Why Do You Swell After Surgery?


When I’m talking with patients about their upcoming plastic surgery procedures, they typically want to hear all about what to expect in the weeks following surgery, both in terms of how they’ll feel and how they’ll look. While every patient’s experience is unique, there is one thing that every surgical patient can anticipate: post-op swelling.


Perhaps you know this already, but did you ever wonder why swelling after plastic surgery is both ubiquitous and completely normal? If so, take a look at this interesting article from New Beauty. It goes over the obvious cause of swelling—cosmetic surgery inevitably creates an “injury” that needs to heal—as well as some lesser-known contributors. For instance, did you know that anesthesia causes blood vessels to dilate and release fluid into surrounding areas?

While perfectly normal, post-op swelling can initially obscure results after the most expertly performed plastic surgery. So, don’t panic if your results aren’t exactly as you expected at first.


I am pleased that the article also acknowledges one fact that I go over with all of my Richmond plastic surgery patients: post-op swelling can initially obscure results, even after the most expertly performed plastic surgery. It’s a good reminder not to panic if you look in the mirror and don’t yet see the shape you expected.

How long does swelling last after plastic surgery?

Post-op swelling typically peaks about 3 to 7 days after surgery and then gradually subsides, with only minor swelling evident after the first month or two. However, if swelling seems severe or is accompanied by redness or pain—or if you see anything else concerning—it’s critical to contact your plastic surgeon ASAP.


The degree of swelling you might expect depends on the type and location of the procedure (swelling is typically greater after breast and body procedures than after facial surgery), and other factors, such as how well you follow your plastic surgeon’s instructions for recovery and aftercare. For example, you need to be sure you don’t overexert yourself and wear compression garments as directed.

Considering plastic surgery in Richmond? Let’s talk.

If you are interested in cosmetic surgery to improve your appearance, the best way to learn about options—and what to expect after surgery—is to talk with an experienced, board certified plastic surgeon who has performed the procedure you want many times. They will have the training, experience, and surgical skill to achieve beautiful results with the least amount of trauma to tissues—another factor in minimizing post-op swelling.


If you are in the Richmond area, I invite you to contact me for a personal consultation. During our meeting, we’ll discuss the potential benefits and risks of your procedure options, plus go over cosmetic surgery recovery tips that can help you bounce back quickly.


Read the original article, “This is the Real Reason Why You Swell After Plastic Surgery” here.