Is Protein the Key to a Successful Cosmetic Surgery Recovery? Dr. Tower Gives Her Expert Opinion.

As a well-known bodybuilder in our community and an advocate of healthy living, Dr. Irene Tower often uses social media to educate patients on the importance of diet and exercise. Recently, she posted an Instagram video about the importance of upping your protein intake before and after surgery: it’s key to getting and maintaining beautiful results.


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Here are her reasons why, including ways to know if you’re getting enough protein to support healing.

Why does protein improve healing after surgery?

Protein is one of the main components of the skin as well as muscle tissue. It plays a major role in building, repairing, and regenerating cells after surgery. Included in the protein structures of your body is collagen, the substance that keeps skin firm, smooth, and elastic. Collagen also provides the scaffolding for scar healing.

Protein additionally plays a part in increasing white blood cell count and immunoglobulins, both of which support immune function. And the healthier your immune system, the better you will heal after surgery.

In short, having an adequate amount of protein in your diet helps your body to have the fuel it needs to heal, plus your body will be better equipped to fight off infection.

How much protein should I be consuming?

Dr. Tower suggests patients consume about one gram of protein per pound of body weight daily before and after surgery to ensure a smooth postoperative period. For example, if you weigh 160 lbs, you’ll need around 160 grams of dietary protein per day.

Because it can be difficult to know exactly how much protein you are consuming, simply aim to get in the ballpark of what Dr. Tower recommends. Note what you’re eating, and read nutrition labels or reference online articles to get a rough daily total—or use an app such as Nutrients or MyFitnessPal. After a week or so, you’ll likely have a good sense of how much protein you need as well as your favorite sources.

It can help to shift the focus of your meals to star protein-rich foods. In the morning, you might have an omelette or a tofu scramble. Include lean meats (preferably organic) such as grass-fed beef, chicken, and fish for lunch and dinner. Bone broth, which also comes in powder form, is another way to get a good dose of protein. If you avoid animal products, make sure you eat plenty of plant-based protein, such as nuts, beans, and soy.

If you find that you simply don’t crave protein-rich foods, it’s okay to supplement with a protein shake for a few months pre- and post-op. Using protein powder is also a convenient way to top off your intake if you find you’re regularly falling short of your goal.

While you don’t need to be fanatical about the exact number of grams, we think you’ll see a number of benefits if you consistently consume enough protein.

Still have questions?

Successful cosmetic surgery takes smart planning. Our surgeons are here every step of the way to ensure our patients know how to prepare their bodies to recover faster after surgery, including guidelines on which foods to eat. With a little preparation and self-care, you’ll be well on your way to feeling and looking better than ever.

Contact us today to set up a consultation. We’d be happy to be a part of your transformation.

If you’re on Instagram, we also invite you to check out our practice profile. Our surgeons love offering useful and educational content to our followers, so if you haven’t yet, follow us!