During consultation, patients learn that they need to quit smoking before having plastic surgery. Health and recovery depend on following this instruction.
Plastic surgery involves rearranging skin, tissue and blood supply. After disrupting the body in this way, effective healing requires optimal oxygen supply and blood circulation. Smoking cigarettes and using nicotine in any form constricts blood vessels and compromises blood flow and oxygen delivery. Consequently, there is a higher incidence of infection, heart attack, stroke, pneumonia and death among surgical patients who smoke.
Facelift patients who smoke may see sloughing of skin on the cheeks and widened scars. Breast augmentation patients might have implant infections or even extrusions through the skin. Tummy tuck patients have an increased incidence of fat necrosis and open wounds with the need for dressing changes.
The recommended smoking cessation period before plastic surgery depends on individual circumstances and the type of procedure. Ideally, patients should quit smoking immediately and for as long as possible to avoid complications. Patients can expect their surgeon to suggest a timeline for quitting that could be anywhere between two and eight weeks before surgery depending on the operation.