Mr Nigel Horlock

Consultant Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon


What is the recovery like after a breast augmentation procedure?

Posted by on May 15, 2018 in blog | Comments Off on What is the recovery like after a breast augmentation procedure?

Whilst breast augmentations are increasingly common and are generally regarded as routine, it’s still invasive surgery which requires a period of downtime. There are a number of variables that can affect this recovery period. For example, if you’ve had the implants placed on top of the muscle rather than under it then you can expect the recovery to be less painful and quicker by up to half.

Also, it is just a fact that people differ naturally in their ability to tolerate pain. Some plastic surgeons believe that mothers have a higher pain threshold because of the experience of giving birth.

In terms of recovery time, then the type of work you do may mean spending longer at home resting. Office workers could be back within a couple of days whereas nurses who regularly lift people might have to take a period of weeks off.

General guidelines for the recovery period after a breast augmentation

It’s probably fair to say that there’s no complete consensus on how best to approach the recovery period but generally speaking you’ll find that most cosmetic surgeons recommend similar guidelines to these below:

  1. Expect to rest for at least 3 days. This will vary depending on the type of surgery, age, underlying health, type of workplace etc. During this time don’t do any lifting, driving or vigorous exercise. If you’ve got children who want physical contact, then you might want to encourage them to climb on to your lap rather than lifting them up for a few weeks. It can take up to eight weeks for the body to be ready for heavy lifting and full activity depending on your lifestyle and job so just be careful and make sure you discuss this fully with your cosmetic surgeon.
  2. Take the prescribed pain-killing medication but don’t overdo it. n the first few days particularly, you’re going to feel tightness, pressure and some pain. This is perfectly normal and you should be taking enough painkillers to reach a point of tolerable discomfort. You won’t make it go away completely and you should also expect to be more tired than usual during the first week or so as your body heals. Some people have described the pressure as the tight feeling in the chest after a heavy cardio workout or the feeling of engorgement when breast milk first arrives.
  3. Don’t expect everything to look as you want it straight away. It’s surgery after all, so it can take up to six weeks for swelling and bruising to subside. Normally, everything should be as planned after three months other than the scar tissue. Surgical scars take 18 months to fully mature and fade. Until then scar therapy cream might be an option. Your surgeon will be able to advise on this pre- and post-op.

The reality is that although there are general guidelines for recovery each individual case is different and it’s important that you talk in detail to your plastic surgeon about the type of surgery and how best for your body to heal post-op. It’s vital that you follow their advice diligently in this period to ensure that you get the expected results from the procedure.

Is a tummy tuck more than just a cosmetic procedure?

Posted by on Apr 16, 2018 in blog | Comments Off on Is a tummy tuck more than just a cosmetic procedure?

Abdominoplasty or a tummy tuck is primarily regarded as a cosmetic procedure. It’s commonly performed on women who’ve struggled to regain their shape post childbirth (although not exclusively). According to a recent study though, the procedure has functional benefits beyond the cosmetic ones which could have a life-changing effect for some women post-partum.

The Australian study, published in the March issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) focused on two common complaints from women who’d given birth: back pain and urinary incontinence. The results were fairly clear cut with less than 2% of the 214 women studied reporting either of the conditions as still being significant six months after the surgery.

Some common post-partum conditions

During pregnancy, the stomach muscles effectively separate by stretching the seam in the middle to make space for the growing baby. Dependent on body shape and fitness levels the problem can be exacerbated but it affects nearly all pregnant women to some extent. The condition known as rectus diastasis doesn’t just leave the stomach looking flabby and out of shape. If the muscles are no longer where they should be there can be other side effects.

Poor posture is common amongst many post-partum women. Weakened muscles and a layer of flabby skin can result in ‘sway back’ (lordosis) which in turn can lead to chronic back pain. The weakened state of the stomach muscles can also leave the body more prone to ventral hernias where tissue begins to force its way through the wall of the abdomen. Stress urinary incontinence is another common condition for women who’ve undergone a vaginal birth.

The lack of muscle definition and excess skin can also lead to a general dip in fitness levels as women find it more difficult to adhere to pre-pregnancy workouts and exercise regimes.

What’s involved in a tummy tuck

Whilst the procedure is relatively straightforward it is still major surgery with up to five hours in the operating theatre and several weeks’ recuperation. Mr Horlock will have sutured the abdominal tissue into place and removed any excess skin and fatty tissue.

