Is it Safe for Me to Go to the Beach After Surgery?

Looking good during the beach season is a popular reason to get cosmetic surgery. After undergoing procedures like body contouring, breast surgery, or fat transfer, you’re guaranteed to have a fantastic appearance in your swimsuit.

If you’re considering getting a cosmetic surgical procedure this summer, you might be wondering when you can enjoy time on the beach after surgery. Northeastern Plastic Surgery’s experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon Joseph Fodero, MD, PA of Florham Park, New Jersey is pleased to share what you need to know to stay safe at the beach after having surgery this summer.

Keep reading to learn how and when you can safely enjoy beach time after you get surgery.

Going to the beach after surgery: What you need to know

The amount of time required before you can safely go to the beach after surgery can depend on the procedures you had and your individualized recovery. Before planning a day at the beach or a swim in the water, make sure you get the all-clear at your after-care appointment with Dr. Fodero.

Generally, though, this is how long you can expect to wait before doing popular beach activities, and what you’ll need to do to stay safe at the beach.

Can I sit in the sand after surgery?

Usually, going to the beach after surgery is safe within a couple of weeks of your surgery, once your body has initially healed from the surgery. However, at first, you’ll need to be more careful with any surgical incisions that are healing when lying in the sand. 

While your surgical incisions are still healing, they’re more susceptible to infection if sand gets into them. Before sitting on the sand, ensure any dressings Dr. Fodero has applied are still secure. Consider lying on a beach chair or towel instead of the sand directly and wearing clothes that cover the incisions healing from surgery. 

Can I sunbathe after surgery?

Surgical incisions tend to be more sensitive to the sun while they’re still healing. If your surgical incisions are still covered, keep the dressings Dr. Fodero placed on them while you enjoy the sun at the beach. 

After your dressings have been removed, to help your scars fade fully, wear SPF 30 or higher sunscreen any time you expose these areas to the sun, and aim to limit their sun exposure. Bringing a sun umbrella, clothing that covers your surgical incision, or seeking shade can help you enjoy the sun for safe periods of time at the beach. It’s also a good idea to apply sunscreen to new scars under your bathing suit or clothing if you are going to be out in the sun. The sun's rays can penetrate your clothing and damage the scars, especially during the first year post-surgery.

Can I go swimming after surgery?

You’ll need to wait a bit longer after surgery to get into the water than sit on the beach. This ensures any surgical incisions have fully healed before contact with ocean water that could cause infections and keeps the results of your procedure from being compromised by the water.

Typically, you need to wait about a month after surgery before swimming, or up to six weeks with certain procedures like a tummy tuck. Once Dr. Fodero clears you to swim, plan on starting at a slower pace and gradually working your way up to your pre-surgery activity levels.

By following Dr. Fodero’s personalized after-care tips after surgery and attending your post-operative appointments, you’ll be back to the beach before you know it after surgery. Soon, you’ll be safely showing off your new post-op body at the beach.

For more information about cosmetic procedures, make a Klara telehealth or in-person appointment with our team at Northeastern Plastic Surgery online or by calling the office.

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