What does ‘downtime’ really mean?

We often hear people talking about ‘downtime’ when it comes to cosmetic surgery and non-surgical cosmetic procedures, but what does the phrase really mean, and how does it relate to the recovery period and the time it takes to see results?


When it comes to cosmetic procedures, most people use the phrase ‘downtime’ to refer to the period of time during which you might want to refrain from your usual activities or stay away from the public eye. So for non-surgical procedures like Botox or fillers, this might just be a few hours, while you wait for the redness to go down, whilst for some surgical procedures it could be a matter of weeks.

Recovery period

The recovery period is a more technical term that is usually applied to cosmetic surgery, and refers to the time after the procedure when you may need to stay in bed or avoid certain physical activities.

Depending on the procedure that has been performed, there may be additional measures that need to be performed during this period, such as dressing changes, stitch removal or lymphatic massage, which will usually be performed during your routine follow-up appointments with the cosmetic surgeon.

Time taken to see results

This refers to the point at which all swelling and bruising has gone down and the final results of the procedure can be seen. These two things may not happen at the same time; with a procedure like Botox, for example, although any redness caused by the procedure disappears fairly quickly, the product takes a few days to take effect, so you might not see a reduction in wrinkles for a week or so.

With a surgical procedure like breast augmentation, however, although you will notice an immediate increase in bust size, it will take longer for the swelling and bruising to diminish. The final results can be seen once everything has settled down.