Winter is one of the best times for patients to receive vascular surgery and plastic surgery. But why though? Both of these surgical practices can help improve a patient’s outer appearance, while also providing important functional and life-saving treatments.
Why Winter Is The Best Time for Surgical Procedures
Winter is the best time for undergoing vascular and plastic surgery procedures for several reasons. Some have to do with the naturally cooler weather, and some have to do with the time of the year.
1. The cold weather reduces inflammation
Speaking of the cold weather, did you know that cold weather can actually help reduce inflammation in your body? When the air gets very cold, it can act as an ice pack for your whole body. In Nashville, we don’t typically see temperatures lower than the teens, or maybe the tens. So really, the cold weather during winter is more of a passive boost to your recovery.
However, we don’t recommend going out and exposing yourself to the cold temperatures while you’re recovering from surgery.
The best way to help reduce inflammation with cold therapy is to apply an ice pack or a cold compress to the affected area for 15-20 minutes at a time about once per hour. This will help soothe any pain post-operation while also preventing tissue damage from cold exposure.
2. It gives you the perfect excuse to curl up, stay home, and heal
Winter is the perfect time to stay home. Many people love the feeling of being warm inside while it’s cold outside. Also, colder temperatures mean fewer outdoor activities to attend, which just gives you another excuse to stay home, relax, and recuperate.
If you’re going to receive a plastic surgery procedure like DIEP flap surgery, then you’ll want to take all the time you can to rest. So, before your surgery, get prepared. Set up your bedroom, tv room, or whatever lounging space you have, so you have everything you need within easy reach.
You could also set out your favorite books, blankets, fuzzy socks, or warm slippers so you live at the peak of comfort while you’re recovering.
3. You can use some of your holiday vacations to minimize time off
Time Off for Vascular Surgery
If you’re worried about how much time you’ll have to take off to recover from surgery, winter break may just be the right time to plan for your procedure. Now, most vascular procedures such as varicose vein ablation, sclerotherapy, and VenaSeal™ usually have very short recovery times. However, more intense procedures like venous ligation or vein stripping can take up to two weeks to recover from.
Time Off for Plastic Surgery
Plastic surgery procedures also vary in how much time they take to recover from, depending on the size of the treatment area. For example, full recovery from a facelift can take up to a month, while a full DIEP flap breast reconstruction can take up to two months for a full recovery.
Depending on the type of procedure you’re receiving, you could consider planning your surgery so the first week or even two weeks of your recovery happen around the holidays. Usually, patients can start to resume normal light activities after two weeks of rest.
4. No one can see your scars while you’re dressed for winter
Vascular surgery methods have evolved over the years so that even intense procedures like vein stripping can be performed with minimally invasive micro incisions that leave almost no scars once fully healed.
Our Nashville plastic surgeons also practice the most up-to-date plastic surgery techniques that minimize scarring and even hide scars. Still, in the weeks following your procedure, you will likely have stitches or wound dressings that you might not want other people to see.
If you plan on receiving breast reconstruction surgery, your surgeon will place drains in your reconstructed breast or breasts, to allow fluid to drain from the surgery site so you can heal properly. But, with warm clothes, you won’t have to worry about anyone noticing them.
5. You have plenty of time to recover before summer
Summer is beach season, and scars or bruises from surgery can be embarrassing, which makes it hard to spend time with your family during summer. This is why you should consider receiving surgery in the winter. If your procedure happens at the beginning of January, you have at least five months until May, where it finally starts to feel like summer.
If you plan your surgery for early December, you’ll have six months until May, which gives you plenty of time to recover, and plenty of time to let your scars heal.
6. You can choose your appointment time more freely
Some of the people who want to look good for next spring and summer, but who have never had vascular or plastic surgery before, tend to wait until late winter or spring to schedule their surgery. As a result, it usually gets busier for our vascular and plastic surgeons the closer it gets to summer. And therefore it gets harder for patients to schedule operations before summer vacation.
However, the earlier you decide to start the process of scheduling your surgery, the more options you’ll have for your procedure date.
7. Any bruises from vascular surgery will usually heal before it’s summer again
One of the most common side effects of surgery is bruising. This can happen even after minimally invasive procedures like endovenous laser ablation or sclerotherapy. Thankfully, bruises usually go away within a week or two.
Just be aware that if you’re receiving sclerotherapy, you will need multiple treatments in order for the therapy to be effective. Starting sclerotherapy in the winter gives your body enough time to see the old diseased veins disappear before summer starts again.
8. Your skin is more protected from the sun in the winter
Just because winter weather is usually overcast, it doesn’t mean it completely blocks UV radiation. UV radiation is still a risk no matter how hot or cold it is, and no matter how sunny or cloudy it is, you’re also at risk of sunburns and other kinds of sun damage.
After surgery, your skin will be very sensitive, so it will be very important to either stay out of the sun or to protect your skin thoroughly. The best thing you can do is simply cover up, stay inside, and rest. Leave the sun chasing for warmer months after you’ve had enough time to recover.
9. Best time to wear compression stockings because no one will notice them
After vein surgery in Nashville, and after some plastic surgery procedures, you will be required to wear supportive compression stockings or garments. Compression stockings are an essential part of the recovery process for vein surgery. They prevent swelling, reduce inflammation, and ensure that the body redistributes blood flow to other areas of the body.
The compression stockings also help reduce post-operative pain and bleeding. The only problem for some people is they aren’t the most trendy accessory. But, during the winter months, you can wear them under your comfy sweatpants, jeans, and pajamas so no one else can see them.
After any type of breast surgery, you’ll be required to wear supportive compression garments to ensure the operated breast heals properly. Your doctor will also give you specific instructions for how to care for your body during recovery. This may include how to unwrap, clean, and redress your wounds.
10. Hide any side effects
Typical side effects of vascular surgery include:
- Allergic reactions to anesthesia
- Blood clots
- Nerve damage
- Skin discoloration
Side effects of plastic surgery include:
- Hematomas and Seromas
- Nerve damage
Other side effects and risks vary depending on the condition you want to treat or the surgery you’re receiving. Talk to your surgeon to learn more about your risk for complications during vascular surgery or plastic surgery.
Vascular Surgery and Plastic Surgery at The Surgical Clinic in Nashville, TN
Schedule a consultation with one of our experienced Nashville vascular surgeons or plastic surgeons to find the right treatment for you. Fill out a form below, or visit our Locations page to find a clinic near you.