Is Winter the Best Time for a Pick-Me-Up and Banish the Holiday Bloat Procedure? We’ve Got the Scoop!
I am the first one to admit it - I overindulged big-time during the holiday season; I drank way too much sweet champagne and might have nibbled on one-too-many holiday cookies. I feel like I need a fresh start, and what better time to give my body the makeover I’ve been contemplating, than right after the holidays when I can cover my bandages and bloat with a few extra layers of clothing, right? My thinking is that winter is the perfect time to indulge in a cosmetic surgery procedure - it’s cold outside which provides the perfect excuse to cover up and stay out of the sun (especially since it is darn right gloomy outside this time of year anyhow). And being that we are just at the tail end of the gift giving season, I think it is only fair that we gift ourselves with the gift of surgery too! But is there really a best time to have plastic surgery and is sun exposure bad for healing? I tackled these and some other important issues with Simeon Wall, Jr., MD, FACS board-certified plastic surgeon, President, Louisiana Society of Plastic Surgeons, traveling professor, and member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, who shared his take on people like me who want a quick fix for their after-holiday-bloat and whether or not it is best to have their procedure during the winter months.
Dr. Wall notes that it’s not necessarily better to schedule a procedure in the winter months. However it can be more convenient and maybe a little easier or more comfortable for many patients. It is easier to stay out of the sun in the winter, which can make a big difference if the patient has had a facial procedure. As far as convenience and scheduling, it’s sometimes a challenge to find enough time to recover from some of the bigger surgeries; so many patients opt to have surgery during Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays because they have days off from work to recover. “It’s pretty common for us to do a lot more of our facial rejuvenation procedures in the winter just to make it easier to stay out of the sun. Many of our mommy makeover patients like having their surgery in the winter months too because they can stay cooler while they are in their compression garment, and they can wear bulkier clothing over the garment and no one will know they have it on,” explains Dr. Wall. As far as breast enhancement, there’s no real advantage to having surgery in the winter, and that’s probably why we see those procedures in a steady stream throughout the year.
Dr. Wall recommends facial rejuvenation procedures in the winter months so patients can stay out of the sun while their incisions are new. He also recommends patients have laser resurfacing done in the winter for the same reasons - it’s easier to stay out of the sun when there’s not much sun. “It’s probably even more important where we live in the Deep South. We probably do five times as many laser resurfacing procedures in the colder months as compared to the middle of the summer. I also think it’s nice for our SAFELipo and tummy tuck patients to have their procedures when it’s cooler outside for the aforementioned ability to hide their postoperative foam and garment under bulkier clothing for a few weeks” notes Dr. Wall. Other than that, most procedures are fine at any time of the year depending on a patient’s individual preferences and needs.
Outside of environmental factors like sun exposure and outside temperature, the preferences and needs of the patient can many times be the biggest factors in scheduling elective surgery. Family, occupation, recreational activities, and events are probably the most common things for patients to consider. Are they getting married soon? Are they competitive tennis players with a schedule of tournaments? Do they have small children, or are they considering having a child within the year? Do they have a strenuous job, or do they sit in an office all day? These are all things that usually determine the best times to schedule surgery. They also help the plastic surgeon decide what surgeries are best for each person.
Besides the procedures listed earlier, there are no specific procedures tied to seasons however we’ve seen over the years a high demand for breast enhancement procedures starting in the spring and stretching into summer. The reason is pretty obvious - warmer temperatures mean that it is bikini season and no one wants to be the girl in the empty bikini top!
Unlike buying clothes and accessories, not everyone is a good fit for surgery, which is why we always stress that anyone considering elective cosmetic surgery should seek out a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in aesthetic procedures. Most solid, reputable plastic surgeons have plenty of patients and will only operate on those who are good candidates and will benefit from the procedure.
Most plastic surgery procedures are significantly life-changing experiences, yet people may not realize that they need to prepare for them accordingly - just like they would prepare for a marathon. For example, being at the right weight for facial, breast, and body procedures is really important, and can make the difference between a so-so result and an incredible result. “Patient safety is a top priority, so we don’t operate on smokers because of the negative effects on blood supply and wound healing. All of our patients have to be off nicotine for a month before undergoing any surgical procedure,” explains Dr. Wall. “Even if the patients are willing, we won’t do it because in our practice, it’s not about signing people up for surgery - it’s about minimizing problems and giving our patients great results. Sometimes that means turning people away if it’s the right thing for them.”
As you consider treating yourself to a cosmetic procedure this winter, be sure to check the physician’s credentials to ensure he/she is a board-certified plastic surgeon. Alternatively, you could use the Find A Surgeon search tool to find a board-certified plastic surgeon near you.