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Why You Should Avoid Shaving Before Plastic Surgery

By Brian Kobienia, MD, FACS on September 12, 2018


A woman shaving her legsWhether you undergo facial plastic surgery or a body contouring and skin tightening procedure, surgeons will often have to work around hair in some capacity. Some patients think that they can help Dr. Brian J. Kobienia before surgery by shaving the treatment area the day before or the morning of surgery. As it turns out, this is actually a bad idea. Patients should simply follow their plastic surgeon’s instructions for pre-op care rather than shaving or doing other actions they thing may be helpful.

The team at our Minneapolis, MN plastic surgery center would like to consider the dangers of shaving before surgery. The reasons why you should not do it may surprise you.

Shaving Can Lead to Skin Damage

When you shave, you assume your skin is clean, smooth, and looking great. At least it’s like that on the surface. If you were able to look very closely, you would notice damage to the skin at the microscopic level. These are known as micro-abrasions. They are tiny wounds on the skin.

Increased Risk of Surgical Infection

where there’s a wound, there’s a way that bacteria can cause you harm during a surgical procedure. These wounds are a breeding ground for bacteria, and can boost the risk of infection during the surgical procedure as well as after the surgery while you are healing.

How Much Higher Is the Infection Risk?

While the risk of infection is relatively low thanks to modern advances in surgical techniques and technology, plastic surgeons always want to limit the degree of risk whenever possible. A study in the surgical journal Spine found that infection rates were higher in patients who shaved before surgery than patients who didn’t.

Given the higher risk of infection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recommended that surgeons only shave patients with electric razors immediately before surgery if needed. This greatly reduces the risk of mici-abrasions on the skin.

When Can I Shave Before Surgery?

If you do have to shave at all before your plastic surgery procedure, you will be able to do so safely about 48 hours before the surgery is performed. To further limit risk of infection, use an electric razor when shaving 48 hours before surgery.

When Will I Be Able to Shave After Surgery?

This can vary from patient to patient depending on the procedure performed. For most patients, waiting two weeks to shave the face is common. When returning to shaving, patients should use an electric razor just to be delicate on the skin during the recovery process.

Showering Before Surgery Is the Best Help

Showering thoroughly and as instructed is the best thing patients can do before surgery. Make sure to use any recommended soaps, and to avoid using lotions, creams, and perfumes.

Learn More About Your Plastic Surgery Options

To learn more about preparing for surgery and what you can do to decrease the risk of complications, be sure to contact an experienced cosmetic plastic surgeon. Dr. Brian J. Kobienia and his team are here to help you. You can also reach our practice by phone at (952) 925-1111.

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