Overhauling Your Look

How Your Medications Can Affect Your Plastic Surgery Recovery

Your plastic surgery recovery time will depend on the type and extent of your surgery. More and more people are enjoying the cosmetic benefits of plastic surgery, and they typically enjoy event-free recoveries. There are certain factors, however, such as preexisting medical conditions, like diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, and kidney disorders, that can raise the risk for post-operative complications. In addition to health conditions, certain medications can also cause complications after your procedure. Here are some common medications that may cause problems during your recovery period:


If your physician prescribed warfarin, a potent anticoagulant, to reduce your risk for a blood clot, heart attack, or stroke, you may be at risk for abnormal bleeding after your surgery. Warfarin makes the blood slower to clot, and while this is the desired effect to prevent cardiovascular or cerebral vascular events, it can cause excessive bleeding of your surgical site.

When you visit your plastic surgeon for your pre-operative visit, he or she may recommend that you stop taking warfarin a week or so before your surgery date. This will help ensure that all traces of the anti-clotting medication are out of your system by the time you have your surgery. While most plastic surgeons will recommend that you stop taking your anticoagulant medication before your procedure, if you are at a very high risk for heart attack or stroke, this may not be an option for you. 


If your plastic surgery involves your eyes or nose, taking antihistamines while recovering from your procedure may delay your healing. Antihistamines are typically used to manage the symptoms of allergies such as a runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, and itching.

They can also dry out your mucous membranes such as those of your eyes and nose. If you had a cosmetic procedure such as eyelid surgery or rhinoplasty to improve the appearance of your nose or to facilitate better breathing because of a deviated septum, your eyes and nasal cavity may become uncomfortably dry as a result of antihistamine use. If this happens to you, let your surgeon know. He or she will recommend ways to restore moisture to the affected areas so that normal healing can take place.

If you are anticipating a cosmetic procedure, talk to both your plastic surgeon and your primary health physician about your use of medications when recovering from your surgery. Never stop taking your medications unless you have gotten medical clearance from the prescribing doctor to do so.