will take time to heal after surgery. Having alcohol in your system can result in the wound not healing properly, which can lead to further complications, such as scarring or wound infection.

3. Drying your skin

Many people choose to undergo facial and skin procedures to help turn back the clock and rejuvenate their face. It’s important to keep in mind that all your hard work to look younger can be undone by alcohol. Alcohol, especially when consumed in excess, can cause your skin to dehydrate and dry out. If your skin is too dry, cracks may even appear. This not only makes you look older than you are but can also cause complications for the surgeon during your procedure. To achieve the best results, it’s best to avoid excessive alcohol consumption, and avoid any alcohol before and after your surgery.

4. Increases swelling

After surgery, it is understandable that you want to see the results of your procedure as soon as possible. Unfortunately, most invasive cosmetic procedures will result in swelling, and you will have to wait for that to subside before you are able to see the final results. If you have been drinking prior to your surgery, or you decide to drink during your recovery period, you may notice that you will have increased swelling. This means that your recovery period will be longer, and in some cases, increased swelling can cause physical pain.

5. Alcohol doesn’t mix with medication

Following your procedure, you may be given pain medication or even antibiotics. Alcohol can not only reduce the effectiveness of these medications but can also result in dangerous side effects, such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, fainting, loss of coordination, breathing difficulty or even heart problems. Make sure you are finished taking any medication before you decide to start consuming alcohol again.

6. The recovery will be longer

Most people will want to have the shortest recovery period possible. During the recovery period, you may have to take time off work, avoid exercise and may have side effects such as swelling, bruising or redness, to name a few. To have the quickest recovery you will want to make sure your autoimmune system is not compromised. Unfortunately, alcohol can have a negative impact on your autoimmune system. Alcohol thins the blood, which can result in complications related to wound healing.

To achieve the optimum results, it is best to follow the pre-surgery and post-surgery instructions your surgeon gives you. It is important to remember your surgeon may cancel your procedure if they think you have been drinking alcohol and it will be too dangerous to proceed with surgery.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact your surgeon or the team here at Centre for Surgery. 

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