Is it safe to smoke before surgery? This is a common question that many people have when they are scheduled to undergo a surgical procedure.
If you’re a smoker, the last thing you want is someone ordering you to quit.
The past decades have been filled with anti-smoking messaging, and you’re likely tired of being lectured.
However, if you plan to have cosmetic surgery, you might want to consider kicking your habit once and for all seriously.
Cosmetic surgery can do wonders for your appearance.
A facelift can turn back the clock.
A breast augmentation can make you turn heads wherever you go.
And a Brazilian butt lift can give you more oomph to your backside when it seems like your genes may have let you down.
But cosmetic surgery and smoking tobacco do not mix.
Keep reading to discover why smoking harms your health as a cosmetic surgery patient.
You’ll also find a few helpful tips to help you quit smoking cigarettes for good.
Why Quit Smoking Before Cosmetic Surgery?
Your cosmetic surgeon won’t tell you to stop smoking out of concern for your lungs, though that is one of the reasons.
Your surgeon will want you to quit because smoking does specific things to your body that can cause complications while undergoing one or more cosmetic procedures.
The nicotine in cigarettes, for example, can cause blood vessels to constrict. This can limit the flow of blood and cut off circulation to some tissue.
During cosmetic surgery, smoking could cause the area around the incision to become devoid of proper blood flow to the area.
Tissue necrosis can result.
What is Tissue Necrosis?
This irreversible condition causes premature death of body tissue and is caused by inadequate blood flow to the area.
During any given procedure, the surgeon will sometimes create lateral incisions around the treatment area.
This technique allows the surgeon to reposition the tissue to be corrected.
The method has the unfortunate side effect of severing the end of blood vessels. This is a side effect that is typically not associated with other surgeries, such as an appendectomy.
While this technique is safe, it’s only safe when the blood vessels throughout the body are fully functioning and healthy.
Smoking can contribute to tissue necrosis through the shrinking of blood vessels and limiting of blood flow to cosmetic treatment areas.
When tissue necrosis happens, the dead tissue must be removed.
This means that you could find yourself missing a piece of skin or other tissues around the incision site.
Nicotine Can Create Cosmetic Surgery Complications
Tissue necrosis is not the only complication to worry about as a smoker who is considering having cosmetic surgery.
Smoking can also lead to blood clots, infection, fat necrosis (which causes hard lumps to form underneath the skin), and permanent blood vessel damage.
You also place yourself at an increased risk for stroke or heart attack as a cosmetic surgery patient who smokes.
Delayed Wound Healing
Your cosmetic surgery treatment plan includes a healing period. After that period, and following the resolution of any swelling, your true cosmetic surgery results will be revealed.
As a smoker, you risk delaying your recovery time as a cosmetic surgery patient.
Slower healing can alter your treatment plan, thus skewing your results.
You are also at increased risk of infections and thick, wide scars if your body fails to heal efficiently.
Quitting smoking can help your body heal efficiently, thus improving your chances of receiving stellar results with small or nearly hidden scars.
Smoking cigarettes can lower your tolerance for pain, which is exactly what you don’t want as you head into major surgery.
Studies show that regular smokers need 33% more anesthesia during their procedures and need to take 23% more pain medication during their surgical recovery compared to those who don’t smoke.
Life Threatening Complications
As a smoker, you have a higher chance of developing a condition during or after your surgery that could limit your life.
In addition to heart attacks and stroke, you are also susceptible to deadly pneumonia.
Waste of Money
Smoking cigarettes is an expensive habit. Quitting months in advance can help you save money that could be better put toward your cosmetic surgery.
If you are a smoker and find yourself considering cosmetic surgery, you also face potentially throwing your money right down the drain.
That’s because you are less likely to be pleased with your results as a smoker due to slowed healing and other complications.
Not only that, but you may have to have additional surgeries to remove implants, for example, which can cost even more financial resources you may not have.
Quitting smoking before cosmetic surgery is not only smart, but it also represents the healthier and financially savvier way to go.
