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Factors that Influence Cosmetic Surgery Recovery Time

At The Ottawa Clinic, one of the most common questions that we receive about any cosmetic surgery procedure is: How long will it take to recover? The answer is: It depends. Recovery time can vary greatly between patients, often for the same procedure. That’s because there are many factors that can influence how long a patient will take to recover.

The most obvious factor that influences recovery is the type of procedure. More invasive cosmetic surgery procedures such as liposuction or facelifts will take longer to heal than less invasive procedures like BOTOX® injections. But regardless of the cosmetic surgery being performed, everyone responds differently, and therefore recovers differently.


In most cases, older patients can take a little longer than younger patients to recover from a procedure. Elderly patients, in particular, may experience much longer recovery times. This has to do with a natural reduction in skin elasticity, which is essential to recovery from cosmetic or plastic surgery.

“As we age, our skin loses elasticity. This is caused by degradation of elastic tissue and collagen fibres in the outer layer of the skin,” said Dr. Sachin Chitte, board-certified plastic surgeon and co-founder of The Ottawa Clinic, Ottawa’s only combined plastic surgery and dermatology clinic.

Dr. Chitte explains that “these elements provide strength and elasticity, helping skin return to its original state. Therefore, as patients lose them with age, their skin takes longer to regain its natural shape and colour.”

Not only can this increase recovery time, but it also raises the risk of sub-optimal scarring in patients. Surgeons at The Ottawa Clinic ensure that incisions are made in areas that are easy to conceal, in case scarring does occur. Nonetheless, age plays a significant role in the recovery time that patients can expect.

Pre-existing Medical Conditions

Much like age, the general health of a patient will also play a role in determining how long they will take to heal. Health conditions involving blood flow, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, can dramatically affect recovery time from cosmetic surgery.

“When blood does not reach the affected area efficiently, the area can become low in oxygen, thus slowing down the healing process,” says Dr. Chitte.

Patients with any pre-existing condition should consult with their surgeon beforehand, to ensure that they are aware of the potential risks and effects on recovery time. The Ottawa Clinic performs in-depth consultations before every cosmetic or plastic surgery procedure, ensuring that patients and surgeons both have a complete understanding of the situation. This also gives patients the opportunity to ask as many questions as they need to feel comfortable.

Lifestyle Factors

In general, patients who live active and healthy lifestyles can expect a faster recovery time. When their body is performing at an optimal level, they are better prepared to recover from surgery.

“Patients with better overall health often have a stronger heart rate and blood flow throughout their bodies, ensuring that the affected area is receiving adequate oxygen. This often results in a faster and easier healing process from cosmetic or plastic surgery,” explains Dr. Chitte.

In contrast, smoking, drinking alcohol or taking certain drugs can all place added stress on the body. When a patient’s body is already stressed, it can’t focus as much on healing. As a result, she or he can expect a slower recovery process.

There is no simple answer to how long recovery will take from any cosmetic surgery procedure. Our team of board-certified surgeons at The Ottawa Clinic will evaluate your overall health, ensuring you have the most accurate expectation before undergoing a procedure.

Patients across the national capital region are served via either the Queensway Carleton Hospital or Almonte General Hospital. Book a consultation to speak to us at The Ottawa Clinic about all the options.