• Board Certified
    Philadelphia Facial Plastic Surgeon

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Smoking Affects Facelifts

Published on December 4, 2012 by

A facelift is a major commitment to your long-term health and beauty and one of the most important aspects of plastic surgery is recovery. Reducing complications is also of primary importance when going in for any surgical procedure. However, there are certain lifestyle choices that threaten the success of the surgery and even add to medical complications. Smoking is one of these lifestyle choices that can increase the chances of post-operative risks.

Cigarettes contain toxins and chemicals that actually prevent the body from effectively recovering from the trauma of surgery. Facelifts requires incisions in order to reshape the contours of your face. During the procedure, the blood supply is temporarily interrupted to these delicate tissues and requires high oxygenation to properly heal. Smoking decreases the efficient flow of oxygen and increases the odds of a protracted recovery and will usually delay the healing process. Therefore, it is essential that facelift patients enter a smoking cessation program before the surgery even takes place.

The problem with cigarettes from a surgical perspective has to do with nicotine deposits in the patient’s bloodstream. Nicotine acts as a constrictor on the blood vessels that are responsible for transporting vital oxygenated blood to the tissues. Constricting the flow of this blood can even lead to tissue necrosis, or tissue that cannot heal and subsequently dies. By refraining from all nicotine containing products, blood oxygen levels will not be effected, allowing the body the most optimal environment for healing.

Patients who are considering a facelift in Philadelphia are strongly encouraged to quit smoking for at least a month before undergoing the plastic surgery. Smoking significantly increases the chances of skin necrosis and post-operative complications. There are no downsides to quitting smoking. Not only will your facelift look better you will also feel better!