The Surgeon Minute

All About Sex After Surgery

All About Sex After Surgery

When can you resume sex after surgery? Odds are you’ve wondered, but haven’t asked. After all, sex can be an embarrassing subject to bring up. “All of my patients come to me to improve their appearance, and they go through big surgeries,” shares board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Mark Epstein. “The interesting thing is, very few people ask, but I’m sure almost all of them are thinking about it.”

The answer to the question will depend on the procedure you undergo and how well your body heals. With a few exceptions, most patients can safely return to light sexual activity within a few days or weeks. Here are some guidelines that Dr. Epstein shares with his patients who are bold enough to ask.

Common Sense Rule: Comfort First

In the early days after any surgery, listen to what your body is telling you. If you can’t comfortably engage in sex, don’t do it. “You have to use some common sense,” warns Dr. Epstein. “No Olympic sex, no hanging from the ceiling.” This means that you may have to tone down your regular bedroom routine for a few weeks, but it does not mean you will have to do without sex altogether.

When you have found a position that allows you to engage in sex without any discomfort, there are two things you should be careful to avoid in order to proceed safely. 

Two Main Things to Avoid When Having Sex After Surgery:

  1. Wound Disruption
  2. Moderate or Extreme Physical Exertion

Wound Disruption

Regardless of the procedure you have done, there will be an incision. Whether your incision is small or large, you need to allow it to heal. You should only engage in sex if it can be done without disturbing the incision.

Physical Exertion

The second concern when it comes to sexual activity after surgery has to do with your heart rate. “Sex is a form of exercise, and you don’t want to do too much too soon,” advises Dr. Epstein. Sex, like all exercise, raises your blood pressure. Patients who have sex after surgery should be careful to keep their physical exertion to a minimum. This means you should allow your partner to do the majority of the work during sex. “You don’t want the blood pressure to get so elevated that it’s going to cause postoperative bleeding,” warns Epstein.

Sex After Breast Augmentation

Dr. Epstein’s patients who undergo One Day Recovery Breast Augmentation are cleared to return to sex the same day as their surgery  “I tell my patients after breast augmentation they can resume sex right away if they so desire,” he shares. “Go easy on the breasts – although I think that issue is going to be self-limiting due to the little bit of discomfort they have after surgery.” While sex may be safe after an augmentation, you should always be careful not to disrupt the implants or the incision during the first six weeks.

Sex after breast augmentation.

Sex after Liposuction

The return to sex after liposuction is dictated by comfort. Liposuction patients experience varying degrees of swelling or soreness. Unlike other procedures that involve structural work beneath the incision, there is no structure that could be damaged by physical activity. “The incisions are only a fraction of an inch, practically a quarter of an inch in size,” says Epstein. “They can resume sex whenever they want. I don’t think they’re going to feel up to aggressive lovemaking, but as soon as they’re comfortable, they can go back, no problem.”

Sex after liposuction.

Sex after a Tummy Tuck

When it comes to an abdominoplasty, more commonly known as a tummy tuck, Dr. Epstein has his patients wait several weeks instead of several days. “Because I don’t want any bleeding after surgery from an abdominoplasty, I would feel more comfortable if they waited a couple weeks to resume, but again, that’s flexible with common sense. I’m not so much worried about a wound disruption, however, I do repair the abdominal muscles, and I want that protected for about six weeks.”  

To protect the healing muscles, you should only resume sex in a position that doesn’t require those abdominal muscles to be engaged. If you can lie comfortably on your back with your stomach muscles relaxed and the incisions protected, you may be ready to return to sex after your tummy tuck.

Sex after a Labiaplasty

While many plastic surgery procedures allow for a quick return to sexual activity, labiaplasty is the exception. “We’re talking about the readjustment and suture of very fine tissues. I tell my patients for six weeks nothing goes inside. That means no sex or touching down there  for approximately six weeks,” shares Dr. Epstein.

Sex after labiaplasty.

If labiaplasty patients don’t heed the warning, there are serious potential consequences. Disrupting the suture line before it has fully healed can harm the aesthetic outcome. With labiaplasty, patients should wait until they have had a six week postoperative visit with their doctor and have received the “all clear.”

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