Why smoking and plastic surgery is a bad idea

07 December 2018

Packet of cigarettesHere in Dubai and many other parts of the United Arab Emirates, smoking is largely restricted but still allowed in certain places. It’s forbidden in government facilities and enclosed public spaces, such as shopping malls and offices. Designated smoking areas are instead put in place, and people can smoke in their own home and car, but when it comes to smoking (or consuming any form of nicotine) and plastic surgery there are important reasons for why you should be doing everything you can to kick the habit.

It’s advised that patients quit smoking or consuming nicotine through any other method (including e-vaping, nicotine patches, chewing tobacco, pipes etc.) several weeks before their surgery is due to take place, and refrain from returning for several weeks following the surgery so that the risk of post-surgical complications is kept to an absolute minimum. Whether you’re a casual or regular smoker, quitting smoking will be highly beneficial to both your health and plastic surgery outcome.

How does smoking effect plastic surgery?

There is a high risk of nicotine interacting with the anaesthesia that is used during your plastic surgery procedure, which can make the effect less predictable, as well as increase the risk of infection and make healing and recovery a lengthier process - all of which I’m sure myself and my patients are keen to avoid.

How long before surgery should you quit smoking?

Put simply, the sooner you quit, the better. As mentioned previously, patients are generally advised to quit a month-or-so both before and after undergoing plastic surgery, but if you’re reading this and have your surgery scheduled in the coming months, it’d be most beneficial for you to quit right now so that the risk of complications are as low as possible.

How does smoking effect your health?

It’s no secret that smoking is bad for your health, so here’s a list of things that nicotine is known to increase the risk of:

  • Cervical cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Larynx cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Oral cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Pharynx cancer
  • Birth defects
  • Heart disease
  • Acute myeloid leukaemia
  • Bronchitis and other lung diseases
  • Stroke
  • Poor blood circulation
  • Peripheral Vascular disease

How can smoking effect your physical appearance?

As well as being a general risk to your health and well-being, smoking or consuming nicotine through other methods can also have a negative effect on cosmetic procedures and treatments.

If you’ve had facial plastic surgery, such as a facelift or eyelift, then nicotine can quickly work to reverse the positive results that you obtained from the procedure by accelerating the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and skin laxity.

For those who have taken to the knife for a  body cosmetic procedure, such as liposuction or a tummy tuck, smoking will have a negative effect on your skin and is likely to make it become prematurely loose and wrinkled.

What is the best way to quit smoking before plastic surgery?

Now that you know the reasons why smoking before plastic surgery is so important, that doesn’t mean it’s any easier for patients to kick the habit. Quitting smoking, vaping, chewing tobacco, and other methods of nicotine consumption is never easy, especially for regular users, so it’s a good idea to get the ball rolling and work towards quitting many months in advance if possible.

Here are a few tips you could consider helping you quit smoking before your cosmetic surgery operation and put yourself in the best position possible to achieve the highest quality results, while also putting your health in better shape:

  • Cold turkey - set a date and just say no to nicotine
  • Slowly decrease the daily amount you smoke
  • Use medication such as Chantix
  • Seek help and advice from a support group
  • Drink more water
  • Chew gum
  • Use of nicotine patches (though avoid several weeks before and after surgery)
  • Hypnosis
  • Start a new hobby

If you’re a smoker who has plastic surgery scheduled then I urge you to consult your plastic surgeon and seek sound advice, because ensuring you stop long enough in advance is very important. If you’d like to discuss your plastic surgery operation or general health and habits that may influence the outcome of results, or have any other questions related to the procedures that I offer, then don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can contact me by filling in the easy and convenient online contact form.


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