Most people who are in the planning stages of a cosmetic plastic surgery procedure have heard more than you would think necessary for giving up cigarettes. However, the question regarding smoking has picked up steam in recent years, largely due to the increased use of “vaping,” and even marijuana use. Because the topic of smoking has historically revolved around cigarettes and the toxic chemicals contained therein, it is understandable that patients who use an alternative may wonder about the danger related to their situation. We want to clear the air.
Smoking and General Surgeries
Evidence suggests that patients who smoke in the weeks before a general surgical procedure have two-time the risk for complications as those who stop smoking or have never smoked. A two-fold risk is nothing to shake a stick at, but it gets even more harried when we look at plastic surgeries.
Differences Between General and Plastic Surgeries
There is a notable difference between something like gallbladder removal and plastic surgery procedures like face lifts. One of the primary differences is that plastic surgeries often involve tissue disruption at the uppermost layer of connective tissue and skin that extends beyond the standard incisions of general surgery.
According to research, the risks associated with plastic surgery increase 600% for individuals who smoke. This directly relates to the stretching, tightening, or rearranging of the skin that is performed during a good number of plastic surgeries. Frequently studied procedures include abdominoplasty, facelift, and breast reduction. Each of these procedures involves the creation of skin flaps, sections of skin that are incredibly sensitive to blood circulation, and therefore smoking.
What about Vaping?
Vaping nicotine products is a practice that is still in its infancy. Research is ongoing, but thus far supplies no quantitative data to confirm the safety of this habit versus cigarette smoking, other than that vaping substances seem to contain fewer toxic chemicals than cigarettes. That being said, there is also minimal information about exactly what is in the e-cigarette cartridge, and what it may do to the body. You may not be aware, but there was a time when cigarette smoking was touted as a healthy habit! We wouldn’t want to repeat history by assuming the same of vaping.
The Recommendation Remains the Same
There are few instances in which plastic surgery cannot be planned far enough in advance to provide ample time to stop smoking. The recommendation to quit at least 4 weeks before surgery remains, regardless of the substance used. After just 2 days, all carbon monoxide and nicotine from cigarettes clear out of the body. After about 5 days, circulation is significantly improved. Who can argue with the value of that?