The truth is, any time is a good time to decide to give up smoking. Use of cigarettes increases your risk for cancer, emphysema, and vascular disease. Smoking will also stain your teeth, make your hair and clothes smell bad, and give you "tobacco breath." However, it is particularly important to quit smoking if you are planning to have any cosmetic surgery. Dallas plastic surgeon Paul Pin provides some compelling reasons why cigarette smoking and cosmetic surgery are just not a good mix.
- Complications for smokers: Nicotine from cigarettes causes small blood vessels in the skin tissue to contract, reducing the amount of oxygen they receive. Oxygenated blood is essential for promoting skin healing and delivering medications such as antibiotics. For any cosmetic surgery that involves shifting the skin, such as a facelift, breast lift or tummy tuck, this reduced flow of oxygenated blood to the skin tissue may cause increased bruising and swelling, a longer time for incisions to heal, and risk of infection, as well as the potential for raised red scars. In addition, smokers are also at a higher risk of respiratory problems from general anesthesia, as well as being at a higher risk for pneumonia and other pulmonary complications.
- What can you do?: It is recommended that plastic surgery patients stop smoking, starting a minimum of two weeks before surgery until at least two weeks afterward. You may need to give up cigarettes for even longer, depending on the type of cosmetic surgery you are planning to have. However, the best course of action is simply to kick the habit for good. Take the time to talk with your doctor well in advance of the surgery about a plan to stop smoking. There are now a myriad of methods available, from nicotine gum, to the patch, to drugs such as Wellbutrin or Chantix, to hypnotherapy or acupuncture, and support groups. Explore all your options to find the solution that will work best for you.
- A successful outcome: The truth is that patients want their cosmetic surgeries to be successful. This may well be why those who smoke are more willing to listen to the advice of their cosmetic surgeon than their regular doctor. Patients tend to be willing to quit smoking if, in turn, they can also successfully improve their appearance. Once patients quit smoking for the month of their surgery, it may be easier for them to quit completely.
Think of your surgery as an investment in yourself. You want that investment to pay off in the best possible way. With that in mind, there's no better time than now to kick the smoking habit as the first step on the pathway to a new you.
Dr. Paul Pin is a board certified plastic surgeon committed to producing excellent cosmetic surgery outcomes for our Dallas patients. To schedule your personal consultation with Dr. Pin, we invite you to contact our practice. During your appointment, Dr. Pin can determine if you are a good candidate for surgery and provide you with additional tips to help quit smoking.