Quite often, smokers will say that they intend to quit, but in reality they never find a compelling reason to stop. Now scientists appear to have found a link with smokers who opt for cosmetic surgery and the number of them who continue smoking after they have undergone their operation.
According to a report published recently by health information service provider Wolters Kluwer, “if you’re a smoker considering cosmetic surgery, your plastic surgeon will likely require you to stop smoking for at least two weeks before your procedure. A long-term follow-up study finds that many patients receiving these instructions will quit smoking, or at least smoke less, in the years after cosmetic surgery.”
This sentiment is reflected in the approach taken by Mr Alan Park and his team. Refraining from smoking in the weeks leading up to an operation, or ideally quitting altogether, is recommended. The rationale is based in scientific evidence that shows that those who continue smoking during and after a surgical procedure are more likely to experience problems with wounds healing, particularly problematic with procedures such as tummy tucks, breast lifts or facelifts where extensive tissue dissection and manipulation takes place. They are also more likely to suffer other detrimental side effects when recovering from an operation.
Of the group of patients accessed for this recent research, two key things were identified:
- The complication rate after cosmetic surgery was higher in patients who continued to smoke
- More serious wound-healing complications occurred in two patients—both of whom did not follow the instructions to stop smoking
Cosmetic surgery and smoking: unwanted complications and challenges with cosmetic surgery recovery
The impact that smoking can have on patients’ recovery is so well known that some cosmetic surgeons won’t agree to carry out elective procedures on patients who refuse to refrain from smoking.
Having said that, most patients appear willing to take surgeons’ advice on this once the pros and cons are explained to them. Achieving the best result possible from your cosmetic surgery procedure is partly down to the surgeon’s skill but also relies on how the patient heals. Some aspects of this are beyond the surgeon and patient’s control but smoking is a matter of choice. If you’ve invested considerable time and money in improving your appearance, then surely giving up smoking for a few months – or even forever – is a small price to pay.