Using Nicotine During Plastic Surgery Recovery

If you’re a smoker, it’s likely you know the risks involved. And you may even feel some resistance to reading about yet another reason to quit using nicotine.

But if you’re planning to have plastic surgery it’s truly in your best interest to give up smoking and nicotine before the procedure so that your recovery will go smoothly.

Because the fact is, using nicotine during plastic surgery recovery can result in some very negative repercussions.

Plastic Surgery Is Unique

Of course, smoking and using nicotine during any surgical procedure recovery is going to slow healing and require the body to work harder. But what makes it even riskier during recovery from plastic surgery is the intricate involvement of the blood vessels.

A board-certified plastic surgeon is required to work in layers of skin, fascia, fat, and muscle. Within each of these layers there is lifting, pulling, stretching, and repositioning that severs blood vessels. As these vessels heal, it’s the job of the remaining blood vessels to pick up the slack so that the tissues can stay oxygenated and receive the nutrients needed for healing.

Nicotine constricts blood vessels – resulting in inadequate oxygen supply to these layers. And without proper oxygen, healing is not only compromised, but you run the risk of destroying tissues.

According to statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), nicotine users are 27% more likely to experience necrosis (tissue death) after an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck). And they are 12.5 times more likely to have tissue necrosis after a facelift procedure.

And among smokers, there’s a 33% incidence of implant loss who require immediate breast reconstruction surgery with implants after a mastectomy.

And It Isn’t Just Smoking…

In case you didn’t notice, we aren’t discussing smoking as the only culprit here. The problem is nicotine. And nicotine delivery can come in many forms including gum, e-cigarettes, patches, cigars, chewing tobacco, etc.

So when your plastic surgeon says you need to stop smoking within four weeks before your procedure, he or she isn’t just talking about just giving cigarettes the ax. He or she means all forms of nicotine.

And the reason you are asked to quit at least a month before the procedure is that regular nicotine use keeps the blood vessels in a constricted state. Thus, quitting four weeks out of the surgery allows the vessels to open up and prepares them to supply the blood needed for proper healing.

Other Risks of Using Nicotine During Plastic Surgery Recovery

The above mentioned necrosis is terrifying. But perhaps the numbers weren’t enough to convince you of the problems with using nicotine when having a plastic surgery procedure.

Even if you don’t experience tissue death, you can bet you’ll be facing a heightened risk of infection during recovery. Plus, if fat cells are not able to heal, you could be burdened with hardened lumps in the targeted area. Scarring will likely be thicker and more pigmented. And you’ll experience more post-operative pain and discomfort.

In addition, you could experience permanent damage to small blood vessels, as well as an increased risk of heart attack and stroke during and after surgery, and a heightened risk of pneumonia after surgery.

Quitting Is Tough, But Worth It

Getting a confidence-boosting and life-improving plastic surgery procedure can be great motivation for finally kicking the nicotine habit. Plus, you’ll be giving your health a boost.

There’s no easy way to quit. But avoiding triggers like stress and alcohol, spending time with non-smoking friends, keeping yourself busy, and downloading apps that deliver positive reinforcement can be good places to begin.

You may even want to put an “after” picture of how you want to look after your procedure on your bathroom mirror and phone’s wallpaper for additional inspiration.

We Want to Help You Look and FEEL Better

You want to reap the benefits of your life-changing surgery. But using nicotine during plastic surgery recovery can easily put the kibosh on that.

And abstaining from nicotine use before your procedure will set the stage for a healthier you long after the surgery. So if you’re ready to say goodbye to nicotine for good, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

We’ll be happy to discuss with you any concerns you might have about quitting nicotine so you can have the best experience possible.