With nearly 20 million people receiving cosmetic surgery in the United States per year and 31 million people smoking or vaping a year, there is bound to be some overlap. Outside of already accelerating the aging process by damaging the skin and causing wrinkles, the habit can be life threatening during an operation and cause poor healing afterwards. Here are three reasons why Grossman | Capraro Plastic Surgery ensures that our patients are avoiding nicotine prior to their procedure.
It Causes Complexities with Anesthesia
During an operation, it is the anesthesiologist’s priority to make sure a patient is stable and breathing. When their lungs have been put at risk due to nicotine inhalation, this task becomes significantly more difficult. Often a ventilator is required just to make sure the patient is breathing throughout their time in the operating room, and that’s not to mention the higher probability of obstacles like pneumonia or lung collapse during the healing process.
The Heart has to Work Harder
Nicotine causes the narrowing of blood vessels, meaning that circulation is not at its optimal level. In everyday activities and especially in an operation, this can be problematic. During surgery, this means that a patient will have higher blood pressure in combination with 37% lower blood flow (oh, and that’s only from one cigarette), creating a high risk for complications either during or after the procedure including heart attacks or strokes.
Healing Becomes More Challenging
In line with the stress smoking places on the heart, the lack of blood flow in addition to lower levels of oxygen (caused by an increase of carbon monoxide in the body), means healing turns into a slower, more complicated process. In other words, nicotine can cause high risk of infection and poorly healed scars, not necessarily what one would want following a cosmetic procedure. This majorly applies to operations that are highly invasive such as Tummy Tucks, Breast Reductions, Breast Lifts, and Facelifts.
If I’m a Smoker, What Should I Do?
While all this information can be daunting, you can still achieve your cosmetic goals! Dr. Philippe A. Capraro insists that, if a patient does smoke, they must stop for 3-4 weeks before surgery as well as 3-4 weeks after. Allowing this time for your body to recover will greatly reduce the likelihood of any of the aforementioned risks. If any cosmetic side effects do occur, like raised or dark scarring, we have a solution for that! Geri Dellacroce, our medical aesthetician can treat with Potenza Radiofrequency Microneedling and/or cosmetic tattooing to reduce the appearance of unwanted scars.