Despite warnings, many people who undergo cosmetic surgery believe it is harmless to continue smoking against doctor’s orders. Unfortunately, there are many real dangers associated with smoking before and after cosmetic surgery.
We know that smoking is deadly and that smoking ages us by decreasing elasticity (leading to earlier sagging and wrinkling of the skin). In addition, the constant repeated “puckering” action involved in puffing on a cigarette can cause lines and wrinkles around the mouth (“smoker’s lines”).
Continuing to smoke before or after cosmetic surgery significantly increases the risk of tissue death in the operated area. Nicotine constricts the blood vessels that deliver healing, oxygenated blood to the tissues. That oxygen also inhibits infection and helps to keep tissue alive. Adequate blood flow helps deliver important medications like antibiotics.
What smokers may also be interested in knowing is that non-smokers enjoy better, longer lasting results, quicker recovery and less risk during cosmetic surgery.
Ideally, you should quit altogether. Generally, it is recommended that a patient avoid smoking for at least 2 weeks before and after surgery. As always, inform your doctor if you smoke, and then adhere to doctor’s orders.
To learn more about quitting smoking visit: The American Cancer Society.