How Does Smoking Complicate Your Plastic Surgery?

smoking and surgery

Smoking and surgery don’t mix. Dr. Machida recommends that all cosmetic surgery patients quit smoking for several weeks before surgery, continuing until full healing has occurred. Unfortunately, this isn’t always easy. Is it really that important to stop smoking before plastic surgery? What’s the risk?

Learn how smoking complicates plastic surgery and why it is in your best interest to quit before your procedure. If you do currently smoke, let Dr. Machida know before scheduling your procedure.

Smoking and Healing

Within your body is an elaborate system of blood vessels. These vessels transport blood and oxygen throughout the body. In plastic surgery, blood vessels are cut and tissue is lifted, tightened, and repositioned. These cut blood vessels will heal, but it takes time. While they heal, surrounding blood vessels will need to work harder to ensure that the blood supply needs of the treated area are still met. Smoking constricts or reduces the size of, blood vessels. This means that less oxygenated blood is able to travel through these vessels. This reduction in blood vessel size can lead to insufficient blood supply in treated areas and surgical complications.

Smoking while recovering from plastic surgery puts you at an increased risk for:

  • Loss of skin or tissue
  • Infection
  • Delayed wound healing
  • Increased scarring
  • Blood clots, stroke, heart attack
  • Increased pain during recovery

Some of these complications are very serious or potentially life-threatening, requiring emergency medical care.

Aesthetic complications are possible too. Decreased blood supply and delayed healing can lead to negative cosmetic outcomes including tissue death and scarring. The goal of plastic surgery is to improve the appearance, and if you’re smoking, the opposite may occur. It isn’t worth risking your life and your health for cosmetic surgery if you smoke.

It Isn’t Only Cigarettes- Avoid All Nicotine Products After Plastic Surgery

When we say smoking, many patients assume that means only cigarettes, but it isn’t the smoke that causes plastic surgery complications, it is the nicotine. Avoid using all tobacco and nicotine products including:

  • Cigarettes
  • Cigars
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Snuff
  • Hookah
  • E-cigarettes/ vape
  • Nicotine patches, lozenges, and gum

If it contains nicotine, don’t use it while preparing for or recovering from plastic surgery. Let us know if you’re struggling to quit and we can guide you to some available resources in the Inland Empire.

The Long-Term Benefits of Quitting Tobacco Before Plastic Surgery

Quitting smoking temporarily for an upcoming facelift or rhinoplasty may help you to quit smoking altogether. One study found that many smokers who initially quit for plastic surgery were still not smoking five years later. Nearly 25% had not smoked at all since their procedure and 40% no longer smoked on a daily basis. Most smoked less than they had prior to surgery.

Everyone knows that smoking is bad for your health, and quitting offers many positive health benefits including reduced risk of heart attack and some cancers and improved lung function.

If you’ve been wanting to quit smoking, perhaps an upcoming cosmetic procedure will give you the motivation you need for success. Call STC Plastic Surgery at 800-303-9541 to schedule your plastic surgery consultation with Dr. Brian Machida. Our Inland Empire plastic surgery office focuses on facial rejuvenation procedures and we offer both surgical and non-surgical treatment options.