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THE COSMETIC SURGERY YEAR
An at-a-glance-guide to the best times for aesthetic surgery
by Laurence Kirwan


Certain times of the year are better than others for specific cosmetic surgery procedures. Laurence Kirwan offers this seasonal guide on how to plan for the most-requested procedures.

From New Year to summer:
To look good on the beach, and in revealing summer clothing and sportswear such as tennis gear, body surgery should be planned for the early months of the year. This includes tummy tucks, liposuction and all types of breast surgery (augmentation, reduction, breast lift).

Through autumn and winter:
This is the best time for most facial surgery, especially a facelift, eye surgery (blepharoplasty), nose re-shaping (rhinoplasty) and laser resurfacing of the skin.

"If clients come in for laser before the summer's over, I tell them to wait until the autumn because it's absolutely essential to avoid the sun", says Kirwan. "However, laser can be planned right through to the end of March", he adds.

Mr Kirwan points out that for women who do not work, autumn is a good time for surgery since there are usually less social activities until the Christmas/New Year party season - which is when women in particular want to look their best. "Autumn is an especially good time of year for aesthetic procedures", he says. "But this means it is also when most cosmetic surgeons are at their busiest so booking ahead is essential."

School holidays:
Perfect for rhinoplasty ("nose jobs") for teenagers. Recovery takes about eight days so even a Christmas/New Year's break or half term is adequate time to be out of sight.

When not to have surgery:
  • During pregnancy
  • During a stressful time such as divorce or after a loved one's death
  • When overweight, out of shape, or in poor health

Specific conditions that should be corrected before surgery are high blood pressure, recent heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, asthma requiring steroid treatment or hospital admission, bleeding or clotting abnormality, diabetes, or any chronic medical condition requiring long term medication such as kidney or liver failure.

Recreational drugs, smoking (including cigars) and alcohol are all incompatible with a healthy patient and an uncomplicated course after surgery.

Rules to follow in the run-up to surgery:
Stop smoking and drinking for at least three weeks prior to surgery! Smoking slows wound healing. If the case is performed under sedation, a smoker will generally cough when lying flat so will require a general anaesthetic to prevent this. Coughing raises blood pressure during and after surgery and can cause bleeding at the surgical site. Alcohol affects blood clotting.

Other items to avoid for three weeks before surgery are vitamin E, ibuprofen or similar medication and aspirin or medication containing aspirin (cough linctus, for instance).

Medication to give up before surgery:
The main one is any form of anticoagulant that will prevent blood clotting. Steroids will prevent wound healing and should be stopped if possible before surgery.

And a word of advice:
According to Kirwan, who practices in both the USA and the UK, American and British women are very different in their attitudes towards cosmetic surgery. "In the USA, women plan ahead, and think about it for longer, investigating their options. British women are less well informed generally, and most of them just want to get on with the surgery as soon as possible, without a lot of research. A one or two month wait is often too long for a British patient!

"My advice is to network among friends to find out who has had which procedures with which specialists; see several surgeons and verify their credentials; plus, research details about techniques and surgeons through websites like those of the The American Society of Plastic Surgeons: www.plasticsurgery.org and The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery: www.surgery.org."

Laurence Kirwan has a website at: www.drkirwan.com or www.kirwanfrcs.com

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