By re-strengthening the body’s core everything should start to improve from lifting and sitting up straight to just simply breathing. To further alleviate stress incontinence, a small obstruction can be created to stop leakage from the bladder or the tummy tuck can be combined with a hernia repair.

The study’s lead author, Dr Alastair Taylor believes that it might be time to reclassify abdominoplasty as more than just a cosmetic procedure. She commented: “By reducing the problems of back pain and incontinence, abdominoplasty with rectus repair leads to a better life for women after childbearing.”

It’s clear for any woman who’s experiencing some or all of these post childbirth conditions that a tummy tuck could be much more than just a mummy makeover.

New figures from the US show cosmetic surgery still in good shape

Posted by on Apr 5, 2018 in blog | Comments Off on New figures from the US show cosmetic surgery still in good shape

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) have recently released their annual statistics and as the organisation is the largest of its type in the world and has more than 7,000 members with over 94% of all certified cosmetic surgeons in the US, the annual report can often give an early indication of global cosmetic surgery developments.

It’s a pretty positive picture too, on the whole given the rapid technological changes. Whilst the growth in the total US number of procedures was a modest 2% from 2016 there were some individual trends that stood out.

Tummy tucks make a comeback

Tummy tucks, which had been on the decline and hadn’t even featured in the top five most popular cosmetic surgery procedures for 2016 made a surprising rebound in 2017 with an increase of over 2,000 procedures. Possible reasons could be that more post-partum women are recognising the additional benefits of a procedure that can deliver functional benefits beyond the cosmetic results.

There was also a staggering 20% growth in body sculpting and non-invasive fat procedures which would include ultrasound, radio frequency, vacuum massage, fat freezing and injectable medications. Non -surgical laser treatment for cellulite has also seen a 55% increase since 2000 with a 19% increase last year alone.

The picture in the UK isn’t that different according to UK statistics produced in February by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), of which Mr Horlock is a member of. Unlike the US, though, there is a general decline in surgical procedures (around 8% year on year). The statistics from BAAPS only covers surgical procedures and do not include treatments that are deemed ‘non-surgical’ or ‘minimally invasive’ unlike the US figures.

According to the BAAPS President Simon Withey, the downturn represents a ‘normalisation’ as there’s a growing awareness in the UK of the serious impact of surgical procedures and that surgery isn’t a ‘quick fix’ but is a longer-term commitment.

Growth of non-invasive aesthetic options

There are one or two major divergences though. Whilst liposuction has increased by 5% in the US the UK has seen a 28% reduction year on year, again this is almost certainly due to the variety of non-invasive options available now to combat fatty tissue.

Although surgery has seen a general decline in the UK the tummy tuck continues to hold its own and whilst the procedure hasn’t seen the same growth as the US since last year it has remained static whilst face and neck lifts have reduced by a staggering 42%.

The UK statistics also indicated an interesting split between men and women when it came to cosmetic surgery options. In 2016 and 2017, we saw a focus shift from the body to the face with tummy tucks down and facelifts up. Women, on the other hand, eschewed the facial treatments (facelifts down 44%) but breast augmentation was up by 7%.

In summary, the UK and US are both performing largely as expected. Yes, there were one or two surprises but allowing for the predicted correction in the UK the general view both here and Stateside confirms that cosmetic surgery remains in good shape.

Welcome to my new website

Posted by on Sep 16, 2013 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Welcome to my new website

After a lot of hard work – and some cursing when all my emails disappeared briefly – my new website has now gone live. I’m very pleased with the look of it and plan to keep updating it with more news and info for patients.

I have been performing a wide range of plastic surgery procedures, both in my NHS practice and my private practice, in the Southampton and Salisbury area for a number of years and I felt the time had come to develop a website outlining all I had to offer.

I hope prospective patients will find it a useful source of information, although nothing beats face-to-face interaction. To book a consultation and to discuss any treatment in more detail please call my Practice Manager Vanessa Head on 023 8076 49 69 or drop us a line on

Mr Horlock's NHS practice is based in the regional plastics unit at Salisbury District Hospital. He covers Salisbury, Southampton and Dorchester. He sees patients in his private practice at Southampton, Salisbury, Dorchester.

Spire Southampton Hospital
Chalybeate Close,
S016 6UY
Sophie Freud - CLINIC APPOINTMENTS: 02380 914 504
Julie Martin: 02380 764 969