Combining Plastic Surgeries: When Can Multiple Procedures Be Combined?

Combining Plastic Surgeries: Dr Doyle’s Rules, Beliefs, Options and More

How many plastic surgery procedures can you have at once

Plastic surgery helps you to reshape your face, body, breasts or nose to achieve your desired look. All plastic surgery procedures are performed for the restoration, reconstruction or alteration of the human body. And, they can be divided into two main categories: medically-indicated surgery and cosmetic surgery. Thanks to advancements in surgical techniques and safety, combining plastic surgeries is much more common today than in previous years.

If you’re in the market for more than one surgical procedure (think: breast implants and liposuction or a tummy tuck and arm lift), you may wonder if it’s okay to combine them? Specialist Plastic Surgeon, Dr Doyle explains when it’s safe to combine, and when it’s not.

The thought of combining multiple cosmetic surgery procedures may seem daunting to some. But, if you’d like to achieve one or more aesthetic goals, the idea of combining plastic surgeries may even be an attractive one. There are certain times where this may even be the best option.

This, however, can only be advised by a Specialist Plastic Surgeon and all safety concerns must be addressed beforehand. If your surgeon doesn’t feel that it’s in your best interests to combine certain surgeries, then this information is best regarded seriously.

Why Consider Combining Multiple Plastic Surgery Procedures?

Patients are typically interested in combining plastic surgeries when they would like to limit their recovery period,” explains Dr Doyle. “Addressing several areas at once is also preferred when these procedures are part of a greater transformation.”

During your consultation, I am able to evaluate your situation to determine whether what you are looking to do can be achieved safely.”

Benefits of Combining Multiple Plastic Surgeries

1. Less Anaesthesia = Less Risk 

Undergoing multiple surgeries at once means you only have to go under anaesthesia once. This can reduce your risk for anesthesia-related complications by greatly reducing the amount of stress placed on the body. While the surgery time is longer for multiple procedures, in most cases, the extended surgical time does not typically cause any additional complications. This makes combined procedures a safer approach for many patients.

2. One Recovery Period

Surgery requires a recovery period afterwards to allow your body time to heal. For some procedures, the recovery time is relatively short, while others may take a number of weeks before you are ready to return to regular activities. By combining plastic surgeries procedures, you only have to endure one recovery period, which means less time off work and other daily activities.

3. Lower Cost

If you’ve had the time to explore our pricing resources, you may know that the cost of your plastic surgery includes a hospital fee and an anaesthetic fee. One great benefit of combining multiple procedures is to contain costs, as you will incur only one fee for the operating room and the anaesthetist. This can be a huge benefit to patients that are looking at the possibility of multiple procedures to achieve their plastic surgery goals.

4. Dramatic Transformation

The ability to achieve multiple aesthetic goals in a single surgery can be highly satisfying in the long run. Once you have recovered from your procedure, you will see significant changes to your appearance that will typically be long-lasting and even permanent.

Drawbacks of Combining Multiple Plastic Surgeries

A big concern of undergoing two or more procedures at once is the potential for complications occurring. It may also present a more complex and demanding recovery, which can compromise the quality of your results. Safety should always be the number one concern, and this will be discussed in detail during your initial consultation with Dr Doyle.

1. Longer Operation Time

While there isn’t an exact time limit, being under anesthesia for more than 6 to 8 hours can put the body under stress and make recovery longer and more difficult. This is a particular issue when two major invasive procedures are combined. Dr Doyle would prefer not to do operations lasting greater than 6 hours in one sitting and for multiple surgeries lasting longer than this time, would split them up into 2 or more separate procedures.

A lengthy operation time can also be extremely tiring for the surgeon which is why it’s only advised to undergo a long, combined surgery with a highly experienced surgeon.

2. Longer Recovery Duration

While multiple procedures allow you to cut back to just one recovery period, the time taken to recover from this surgery may be longer. As multiple incisions will be required, you may feel more sore and tender after surgery, making it difficult for you to perform daily tasks.

Can Multiple Plastic Surgery Procedures Always Be Combined?

There’s no definitive ‘always’ for combining procedures. While it is possible, the chance of undergoing multiple surgeries at once depends on several factors:

  • Your overall health condition
  • Experience of the surgeon
  • The total duration of surgery aka analysing the anesthetic complications

Which Plastic Surgery Procedures Does Dr Doyle Regularly Combine?

