Smoking is a major risk factor for wound healing complications, and your health, that often results in poor quality scarring – something you don’t wish to have after your cosmetic surgery procedure.
To prepare well for a procedure we would encourage patients to stop smoking at least six weeks prior to the surgery appointment and not re-start until six weeks after (or never if you can). We also advise patients not to turn to nicotine alternatives.
Nicotine causes narrowing of blood vessels which interferes with the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the healing tissues. Nicotine also causes damage to the regenerative cells and affects their function at a time when they are most needed to repair the surgical wounds.
The above effects are particularly detrimental when large incisions and dissection of the tissues takes place, for example during breast reduction or uplift surgery and tummy tuck procedures.
Smoking can cause changes to the lungs and the respiratory system meaning that post-surgery chest infections and persistent coughs are more common among smokers. Coughing episodes can cause bleeding deep in the tissues that have been freshly operated on and can result in haematomas that delay healing, cause discomfort and may affect the quality of the scarring.
Long-term smoking causes narrowing of the skin’s blood vessels which can result in reduced blood supply to the skin.
Some tips to help stop smoking include:
- Make a plan to quit smoking – think ahead to times where it might be difficult and plan your actions and escape routes in advance
- Consider your diet – a US study revealed that some foods, including meat, make cigarettes more satisfying
- Identify when you crave cigarettes – a craving can last five minutes so make a list of 5-minute strategies
To book a free cosmetic surgery consultation with one of our expert surgeons call us on 0161 394 0045 or use our online enquiry form.