Why You Should Avoid Smoking Before and After Surgery
Bloomfield Hills, MI – Smoking is bad for your health, but did you know that smoking can be particularly dangerous both before and after plastic surgery?
Smoking introduces carbon monoxide into your body, which then affects your tissue. Nicotine from cigarettes and other tobacco products acts as a vasoconstrictor, limiting the amount of oxygen your blood vessels can carry to your body.
“Patients should stop smoking before plastic surgery,” says Dr. Ali. “It’s best to stop using tobacco several weeks before any procedure, and to refrain from smoking for several weeks following it, as well.”
Patients who smoke up until surgery can face complications during surgery, as well as longer healing times and worsened scars post-surgery. Smoking compromises our circulation, which can lead to skin breakdown before and after surgery. Additionally, smokers have a higher rate of post-surgery infection, and impaired healing can cause scarring, skin loss and necrosis.
While quitting smoking before surgery is recommended prior to any procedure, there are some where it is even more critical to ensure success. For instance, some surgeons may opt not to perform facelifts on patients because of the negative effects. The face has so many tiny capillaries that require good blood flow to aid in healing, and smoking can restrict positive blood flow, making recovery and healing harder.
During plastic surgery, your skin or other tissues will be moved, which results in altering of blood supply. Blood vessels may get divided and moved around to create the best look and shape. If the desired amount of oxygen can’t reach the area, the tissue may heal improperly or even die.
And this is true even if you’ve never before experienced issues in healing. Complications following plastic surgery are much higher than other procedures, precisely because tissues are being moved and blood supplies are being altered.
It’s also important to remember that smokers are not the only ones who need to worry about these issues. Using nicotine of any kind, including the patch, can affect your results. Patients should stop using nicotine of any kind until given the okay by their surgeon.
Some surgeons refuse to perform surgery on smokers altogether due to the deleterious effects of smoking, or make their patients sign a contract stating they won’t smoke for a certain period of time before and after their procedure.
It’s important to be completely honest with your surgeon about your nicotine habits so he can create a treatment plan that will offer the best outcomes. To avoid complications during surgery, as well as longer recovery times and worsened scars, following all of your surgeon’s directions regarding abstaining from nicotine products.
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