Smoking no good before or after cosmetic surgery

Everybody knows that smoking tobacco products of any type is not good for you.  Rates of smoking in the US have come down but still 30% of the population smokes.

It is important for patients to stop smoking before and after any cosmetic plastic surgery. See below

Preparing for cosmetic surgery

Most Board certified plastic surgeons will not even perform some surgeries like face lift if patients smoke; we know the disaster that could happen with smokers and facial surgery.

I require my patients to stop smoking for at least 7 days before and 7 days after any cosmetic surgery. The longer the better.

stop smoking

Bad effects of smoking cosmetic surgery

Lung cancer is an obvious cause of smoking. Smoking also damages your skin making you look old. For plastic surgeons though, effects of smoking are much more immediate and important for the results you want.

1. Tar

All tobacco products create tar when burned. That is a dark, gooey material you can squeeze out of filters. It is also what lines your lungs. With cosmetic surgery needing general anesthesia, tar build up makes it more difficult for your lungs to clear normal secretions caused by anesthesia. You end up coughing more, and creating even more secretions. Coughing after plastic surgery increases your blood pressure and the risk of bleeding. It also hurts!

2. Nicotine

The main drug effect of tobacco is due to Nicotine. The high from smoking is due to nicotine. All types of tobacco products including electronic cigarettes have nicotine. Of course chewing tobacco does not give you tar.

This drug causes a number of effects; both a stimulant and a relaxant.

It will increase glucose  and adrenalin in the blood and cause stimulation. It increases brain concentration and memory and decreases appetite and pain. It also increases Dopamine ( a brain neurotransmitter) which is involved in enhancing our brain’s perception of pleasure and relaxation. It make you feel good.  Sounds like the perfect drug to give to patients after surgery! However it also acts a an arterial vasoconstrictor. It cuts down on the blood supply to the skin. In fact, each cigarette will decrease the blood supply to the skin 50% for 10 minutes. Imagine having an elastic band tied around your finger for 10 minutes. Your finger would not be happy! If you have 3 cigarettes that is 30 min etc. … Wounds that do not get blood will not heal and will fall apart with dead skin and tissues. Not good.

How to stop smoking before plastic surgery

Stopping smoking before and after surgery is important . But, how to stop smoking before plastic surgery is a not so easy. Get past the first three days and the rest is a breeze.

The trick to stopping smoking is to substitute the rewards that your brain has come to associate with nicotine. Every time you think of a cigarette, you will need do something else to substitute for the pleasure you had previously from nicotine.

It’s a question of breaking the habit with respect to time of day.
For example smoking  after meals, every time you enter a car, or  when you feel stress.
Substitute nicotine effects. For example, drink a glass of water, go for a walk around the block, eat something sweet like dried fruit, raisins, or chocolate . All of these will increase Dopamine in the brain and make you feel good the way nicotine did. One of the best methods to increase Dopamine is to have more sex.
You will have to do something to get tension release.
Going told turkey without support usually leads to failure.
By the way, if your partner or other people in the house smoke it makes it more difficult for you to quit. Maybe they can quit along with you!