How Many Procedures Can Be Safely Done at Once?
With the growing popularity of cosmetic treatments like Botox, fillers, and plastic surgery procedures, many patients are choosing to undergo multiple procedures at the same time. Combining several cosmetic enhancements into one surgery can be tempting for convenience and cost savings. But is there a safe limit to how many cosmetic procedures should be done together in one session? Let’s discuss guidelines, risks, recovery, and how many procedures can be done at a time.
Evaluating Multiple Procedures
The optimal number of procedures that can be safely combined depends on an assessment of:
- The patient’s health status and risk factors
- The complexity and invasiveness of each procedure
- Expected recovery time for each surgery
- The surgeon’s experience performing simultaneous procedures
Younger, healthy patients can typically tolerate more procedures done together than older patients or those with medical conditions. Minimally invasive treatments like injectable fillers can be paired more readily than multiple complex surgeries.
General Guidelines on the Number of Procedures
While each patient must be evaluated individually, most plastic surgeons follow these general guidelines on combining procedures:
Most cosmetic surgeons consider 2-3 procedures done in a single session to be safe and reasonable for most healthy patients. Going beyond 3 procedures often increases risks or compromises results.
Combining 4 or more major cosmetic surgeries at once is not usually recommended. Too many procedures done simultaneously on the same body area tend to increase complications risk and affect healing. Very extensive combinations may be risky for any patient.
Minor + Major Procedures
Pairing a minor procedure like injectables or laser skin resurfacing with a major surgery is commonly done. But adding multiple major surgeries should be approached cautiously.
Factors that Allow More Procedures
Certain patient factors allow for the combination of more treatments in a single session:
- Young, healthy patients under 50 years old
- Normal weight range BMI
- No major underlying medical conditions
- Realistic goals and expectations
- Positive attitude and preparedness for recovery
- Experience with surgery and anesthesia
- Whether you can complete your elective surgery within 7 hours
Younger patients in good health rebound faster and can safely undergo more simultaneous treatments than older, higher-risk patients.
Risks of Combining Too Many Procedures
Potential risks of having too many cosmetic procedures together include:
Performing multiple complex procedures in one surgery can tire the surgeon, raising risks of surgical errors or imprecision.
More procedures mean extended anesthesia exposure. This increases the risks of breathing issues, heart complications, and medication reactions.
Higher Chance of Infection
Each additional procedure done raises the risk of postoperative infection. Multiple wounds require extensive care.
Poor Wound Healing
Having too much surgical trauma can result in incision reopening, skin necrosis, and scarring issues during recovery.
Combining a large number of enhancements heightens the chance of uneven or unbalanced results.
Trying to accomplish too many changes in a single session can lead to mediocre results due to compromises.
Combining multiple major surgeries extends the recovery period needed. This greater downtime affects the quality of life.
Optimizing Multiple Procedures
If undergoing multiple treatments in one session, here are tips to enhance safety:
- Have procedures at least 2 weeks apart if possible
- Stage procedures starting with less invasive ones first
- Allow several months between complex surgeries like a facelift and tummy tuck
- Schedule additional office visits to monitor healing between procedures
- Closely follow all postoperative instructions to support the body’s healing ability
- Communicate any unusual symptoms or concerns to your surgeon promptly
- Accept that recovery time is prolonged when combining many procedures
- Do not schedule other high-stress life events around the recovery period
Avoid pushing your limits and be realistic about the downtime required when having multiple procedures.
Questions to Ask Your Surgeon
Important questions to ask when considering multiple procedures:
- How many procedures do you recommend I have done together based on my health profile?
- What are the risks specific to combining these specific procedures?
- How will my recovery time be impacted by having more than one surgery?
- In what order do you recommend staging the procedures and why?
- What results compromises may occur from combining too many procedures at once?
- How can we optimize safety and outcomes if doing more than one surgery?
An experienced surgeon can provide guidance on combining procedures appropriately for your unique goals and anatomy. Trust their expert advice.
The Takeaway: How many procedures can be done at a time?
While assessing each patient’s case individually is important, most cosmetic surgeons recommend limiting procedures done together to 2-3 for optimal safety and results. Careful planning, recovery time, and follow-up are required when undergoing multiple treatments. For massive surgical changes, multiple separate procedures spaced weeks or months apart are favored over very extensive single-session surgery. Listen to your surgeon’s recommendations and be realistic about recovery to reduce risks. We hope that this article answers your question, “How many procedures can be done at a time?”
 Nayak, L. and Vindigni, S.M. “Combined Procedures in Aesthetic Surgery.” Aesthetic Surgery Journal. November 2016. https://doi.org/10.1093/asj/sjw177
 Mani, M., Smith, L. and Hatef, D.A. “Safety of Combined Procedures in Cosmetic Surgery.” Aesthetic Surgery Journal. November 2019. https://doi.org/10.1093/asj/sjz321