Smoking and Health Risks during Surgery
You may know how smoking affects your overall health, but did you know it also impacts the success of a surgical procedure? Smoking increases your risk for a variety of complications during and after surgery and can impact your body’s ability to heal. If you are a smoker considering plastic surgery, there are a few facts you need to know before you pursue your procedure.
Smoking Increases Anesthesia Risks
Smokers have an increased risk of complications if they receive general anesthesia for a surgical procedure. Anesthesia prevents the natural ability of the lungs to clear out mucous, which can lead to a buildup of mucous secretions during surgery. It is much more likely for a smoker to experience coughing or lung spasms when going under or coming out of anesthesia, since they typically have more mucous than a non-smoker.
Smoking Ups Your Chance of Infection, Other Complications
The increase in mucous can also increase a smoker’s risk for infection after surgery. In addition, smoking affects the body’s ability to heal quickly, which can also lead to some types of infection. Lung infections, particularly pneumonia, are of particular concern for patients who smoke. Smoking can also increase your risk for cardiac arrest, heart attack and stroke during and after your procedure.
Smoking Interferes with Healing
One of the gravest concerns facing smokers after plastic surgery is that their bodies are not able to heal as quickly. Because nicotine constricts blood vessels, blood flow that is required for healthy healing is also reduced. This is especially problematic with plastic surgery procedures that involve significant removal of skin. If adequate blood flow cannot be maintained, some of the remaining tissue may take a long time to heal.
Many plastic surgery procedures like facelifts, tummy tucks and breast surgery require significant redraping of skin. If the skin cannot heal well around the incision, scarring can be left behind. This can greatly impact the overall success and the patient’s satisfaction with the procedure.
For these reasons, many plastic surgeons will not perform major plastic surgery procedures on patients that are regular smokers. Some will agree to the procedure if the patient stops smoking for at least two weeks before and two weeks after their surgery. Studies have shown that even a temporary smoking cessation can reduce risk and yield much better results for patients.
My technique of performing facial cosmetic procedures using local anesthesia decreases your chances of complications associated with smoking and general anesthesia. Additionally, many of my patients that have finally decided to quit smoking prior to their procedure, continue to be smoke-free afterwards- with an improved outlook to their overall health and wellbeing.
The desire to have a plastic surgery procedure may be just the motivation you need to kick the smoking habit for good. To learn more about how smoking affects surgical outcomes, contact Dr. Dilip Madnani’s office at 212-203-8591 today.