Recovery, Aftercare & Complications for Cosmetic Surgery Abroad - ISAPS

Recovery, Aftercare and Complications

When preparing for your cosmetic surgery abroad, it is important to plan for your recovery and aftercare, along with the possibility of complications. Your surgeon should help you understand what to expect and assist in this planning. The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) has provided information to get you started.

Appropriate aftercare is critical to the success of your procedure. Find an ISAPS member.

Recovery and Aftercare

Recovery and aftercare requirements will depend on your specific surgery and your surgeon's recommendations. To have the best possible outcome, ask your surgeon the following questions:

Where will I be for the first 24 hours after surgery?

This is typically the period when complications due to the anesthesia or excessive bleeding are most likely to occur. Find out whether you will be able to return to the clinic if concerns arise.

What type of post-op care will I need?

Depending on what type of care will be required, you may need to arrange assistance after your surgery. Patients often require help getting dressed, feeding themselves and caring for other personal needs for at least a few days. Ask whether you will need assistance and for how long.

How will travel impact my surgical outcome?

Even without surgery, sitting for long periods of time, such as during a long airplane flight or car ride, increases the risk for deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in the legs) and pulmonary embolism (blood clots in the lungs). After surgery, these concerns are compounded by the fact that you may have difficulty standing and need to limit pressure on the surgical area by repositioning your body or face regularly. Find out how long you need to wait before traveling home and follow your surgeon's advice.

What restrictions will I need to make after surgery?

Common vacation activities like swimming, sunbathing and drinking alcohol are typically not recommended after surgery. Lifting heavy bags and standing or walking for long periods of time are other vacation-related activities you may need to avoid.


Because all types of surgery involve the possibility of complications, it is important to develop a plan for your care ahead of time. Before your surgery, questions to ask your surgeon may include:

  • Where do I go if an emergency arises before I return home?
  • Can I call you if I have concerns after surgery?
  • Are you affiliated with any clinics in my home country that I can go to for follow-up care?
  • Do you have insurance that will cover complications?

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