Use Cosmetic Surgery as a Good Motivation to Quit Smoking
By now, you know how bad cigarette smoking can be for you as someone considering one or more cosmetic treatments.
As the day of surgery approaches, use this time to eliminate the smoking habit from your life.
Doing so can save you money and increase your chances of experiencing dramatically improved results.
You’ll have faster healing, less pain, and smaller (or nearly invisible) scars.
Lastly, quitting smoking cigarettes can make you healthier and lead to a potentially longer life.
Use this time to quit smoking for you and the stellar cosmetic results you are sure to achieve.
How to Quit Smoking Before Cosmetic Surgery
Those who have succeeded in quitting smoking say it’s one of the most difficult challenges they’ve ever had to overcome.
Quitting smoking can bring about feelings of depression and mourning, as if you’ve lost a close friend or family member.
Quitting smoking before cosmetic surgery first takes a commitment from you to become smoke-free.
Remind Yourself Daily
Tell yourself every morning when you wake up, “I am a non-smoker. Today, I will not smoke.”
Keep a calendar and mark the day of surgery. Decorate the date box so you truly look forward to the time when your appearance will be transformed for the better.
Next to the calendar, place a photograph that depicts the results you hope to achieve with cosmetic surgery. Look at the photo whenever the urge to smoke is strongest and remind yourself of why you want to have cosmetic surgery.
Avoid smoking triggers. For instance, if you tend to smoke and drink alcohol at the same time, you might want to abstain from drinking for a while.
Eliminate ashtrays and smoking accessories from your home and get rid of all lighters and cigarettes.
Clean up any butts you find around your property.
If you’re accustomed to smoking while driving your vehicle, keep candy or gum in the glove box to keep your cravings for cigarettes at bay.
Occupy Your Mind and Body
Keep your mind busy. People tend to want to light up whenever they become bored. Form a new hobby or put more effort into your current hobbies.
You can also do chores, exercise, or otherwise engage in activities that take your mind off your smoking habit.
Be Careful Who You Hang With
Hanging around other smokers will make it more difficult to stop the habit. Spend time in smoke-free zones. See a movie or spend time with family and friends who don’t smoke.
Get Non-Smoking Assistance
The app store on your smartphone has several resources for quitting all sorts of habits, including smoking cigarettes.
The apps can be used to monitor your progress and manage your nicotine cravings. Many even give you tips to help you stop smoking, and other tools you’ll find invaluable as a committed non-smoker.
The above advice will not be easy to adopt. You might stumble a time or two as your cravings become significant and the urge to smoke takes over.
What if You Can’t Stop Smoking?
Anytime you light up, don’t kick yourself. Get right back on the horse and kick your will to quit into high gear.
Toss the pack you just bought in the trash or extricate yourself from the friend or family member who let you borrow the cigarette in the first place.
Make good decisions that contribute to quitting; eventually, you’ll reach the smoke-free finish line.
If you have tried all the above and you can’t seem to toss smoking for good, talk to your doctor.
There are non-nicotine prescription medications that can help you quit, and of course, there are over-the-counter aids like gums and patches for those nervous about going cold turkey.
How Do You Know When You’ve Quit Smoking?
You’ll know you’re smoking-free when you suddenly realize you haven’t thought about lighting up all day.
Maybe a few days pass, and you realize that you are finally smoke-free.
That’s a momentous day where you will be primed for excellent results as a cosmetic surgery patient.
How Soon Before Cosmetic Surgery Should You Quit Smoking?
For best results, your cosmetic surgeon will suggest you quit smoking at least three to six months in advance.
That can give your blood vessels and other body parts time to heal and revert to proper function after years of subjecting yourself to smoke nicotine, and other mysterious ingredients.
Schedule a Consultation with a Board-Certified Cosmetic Surgeon
If you are a smoker considering cosmetic surgery, you now have several reasons and methods to quit.
If you are ready to experience the boost in confidence that comes with a cosmetic treatment, Moein Surgical Arts can help.
Dr. Moein and his surgical staff can help you feel right at home as you seek to improve your appearance.