27th Jun 2016

shutterstock_441281935Before any kind of plastic surgery intervention, patients are advised to follow a few recommendations and give up some behaviors to ensure an optimal healing process and good results in time. It is important that you make a full disclosure of these behaviors to your doctor. For your own good, you should let the doctor know if you are a smoker, for example, as smoking can have terrible effects during and after cosmetic surgery procedures.

 The doctor will recommend that you give up smoking for at least two weeks before the surgery and also after the surgery for as long as possible to ensure proper results and to keep potential complications due to smoking at bay. 

Smoking affects peripheral vascularization: the small blood vessels. The alterations in blood circulation due to smoking are caused by hypoxia—insufficient tissue oxygenation—and this can lead to anesthesia problems as well as wound healing issues. The problems can start as early as when the patient receives the anesthetic, and they can also occur during the healing process, making it more difficult. Complications due to smoking can include bleeding, hematomas, ecchymosis, and scar formation after the surgery. Because a smoker’s skin lacks proper oxygenation, the post-operative scars will take longer to heal, or they can heal leaving a visible red mark that is not very aesthetically pleasing. 

Another important factor to consider for patients that smoke a lot is that excessive smoking, as well as giving it up too suddenly, can produce coughing sessions that lead to blood vessel breakage in the area where the cosmetic surgery was performed, which will only lead to more complications like hematomas and the wound opening up after the surgery. For patients who smoke a lot of cigarettes per day, the doctor will recommend a gradual reduction in the number of cigarettes smoked before giving up smoking completely before the surgery. The process will start, of course, much earlier than the two weeks required before the cosmetic procedure. 

The adverse effects of smoking before and after cosmetic surgery can be more frightening than one would expect. Thus, some doctors may require the patient to stop smoking even a few months before the cosmetic procedure. If the procedure is scheduled sooner than one month or two weeks away, it is recommended that you reduce the number of cigarettes smoked per day considerably. 

Being a heavy smoker puts you at risk for infections, opening wounds, skin necrosis, and anesthetic complications. There are clinical studies demonstrating that patients who smoke develop skin necrosis up to fifteen times more frequently than patients who don’t smoke. 

It is important to remember that whatever cosmetic surgery procedure you might have, you will need to give up smoking for at least two weeks before and after the surgery to ensure good healing and avoid complications related to smoking.


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