I often have patients in the office or at a seminar ask, "How many cosmetic procedures can be done at once?" And the short answer is, "It depends." The longer answer revolves around a few things. First, are the areas of the body that you want to treat in close proximity? Second, how much time can you take off work to recover? And lastly, how many procedures is your plastic surgeon comfortable performing at once? I'll address each of these questions below.

Are the areas you want treated in close proximity?

Most patients usually focus on one area of the body when it comes to multiple procedures. For example, they would like a facelift and an eyelid lift at same time (close proximity), or nose job and chin implant, or facelift and browlift. These are complementary procedures, meaning that it makes sense to do these at the same time because they give the face an overall rejuvenated appearance.

In other words, a tired facial appearance is only partially corrected with a facelift. If your eyes still look tired, then the face still looks tired, but a facelift and eyelid lift can provide a fully rejuvenated face.

Another portion of the body that almost begs to be rejuvenated with multiple procedures and in close proximity are the breasts and abdomen. This is why a "mommy makeover" is such a common procedure. It typically brings the mother back to her prepregnancy state by lifting and volumizing her breasts and also restoring her abdominal contour before a baby got a hold of it.

How much time can you take off work to recover?

If you only have a week off from work, then maybe an eyelid lift is all you should do to recover in time. But if you have two weeks off, then a facelift/eyelid lift is doable. I would also give a patient similar advice on time off (two weeks) if they want a combined procedure with a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty).

A tummy tuck with a breast augmentation or a tummy tuck with an armlift is definitely another option for massive weight loss patients, but only if they have two weeks off to recover.

How many procedures is your plastic surgeon comfortable performing at once?

My chairman during my fellowship often had good advice for patients who wanted multiple procedures at the same time. If the first procedure took a little longer than expected, he would come back another day to do the second procedure if he was worried the patient might be under anesthesia for too long.

The opinion of what is too long is a number that changes with each doctor and maybe even changes with each patient. For example, four hours may be reasonable for a 30-year-old undergoing a mommy makeover, but four hours may be too long for a 70-year-old patient. These discussions must be had prior to surgery so the doctor and patient both understand the appropriate limitations of multiple-procedure operations.

Having said all that, the bottom line is that more than one procedure can in fact be done at once, but safety is always the priority.