When plastic surgery is being planned, one of the important topics of conversation is how lifestyle can affect the outcome and recovery process of the intended procedure. Smoking, in particular, is a habit that surgeons encourage patients to kick before undergoing their elective surgery. This recommendation is nothing new, and it is well-known. That being said, questions have become more common now that alternatives to cigarettes have become the norm. We want to clear the smokescreen around smoking and plastic surgery.
A Look at General Surgery
The effects that smoking has on surgical recovery have been well-documented. The medical community understands that smokers have twice the risk of non-smokers when it comes to risks associated with surgery. That’s general surgery; plastic surgery is significantly different.
General Surgery and Plastic Surgery: a Comparison
A general surgical procedure such as appendectomy incurs incisions through the skin into deeper tissues. Plastic surgery procedures are different on one pivotal point: these procedures often revolve around superficial tissue and skin. Some of the most-studied surgeries, breast reduction, facelift, and abdominoplasty, involve skin flaps, segments of skin that are preserved through minimal connection with a small group of vessels. For the skin flap to heal properly, it needs optimal circulation during the recovery period.
Research on smoking and plastic surgery has revealed a substantially higher risk than smoking and general surgery. Where the latter is two-fold, as mentioned, the increased risk for plastic surgery on smokers is 600%.
Is Vaping Different?
Ok, so you know you should quit smoking before you move forward with that breast augmentation, reduction, or other surgery. But what about vaping, or even marijuana? There is no tobacco to speak of, so circulation should not be an issue, right? The simple answer is that e-cigarettes (vaping) and marijuana do not have the same toxic chemicals that are inherent to cigarettes. The long-form answer is that studies on vaping are only just beginning. That means there is no data to date that supports a safer surgical process for the person who uses e-cigarettes instead of the conventional cigarette.
Recommendations Stand Solid
Because there is typically a time to plan for plastic surgery, surgeons continue to hold to the longstanding recommendation that patients should quit smoking – any time of smoking – several weeks before surgery. When the result of that surgery will be with you for life, doing whatever it takes to maximize tissue healing makes ultimate sense.
Do you want to learn more about cosmetic plastic surgery to enhance your appearance? Call our Bloomington office at 309-664-1007.