What are the risks of smoking before and after plastic surgery?
It is well known that smoking is bad for your health and can have many negative implications on the body, both in the short, medium and longer term.
For people who are considering any form of cosmetic surgery, smoking is something that is likely to impact their surgical suitability evaluation because smoking affects how the body is able to recover from an operation and how quick the recovery is likely to be. If you are a smoker and you are considering cosmetic surgery you should be prepared for the fact that your surgeon will recommend that you stop smoking before, during and after your operation. If this is not possible you should at least make every effort to cut down as much as possible.
Advice backed by science
Due to the high proportion of data that exists which enables us to compare and contrast smokers vs non-smokers, there is a lot of knowledge about how smoking affects the body’s ability to heal. Smoking reduces the blood flow which has a direct impact on how wounds are able to heal. Blood carries critical oxygen molecules to different areas of the body and when smoking reduces the flow of blood, the result is that wounds take longer to heal and have a greater likelihood of being becoming infected.
Smoking also damages the body’s immune system meaning that smokers have a greater risk of developing an infection or becoming unwell in the period following the surgery.
Patients who smoke also have a heightened risk that scars will remain more visible once the surgery has been completed. The oxygen contained within the blood is also a key component in helping scars heal. In the same way that the reduced oxygen affects the initial wound healing it also affects the ability for scar tissue to form, meaning that scars can often be more significant and more visible in smokers vs non-smokers.
Interestingly even passive smoking can affect how well patients heal from surgery so if you live with a smoker and are considering cosmetic surgery you may wish to limit your exposure to breathing in their second-hand smoke as it will also be having a negative effect on your body.
In recent research published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, “smokers are more likely than non-smokers to have complications after undergoing cosmetic surgery on the body, versus the face or breasts.” These findings have come from a massive study, looking at data from 129,007 cosmetic surgery patients but recovering from any cosmetic surgery procedure can be compromised if you’re a smoker.
Cosmetic surgery preparation
The best advice is to begin cutting down as soon as you can. If you are thinking of booking a cosmetic surgery consultation, then making a concerted effort to reduce your cigarette intake now will mean you are giving your body the best chance of a full and effective recovery. Mr Alan Park also explains that this also covers all nicotine products, whether vapes, chewing gum or patches that contain nicotine. For more information, call 01926 436341 to arrange a consultation.