Generally, a good rule of thumb for combining procedures is that if they are in the same or similar area of the body, there is less time spent on turning the patient over and therefore the surgery takes less time to complete. Dr Doyle does combine the following surgeries on a case by case basis:

Dr Doyle’s Most Commonly Combined Plastic Surgery Procedures

Mummy Makeover – Breast Surgery with a Tummy Tuck

Mommy makeover combined surgery is preferred by women who wish to regain their pre-pregnancy body. It mainly focuses on the breasts and the abdomen.

It is commonly performed after the patient has finished her family. This is recommended to achieve quality and long-lasting results. This combination procedure is also common for those who’ve had massive weight loss and is often associated with bariatric surgery or gastric bypass surgery.

This is a great plastic surgery combination as it offers dramatic post-pregnancy results and has a relatively painless recovery,” says Dr Doyle.

Since the treatment areas are on the same side of the body, there’s no need to flip the patient over. This keeps it under my 6-hour anesthesia rule which means the patient is less likely to have an adverse reaction to the anesthetic.

“The recovery for mummy makeover is also good – the breasts often don’t have a lot of postoperative pain and the use of pain pumps with abdominal tummy tuck surgery also limits the pain felt after surgery.”

When Should Mummy Makeover Surgery be Considered?

If you’ve had children and are not planning to have anymore, you may consider combining breast and tummy surgery if:

  • You’ve experienced undesirable effects on the breast shape and size post-pregnancy
  • You have stretch lines around your waist and are insecure about them
  • You’ve been unable to improve the pockets of fat around your body through diet and exercise
  • You’ve been left with a C-section scar and overhanging fat around the incision site
  • Your abdominal muscles separated during pregnancy and you’d like to correct them

View Mummy Makeover Before and After Images

Facelift, Eyelid Surgery, Brow Lift and Neck Liposuction

A facelift is easily combined with other facial rejuvenation surgeries as it is in the same operative area. Dr Doyle recommends combining upper face and lower face surgeries as it achieves more dramatic results for the patient. It also tends to be longer-lasting against the natural effects of aging.

Technically, this combination will get a better surgical result as tightening the skin in one area will pull on another, so it’s surgically easier to fine-tune the result,” says Dr Doyle.

“The recovery time is also the same whether it’s just a facelift or if the procedures are combined.”

When Should Upper and Lower Face Surgeries be Considered?

Some patients believe a facelift has the power to rejuvenate all areas of the face equally. This isn’t true – a facelift corrects various signs of aging on the middle and lower areas of the face. It removes excess skin and fat from the mouth area, chin, jowls and cheeks. If a facelift is performed as a standalone procedure, you may feel that part of your face looks more youthful than the rest.

Combining a facelift with upper eyelids (upper blepharoplasty) or a brow lift procedure can transform the appearance of your upper face too. Eyelid surgery has the ability to turn tired and older-looking eyes into bright and youthful ones and thus rejuvenating the upper face.

Brow lift surgery is a cosmetic procedure performed to elevate the brows which will reduce the amount of apparent skin in the upper eyelids. It can reduce the creases or frown lines from the forehead and raises the brows into a more alert and youthful position.

Undergoing this combination together can have a profound effect on the overall facial appearance and wipe many years off of your perceived age. If you’d like to extend the treatment area to the neck, neck liposuction may also be a viable option to remove excess fat in the neck.

Breast Reduction, Liposuction to the Armpits and Arm Lift Surgery

Armpit liposuction is performed to reduce the fat on the upper and outer chest wall, often referred to as bra fat. This presents as a good combination operation as a breast reduction alone will affect the skin in armpits, so reducing them simultaneously will achieve a more cohesive result.

This is also true for arm lift surgery (Brachioplasty). When reducing the amount of excess skin and fat from the inner upper arms, the armpits are often ignored. This can create the appearance that you’ve undergone surgery as the results may appear disjointed. Liposuction is a great surgical addition that can create a natural-appearing smooth and free-flowing arm contour.

When Should Breast Reduction, Liposuction and Arm Lift Surgeries be Considered?

Most commonly this surgical procedure is performed on patients who have lost a significant amount of weight. Losing weight quickly can leave behind stretched skin, so by removing this skin along with excess remaining fat from stubborn areas, the patient can benefit from a more contoured upper body.

