Anyone who is considering a cosmetic surgery procedure is likely aware that they will be asked to stop smoking. This conversation is not new; surgeons and their patients have been talking about it for many years. Researchers have spent years studying the effects of smoking on the body. They have also studied the effects that smoking has on various surgical procedures. Rather than just tell you that you need to stop smoking before a cosmetic procedure, we want to explain why.
General Surgical Procedures for Smokers
Patients who are scheduled for general surgery, such as gallbladder removal, are told to stop smoking beforehand. This is because research has indicated a two-fold risk for post-operative complications in the smoker’s body. The thing about this particular statistic is that we cannot use it when discussing plastic surgery. The two types of procedures can be significantly different.
Plastic Surgery is Unique
When a patient undergoes a plastic surgery procedure, such as a facelift or breast lift, there is more than a minor incision being made. Certain plastic surgeries require that the surgeon creates a skin flap. A skin flap is marginally attached to surrounding tissue, sometimes only by a few inches. During surgery, the sectioned-off tissue receives a fraction of the circulation and oxygenation it did when fully attached. After surgery, the disrupted superficial tissues and skin are in dire need of optimal blood flow, something that smoking dramatically impedes. According to research, surgical risks for smokers is 600-times that for non-smokers.
The Next Question
Even though most people are aware that smoking can inhibit optimal healing from any injury or surgery, there is a new question being posed: what about vaping? Vaping is such a popular alternative to cigarettes that we cannot deny this is a good question. The fact is, vaping is new. Relatively few studies have reached completion; none of which focus on surgery outcomes for individuals who “vape.” Without substantial documentation to confirm safety, the recommendation for vaping is that a patient stops using e-cigarettes weeks before cosmetic surgery.
One of the priorities we have at Signature Plastic Surgery is to adhere to stringent safety standards that promote optimal outcomes for our patients. Contact our office near Las Vegas for more information on our services.