Why Do I Have To Stop Smoking Before Plastic Surgery?
As a doctor, of course I believe that no one should ever smoke. There is no debate that smoking is harmful to your health and can cause cancer, emphysema, birth defects if you smoke while pregnant, and also trigger asthma.
As a board certified plastic surgeon, specializing in cosmetic plastic surgery, to stop smoking at least 3 weeks prior to your surgery is critical for obtaining the best esthetic results. I find that by explaining the reasons why smoking is harmful makes my patients more willing to quit.
The chemicals in cigarette (and marijuana) smoke can shrink small blood vessels, and lead to poor circulation. Any surgery that tightens skin such as facelift, breast lift, or tummy tuck, damages blood flow to the skin. Normally, healing will still occur due to the small vessels. In smokers, there is less of a reserve, and skin can literally die or fail to heal properly. As you might imagine, have a hole on your face, breast or stomach is not attractive.
Smoke also retards wound healing in general, and can affect scar quality. This is true even with second hand smoke, and I tell my patients whose spouses smoke to stay away from them while they smoke during the healing process.
Smokers also are at a higher risk of anesthesia complications, as they sometimes do not have proper lung function. Anesthesia requires exchange of gases through the lungs, and poor exchange can lead to poor outcomes.
Cosmetic plastic surgery is not life saving or is it ever an emergency. Because of that, at Yager Esthetics we need to reduce your risks as much as possible. Stopping smoking is so important in this process, and we encourage everyone to do so. Be safe and smart- lying to your doctor about not smoking can increase your risks even more, as the tightness of the pull during surgery is different for smokers as well.