With age and gravity, the breasts and arms can droop and appear to sag. Breast reduction will tighten and lift the breasts to a firmer position on the chest and an arm lift will address excess underarm flab that has lost elasticity. In most cases, a patient with one of these concerns will also benefit from a combination procedure using liposuction to reduce bra fat around the armpit.

Who is a Good Candidate for Combination Surgery?

Combined plastic surgery procedures are a great way to cut costs, reduce risk and reduce recovery time, but they’re not for everyone. In order to get the best possible results, you MUST be highly motivated and need to follow ALL post-operative instructions.

As these surgery combinations listed above treat numerous areas of the face, body or breast, the recovery period is crucial to your surgical outcome. Not wearing your surgical garment or not resting adequately can negatively impact your results. You must be prepared to do everything it takes to maximise the outcome of your combined surgical procedures.

As well as this, it’s important that you’re as fit as possible and have a good medical history. You MUST NOT SMOKE. If you do smoke, you will need to give up smoking at least three months prior to your surgery and three months after your surgery. It WILL impact your results and if you’re not careful you can end up with infections, poor wounds and unsightly scars.

Another criteria that can affect the quality of your healing and the length of your recovery period is your diet. A nourishing diet filled with essential nutrients, complex carbs, protein and fluids is critical to your wound healing. The right nutrition helps your body to fight infection, accelerates healing, increases your strength and energy and also maintains your nutrient stores. In short, it’ll help you to have an easier recovery. It’s essential that you can commit to a healthy wound healing diet in the months leading up to and the months following your surgery.

All of the above criteria will be assessed during your initial plastic surgery consultation with Dr Doyle. It’s important that you are completely honest about your lifestyle and your desired results. He will then be able to determine whether you are a good candidate for a combined surgery, or if your procedures should be split into stages.

Dr Doyle’s Tips for Combining Plastic Surgeries

dr doyle operating team

You’ll need to be well organised and have appropriate support people around you following your surgery so you can get adequate rest. This means if you have young children that there is someone to look after them, and you can have food prepared or someone to assist you with meals,” says Dr Doyle.

Because of advanced surgical techniques and improved drugs, pain in the postoperative period can be well controlled. This may make you feel as though you can become more active sooner than ever before. Your heightened confidence can lead to you overdoing daily activities and actually slow down the healing process. You MUST follow your post-operative instructions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it cheaper to get multiple plastic surgeries at once?

Combining multiple plastic surgery procedures is cheaper than having them done in stages. While you are still required to pay the surgeon’s fee, you will only need to pay the hospital fee and anaesthetic fee once.

How far apart can you have plastic surgery?

I would normally wait for 3 months before performing the second stage of an operation,” says Dr Doyle.

Allowing adequate time between procedures allows your body to heal, recover and gain the strength required to undergo further surgery.  Surgeries involving significant blood loss and prolonged-time under anesthesia are advised to have a longer wait time for better results.

When is it best to double or triple Plastic surgery?

If you have made a definite decision to have several procedures done then for all the reasons above, ie it’s cheaper, one anaesthetic and one recovery period, it would be sensible to have multiple procedures done at the one operation. You will need to discuss your options with Dr Doyle at your consultation.

What is the most difficult plastic surgery procedure?

Cosmetic rhinoplasty can be a technically difficult operation for inexperienced surgeons.

What surgery has the longest recovery time?

Body lift surgery has the longest recovery period as it targets multiple areas of the body.

What are the risks associated with combining plastic surgeries?

  • Anesthesia for a long duration of surgery results in more complications, mainly cardiovascular complications. This is why there are time limits in place.
  • Increased physical stress on the body increases the chances of infection and scarring.
  • Blood clots in the legs can move to the lungs. This is one of the biggest risks associated with combined plastic surgery procedures.

Book a Consultation

If you are considering combining plastic surgeries and would like them performed together by an experienced Specialist Plastic Surgeon, book a consultation with Dr Mark Doyle today.


About Dr Mark Doyle FRACS (Plast) – Queensland Plastic Surgeon

Servicing patients in Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Cairns and New South Wales NSW – Northern Rivers, Byron Bay, Ballina, Lismore and more.

Dr Mark Doyle is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon with over thirty years of experience performing BreastBodyFace and Nose surgery. As a highly esteemed plastic surgeon, Dr Mark is driven by an intense passion for helping patients achieve a happier, more beautiful self through advanced cosmetic surgery procedures.

He maintains a strong commitment to achieving the best possible results for all his breast, body, face and nose patients, both men and women.