Why Quitting Smoking is Imperative Before Plastic Surgery
With all of the known health risks associated with cigarettes, no doctor would tell a patient that it was okay to continue with their smoking habit. But even if a person ignores the warnings of the surgeon general and their regular doctor, it is absolutely imperative to quit the habit before undergoing surgery. Atlanta plastic surgeon Dr. John Leroy, recognizes the risks of smoking and surgery, and that is why he insists that all of his cosmetic surgery patients refrain from smoking a minimum of 2-4 weeks before surgery as well as 2-4 weeks after undergoing their procedure.
The problem with smoking and surgery is that the nicotine contained in cigarettes works to interrupt blood circulation. Interruptions in the circulatory system can lead to problems with healing, can cause infections, and can result in more pronounced post surgical scarring.
Recently featured on CNN was a woman named Susan Depiro, a breast implant and liposuction patient who considered herself a smoker. Fearful of increased scarring after surgery, she quit smoking 2 weeks prior to the procedure; but giving into the addiction, she started smoking again just days after surgery. She then goes on to describe what was a persistent “stabbing, burning feeling” in the area under the breast – a condition which turned out to be necrosis, or the dying of skin tissue, from lack of circulation caused by the nicotine.
While this example is an extreme case, it highlights the importance of quitting smoking before and after undergoing a cosmetic procedure. In fact, patients should not even be around second hand smoke. The longer a patient goes without cigarettes in their life, the less of a risk there will be of developing complications.
Dr. John LeRoy featured in The Atlantan Magazine's Health and Beauty Top Board Certified Physicians Section
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