Smoking: Negative effects on plastic surgery results

Published on January 30, 2012 by Horowitz/Nichter

In addition to its adverse effects on general health, smoking tobacco increases the chance’s of a plastic surgery patient having complications and can negatively affect her results.

Dr. Nichter and Dr. Horowitz of the Pacific Center for Plastic Surgery would like to advise prospective patients of the dangers of smoking as they relate to plastic surgery.

A good plastic surgery result relies on good blood flow. The nicotine, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen cyanide in the blood of smokers inhibits their blood’s ability to deliver sufficient oxygen to their healing tissues. Thus, patients who smoke are at greater risk of complications and poor wound healing.

A long history of medical studies have shown revealed the risks patients take when they smoke. A 1984 study, which followed 1,100 face lift patients, “found that a smoker was 12.46 times more likely to suffer skin loss than a patient who did not smoke.”

A more recent study in 2003 reviewed 132 abdominoplasty patients. The study “showed wound healing problems in 47.9% of smokers versus 14.8% of non-smokers.”

Whether a plastic surgery candidate smokes or not is a big factor in whether a surgeon will perform surgery on that person or not. At the Pacific Center for Plastic Surgery, patients will be asked about their smoking habits, if any, which will be factored into the doctor’s decisions in her/his case.

Source: Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons