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No Smoking…If You Want Plastic Surgery

Posted on Friday, December 27th, 2013 by Dr. Babak Dadvand

Everyone is aware of the health risks that smoking cigarettes can pose. Heart disease, lung cancer, emphysema…the list of medical problems caused by smoking is long. But this blog post is not about preaching about smoking cessation. It is about smoking and its implication on your plastic surgery results.

Nicotine is known to constrict, or tighten, the blood vessels that deliver oxygen to human tissues. As a plastic surgeon, many of the surgeries I perform involve cutting and rearranging skin and tissues that may disrupt some of the natural blood supply.  As a patient, the healing of your incisions is relying on the remaining blood supply. This is why smoking can have definite impact on healing. In fact, many studies show that smokers have a significantly higher rate of healing complications than non-smokers.

In addition to the nicotine, cigarette smoke has many other toxic chemicals and carcinogens that irritate the airways.  With the use of general anesthesia, this can increase a smoker’s risk of pulmonary issues after surgery, such as bronchitis and pneumonia. Smoking can also increase the risk of blood clots which can lead to pulmonary embolism, which can be fatal.

In my practice, any prospective patient who is smoking must stop smoking for 4 weeks prior to surgery.  Urine tests can be done on the day of surgery to see if the patient has been smoking within the last week and if so, the surgery would be cancelled.  The entire point is to ensure not only the best results for my patients, but also the safest possible outcome with the lowest risk of complications.

To learn more about plastic surgery and to see before and after pictures visit my website at drdadvandplasticsurgery.com.

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