Smoking and Surgery: A Risk Factor Worth Revisiting

Plastic surgery Bryn Mawr PA | PhiladelphiaOne of the important details that we cover when treatment planning is how to prepare the body for plastic surgery. Patients discuss the use of medications and herbal supplements, and also are asked to curb certain lifestyle habits, such as alcohol and tobacco use. You would think that no questions would remain about the dangers of smoking before any surgical procedure. In fact, the advent of vaping has created more questions than ever. Here, we want to create a clearer picture.

General Surgeries and Smoking Risks

Studies on smokers and general surgery risks demonstrate a clear increase in the opportunity for complications to occur. Quitting, even weeks before surgery, significantly reduces this risk. Individuals who do not smoke are only half as likely to suffer complications after a general surgical procedure. Plastic surgery procedures are an entirely different beast.

Fine Line? Not so Much!

Research has determined that there is quite a bit of difference between a procedure such as a facelift and a general surgery such as an appendectomy. In many cases, general surgery procedures can seem more complicated due to the depth of intrusion into the body. When it pertains to potential complications, though, it is the superficial nature of plastic surgeries that creates risk – and not a small risk. Smoking increases surgical hazards by 600%!

Plastic surgeries that involve the creation of a skin flap are of particular interest because the section of skin that is only partially attached receives minimal circulation for the duration of the surgical procedure. One this tissue has been reattached, it requires optimal circulation and oxygenation to heal properly. Since smoking impedes oxygenation, patients are encouraged to stop using tobacco weeks before any plastic surgery procedure.

New Questions

So, the chemicals in cigarettes are bad for the body. What about vaping, the alternative to cigarette smoking? This is a great question, but one that cannot be completely answered at this time. Vaping means that nicotine is absorbed in the body. Smoke also enters the lungs, but in a slightly different form than cigarettes. That being said, the research on vaping is inconclusive due to the newness of this habit. Because we cannot confirm that vaping does not carry the same risks as smoking, patients are asked to quit this habit, as well, before cosmetic surgery.

Comfort and safety are two top priorities at Claytor Noone Plastic Surgery in Bryn Mawr. To schedule your consultation for cosmetic enhancement, call 610-527-4833.

Posted in: Plastic Surgery

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