If you are thinking about any kind of cosmetic surgery – and you’re a smoker – you may want to pause right there.
Whatever your reasons for wanting surgery – continuing to smoke will make you a less acceptable candidate in the eyes of most good plastic surgeons.
Any doctor worth their fees knows that smoking increases the risks from surgery and delays recovery and healing time. Not something you or your doctor want.
If you choose a board certified plastic surgeon to do your surgery – and you should – he or she will turn you away unless you stop smoking for at least three weeks before and after the surgery.
But this is the absolute minimum – if you want the best result from your cosmetic surgery and you want to be as safe as you can be – give up smoking for good.
Here’s some of the reasons your plastic surgeon won’t operate on you if you continue to smoke:
Nicotine interrupts blood flow to damaged tissues. After cosmetic surgery you need a free flow of oxygenated blood to your tissues to keep them alive. Oxygenated blood is also needed to fight off infection and get antibiotics into your system quickly.
If you smoke you will be at much greater risk of severe infections, pneumonia, and tissue death after a surgical procedure. The risk of an infection like pneumonia is even greater because of the clogging effect of cigarette smoke on the lungs.
Continuing as a smoker makes it much less likely that you will get the great results you hope for from your surgery. Smoking makes skin aging worse and is very bad news for your skin – sagging and wrinkling will return more quickly than for a non smoker after the same cosmetic surgery procedure.
If you want a radical procedure – your doctor may simply refuse outright if you’re a smoker. Procedures that involve a lot of stretching and pulling of skin – face lifts, tummy tucks and some reconstructive surgery – carry a much higher level of risk for smokers.
For many women considering a facelift or other surgery – this is the ideal time to quit smoking.
If you had to have a sudden surgerical procedure – say after a road traffic accident – there wouldn’t be anything you could do to reduce the risks from smoking. But planning to have cosmetic surgery is different – you can remove the additional risk to your health if you just quit smoking in plenty of time before your procedure.
As well as lowering the risk – if you stop smoking your face will heal quicker after cosmetic surgery and you’ll look younger for longer afterwards. Add that to the overall health benefits you’ll get from quitting and the decision seems like a real “no brainer”.