Besides the numerous deadly side effects of cigarettes, there are also numerous health hazards related to smoking both before and after plastic surgery. Good health is a pre-requisite for elective surgery, and a physical exam is now required in some states before going under the knife. If you are a smoker and considering undergoing a cosmetic procedure, there are some risk factors you should know about first.
Proper oxygen supply is needed for the body to heal properly following in procedure, cosmetic or not. Smoking restricts the levels of oxygen-rich blood circulating through the body by closing off blood vessels.
Higher Risk of Infection:
Smoking introduces additional bacteria into the body and can increase the risk of infection following surgery. By adding any foreign substance to the body, especially if it consists of harmful toxins, you are preventing your body from healing properly.
Aging of the Skin:
Smoking accelerates skin aging, leading to premature wrinkles and skin discoloration. If you are a long-time smoker, you could have put off that facelift or blepharoplasty by a few years if you had ditched the cigarettes early on. As for kicking the addiction, it’s always better late than never.
Longer Healing Time:
A common misconception about smoking is that you can quit just weeks before your surgery and be fine. Some procedures, such as rhinoplasty, can take up to two years for a full recovery. Smoking after surgery can cause the tissue to heal incorrectly and not function properly. By ditching the habit permanently, you are ensuring the most desirable results from your procedures
Any procedure that involves the cutting of skin is going to have some level of scarring. Even the best plastic surgery can look terrible if hideous scars mask it. By smoking and depriving your body of oxygen and nutrients, you could be contributing to an increased amount of keloid scarring.
The Bottom Line:
There are no benefits to smoking before or after plastic surgery. If you are willing to invest thousands of dollars into your appearance, you should invest the same amount of effort into your health and not jeopardize your results. By quitting smoking now, you are on a path to better health and looking better!
To Your Health & Beauty,
Kent V. Hasen, M.D.