Smoking and Plastic Surgery: A Bad Combination

Most everyone knows that smoking can lead to a host of negative consequences, including an increased risk of cancer, vascular disease (heart and circulatory problems) and emphysema. Smoking also causes signs of premature aging such as decreased skin elasticity, which can lead to wrinkles and sagging skin.

But, did you know that smoking can also negatively impact the results of plastic surgery and increase the risk of surgical complications? Read on to learn about the specific ways that smoking can affect the aesthetic results of plastic surgery and the body’s natural healing process.

How Smoking Impedes Healing and Recovery

The body requires sound blood circulation to heal properly following surgery. Blood vessels deliver oxygenated blood to damaged tissues, helping the tissues heal. Not only does oxygen promote the body’s natural healing process, it is also necessary to keep tissue alive. Oxygen also helps combat infection, and is integral in delivering the ingredients in antibiotics and other medications to the body’s cells.

Smoking introduces nicotine into the circulatory system. Nicotine constricts blood vessels, making it difficult for the vessels to transport oxygen throughout the body.

Not to mention, by clogging the lungs, smoking increases the chance of pneumonia or other pulmonary infection.

Smoking Increases Surgical Risks in Certain Plastic Surgeries

Certain surgical treatments that involve stretching skin tissue or altering the supply of blood, such as tummy tuck, facelift and breast reconstructive surgeries involving tissue flaps, present an increased risk for smokers.

How Smoking Speeds Up the Aging Process

Smoking impedes oxygenated blood flow and increases free radicals in the blood. This leads to a decrease in skin elasticity, which can cause premature wrinkles and sagging skin. In addition, the repeated “puckering” motion made by the mouth while smoking may cause wrinkles and lines to form around the lips.

Dr. Joshua Greenwald sees patients who undergo cosmetic surgery to slow down the aging process but then counteract the aesthetic effects of plastic surgery by smoking. Don’t be one of those patients.

Suitable Candidacy for Plastic Surgery

To be a suitable candidate for plastic surgery, you must be in good overall physical and mental health. Also, you must not smoke. If you do smoke, be prepared to stop smoking completely for several weeks before and after surgery.

To schedule a one-on-one consultation to find out if you are a suitable candidate for plastic surgery, contact the practice of Dr. Joshua Greenwald by calling (914) 421-0113 or (212) 518-1642 today.