Why You Shouldn't Shave before Plastic Surgery By tmccall on September 13, 2018

Female patient prepped for plastic surgeryCosmetic surgery is an excellent way to eliminate saggy, wrinkled, excess skin and contour the body for a more pleasing appearance. Before undergoing any surgery, it is important to have a full understanding of the treatment process, including pre- and post-operative instructions.

Many patients wonder if they can shave prior to their facial cosmetic surgery or body contouring procedure. Here, our Milwaukee, WI team explains why you shouldn’t shave before plastic surgery.

What Happens When You Shave?

Shaving before plastic surgery can actually seem like a good idea. After all, it makes sense that your skin should be clean and smooth, right?

While it may seem like the right thing to do, shaving actually creates micro-abrasions on the skin at a microscopic level. Even when using a fresh razor, these tiny wounds can increase the risk of complications for patients that undergo plastic surgery.

Increased Risk of Infection

The micro-abrasions left on your skin after shaving can be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. If bacteria are on the skin, you increase the risk of infection spreading to the surgical site. This can lead to a number of unnecessary complications.

One study published in the journal Spine reported that patients who shaved were more likely to develop post-operative infections compared to those who did not shave.

Thanks to modern advances in medicine, this risk of infection is low overall. However, it is important to take steps to avoid this complication. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that surgeons use electric razors prior to treatment to minimize such risks.

Can I Shave a Few Days before Plastic Surgery?

Yes. If you are about to undergo plastic surgery, we recommend shaving approximately 48 to 72 hours before your appointment. To further prevent the risk of infection, you may wish to consider using an electric razor.

When to Start Shaving after Plastic Surgery

The answer to this question will depend on your unique situation. It is important to ask your doctor when you can start shaving after surgery. In most cases, we recommend waiting approximately two weeks. Again, an electric razor would be beneficial during early recovery.

How to Prepare for Plastic Surgery

Patients who are about to undergo plastic surgery at our practice often ask us how to best prepare for their procedure. To clean the skin and reduce the risk of infection and other complications, patients should shower the night before and the morning of their surgery.

Dr. McCall may recommend a specific type of soap, such as a mild antibacterial. Patients should avoid applying lotions, creams, makeup, cologne, or perfume. These products can increase the risk for infection and other complications.

You will be provided with a comprehensive list of pre- and post-surgical instructions, which should be followed precisely for a successful and comfortable recovery.

Contact Lake Country Plastic and Hand Surgery

If you are planning to undergo plastic surgery, knowing what to anticipate throughout the process is essential. As always, our team is available to offer insight and answer any questions you may have. To speak to a team member, or to schedule a consultation, call our office at (262) 523-1200 or contact us online anytime.

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Dr. Tracy McCall

Lake Country Plastic and Hand Surgery

Dr. Tracy McCall is a board-certified plastic surgeon that has been providing exceptional results to patients since 2001. She is an active member of several professional organizations, including:

  • American College of Surgeons
  • American Medical Association
  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons
  • Association of Women Surgeons

Fill out our online form to request a consultation or call us in Waukesha, WI, at (262) 523-1200.

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