Orange County Plastic Surgery:
Many of us realize that quitting smoking at any point is one of the best things that patients can do to increase their overall health and longevity. However, in the case of cosmetic surgery, it is a necessary step in working toward a patient’s ideal final outcome. Some board-certified cosmetic surgeons limit the cosmetic surgery procedures they perform on smokers because smoking increases the risk of pulmonary complications and can impede wound healing, which may decrease the quality of surgical results.
In a survey by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 955 board-certified plastic surgeons were asked about their standards regarding treatment of patients who smoke. While ninety percent of the board-certified plastic surgeons surveyed said they perform elective plastic surgery on smokers, approximately fifty percent of this group stated that they limit the type of procedure they perform on smokers.
With many patients looking to their surgeon for superior skill and mastery of the most advances techniques and technology, patients who smoke are not always able to take advantage of these assets. Two thirds of the surgeons surveyed said they "usually" or "always" perform a less invasive technique on smokers. While a third of respondents said they "sometimes" change their technique.
Of the countless substances contained within tobacco smoke, nicotine and carbon monoxide are two of the most detrimental to wound healing and may cause pulmonary complications. These substances have a harmful effect on tissue oxygenation, which impairs the reparative processes of wound healing and by delaying the formation of healing tissue, the stage is set for increased scarring at the edges of the wound. It is this tendency to hinder our bodies wound healing response that may dramatically decrease the final cosmetic outcome. At the same time, smoking is associated with an increased risk of wound infections due to the weakening of neutrophil defense against pathogens.
In order to aid smokers reduce the risk of complications, Dr. Sadati asks patients to quit smoking two weeks prior to surgery. It has been shown that abstinence from smoking reduces risk levels to those of non-smoking patients, regardless of the use of nicotine patches. When considering cosmetic surgery, it is important to remember that a successful surgical outcome relies upon the patient and surgeon working together.