The negative health effects of smoking are well known, and patients that smoke are consistently advised by their physicians to stop.
However, some patients may not be aware of the serious risks that smoking can have before and after any cosmetic surgery.

What Can Happen If You Mix Smoking and Plastic Surgery?

Plastic surgeons warn patients who smoke that they must refrain before AND after their procedure to limit the risk of tissue death.
Furthermore, patients that do not heed this warning may be in danger of losing some or all of the treated area as a result.
For a breast lift patient, tissue death results in the nipples turning black and falling off. The medical term for this type of negative outcome is called tissue necrosis.

How Smoking Causes Tissue Death

With any type of plastic surgery, proper blood flow to the treated area is essential for a speedy recovery and positive results.
For smokers, nicotine and carbon monoxide can reduce or stop blood flow causing that body part to die and fall off.

Stop All Nicotine Products Before and After Surgery

Any product containing nicotine, including tobacco, vaping, nicotine gum, and nicotine patch, should be stopped before and after surgery to avoid tissue death.
Patients that smoke or use any nicotine in combination with facial plastic surgery (i.e. facelift, rhinoplasty) are at a significantly higher risk of skin dying.

Smokers Can Significantly Reduce Their Risk of Tissue Death

During the initial consult, patients should be open with their plastic surgeons about smoking or any nicotine use. If patients completely stop use of all nicotine products well before and after surgery, they can significantly reduce the chance of nicotine-induced tissue death.
Being a smoker should not prevent you from having plastic surgery.
We encourage honest communication between our physicians and patients and can develop a treatment plan before and after surgery that addresses these concerns.
Please call Washingtonian Plastic Surgery today to schedule a consultation and learn more.