The surgery was a success and you look good. Finally, that pesky fill-in-the-blank (tummy, breast size, muffin top, thigh fat) is no longer your concern. Your surgery fixed it, and you no longer have to worry about it.

While that’s more true after you’ve recovered from surgery than it was before surgery, it’s important to remember that plastic surgery doesn’t remain perfect forever. The human body is still a (remarkable) living thing. It will change and adapt to your circumstances — even after plastic surgery. That means your habits will have an effect on your results, both immediately after your surgery and in the long term as well.

Follow Doctor’s Orders

The first days, weeks and months after surgery mark the time period that your body heals itself. Even when you are cleared to go back to your usual daily routine, your body’s complex systems are hard at work stabilizing and healing your surgical site.

Your surgeon’s instructions will include instructions about lifting heavy objects, going back to work, transitioning to an underwire bra (after breast surgery), caring for your surgical site, and even consuming salt. You invested, time money, and energy into your surgery, so you really want to maximize and maintain the results. Following doctor’s orders precisely is the best way to do that.

You Stopped Smoking – Don’t Start Again

We know you know smoking is bad for you. But we are going to repeat ourselves anyway. Your surgeon probably made you quit smoking prior to your surgery. That’s because it impairs your body’s ability to heal, and smokers don’t handle anesthesia as well as non-smokers.

But now that you’ve recovered from surgery, don’t make the mistake of slipping back into your old habit. Smoking does no favors for your skin. According to the Mayo Clinic, nicotine narrows the blood vessels in the outer layers of your skin. This means less blood flow and therefore less oxygen and fewer nutrients nourish to the skin. This translates into wrinkles.

In addition, tobacco smoke also damages the collagen in your skin. This is the material that provides elasticity and structure. When collagen is weakened your skin wrinkles and sags.

Over time, cigarette smoking can undo much of the benefit of plastic surgery.

Use Sunscreen

We’ll put this in the same category as smoking. We aren’t telling you something you don’t already know, but we’re going to remind you anyway. The sun’s rays are damaging to the skin and will cause you to wrinkle prematurely. They might even give you skin cancer. So protect yourself and your new look from the sun’s damaging rays, and wear your sunscreen.

Get Some Exercise

Most of us think of exercise as a necessary evil to keep extra pounds at bay. And it is great for weight control. But physical activity offers many other benefits as well. When you exercise, your body opens up all the little blood vessels to allow oxygen to get where it’s needed. This is good for your skin, and the rest of your body, too. Research even suggests that exercise is associated with decreased rates of dementia and cancer. Not only will exercise help you look better, it will help you feel better and enjoy your surgical results for years to come.

Eat the Rainbow and Avoid Processed Foods

Spend five minutes on the internet and you will find a dizzying number of fad diets to help you lose weight and stay healthy. But in reality nutrition science is quite complicated because there are many factors that influence how we eat. But most reputable experts will agree on a couple of nutritional principles.

First, processed foods might fill you up, but they aren’t doing your health any favors. Fast foods and foods that come in boxes with lots of ingredients that are difficult to pronounce provide little nutritional benefit. These types of foods too often replace real food packed with nutrition.

Second, there is wisdom in “eating the rainbow.” This means consuming a diet with a large portion of fruits and vegetables with lots of different colors on your plate. These foods are full of micronutrients – vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other factors that help our bodies perform their most basic functions.

When we consume a wide variety of whole foods, particularly colorful fruits and vegetables, we help our body get all these tiny nutrients so our bodies can fight aging and therefore preserve the look achieved with plastic surgery.

Avoid Yo-Yo Dieting

In a world where we lose weight for weddings and graduations and other special events, yo-yo dieting is quite common. But every time you gain weight, your skin must grow to accommodate it. It doesn’t always bounce back. Do this repeatedly and you’ve got excess skin that you aren’t pleased with – maybe in the same area you already had plastic surgery.

Maintaining a consistent weight through healthy nutrition and exercise will preserve your plastic surgery results much longer than gaining and losing the same 15 pounds over and over again.

The great thing about this list – follow doctor’s orders, don’t smoke, use sunscreen, get some exercise, eat healthy foods, avoid yo-yo dieting – is that it’s good for us in general. Not only will it help you preserve your surgical results, it will help you live a healthier life, in which you look and feel better.

If you are interested in plastic surgery, Dr. Slack would love to chat with you about it. Please get in touch to schedule a consultation to discuss your options.