The Potential Dangers of Smoking and Plastic Surgery By on July 21, 2015

Middle-aged female patientThe most effective and longest lasting way to address aesthetic concerns and enhance a patient’s natural beauty is through plastic surgery. While the results of plastic surgery are promising, there is always risk involved when a surgical procedure is being considered. Body, breast, and facial plastic surgery can rejuvenate a patient’s appearance and improve self-confidence, but it is important that precautions be taken to ensure the safety of treatment. One of the precautions that we ask patients to take is to stop smoking prior to plastic surgery, and to continue to avoid this habit for the duration of recovery. Smoking and plastic surgery are not a good combination for our Minneapolis patients because it can increase the risk of surgical complications.

How Are Smoking and Plastic Surgery Linked?

People who smoke have likely heard plenty about the dangers of smoking and the increased risk of health problems, such as emphysema and lung cancer. While this should not be news to anyone who smokes, it often does come as a surprise that smoking could affect the results of plastic surgery. You are probably wondering how the two are linked, and what one has to do with the other. While there are many ways in which smoking can affect plastic surgery, the most concerning link is that smoking limits the supply of blood and oxygen that are reaching the body’s tissues. These nutrients are needed to help the wounds, or incision sites, heal. As a result, patients who smoke before or after surgery have an increased risk of poor circulation, delayed wound healing, and excessive scarring.

Effects of Smoking on Plastic Surgery

Smoking can compromise the healing process after plastic surgery. The nicotine, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen cyanide in cigarettes all combine to affect blood flow. The blood vessels in smokers are likely to constrict, and blood is also more likely to clot, both of which can prevent blood, oxygen, and nutrients from reaching the damaged tissue. This is a serious and harmful effect that can greatly compromise the healing process.

While the effects of smoking on the healing process are probably the most severe complication that can result, this is not the only danger that smoking poses. A recent study that was presented at the European Society of Anesthesiology shows that smokers are also likely to require more anesthesia and more pain medication than non-smokers undergoing plastic surgery. The difference is significant, with smokers, on average, requiring 33 percent more anesthesia and 23 percent more pain medication than patients who refrain from smoking.

Finally, smoking can affect your appearance, accelerating the aging process and drying out the skin.

Schedule an Appointment

When experience and surgical skill are combined with proper surgical after-care, the results of cosmetic surgery can be highly successful and rewarding. If you would like to enhance your natural beauty and are interested in learning more about your plastic surgery options, schedule an appointment with Dr. Gregory T. Mesna at your earliest convenience. We look forward to meeting you!

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Dr. Gregory T. Mesna

Mesna Plastic Surgery & Aesthetic Center

Gregory T. Mesna MD, FACS, is a board-certified plastic surgeon with over 20 years of top-level experience. He performs a wide range of surgical and non-surgical procedures to enhance and rejuvenate the face, body, and breasts. He is proud to be affiliated with:

  • The American College of Surgeons (Fellow)
  • The American Board of Plastic Surgery
  • The American Society of Plastic Surgeons
  • The Minnesota Society of Plastic Surgeons

You can request a free consultation at our office in Minneapolis, MN, by contacting us online or calling (952) 927-4556.

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