The Risks of Smoking Before & After Plastic Surgery
Is smoking dangerous for cosmetic surgery patients? Anyone planning a cosmetic surgery procedure should AVOID smoking. Smoking before surgery and during post-op recovery can cause problems to your new aesthetic surgery results and your health. There are many benefits associated with quitting smoking well before the date of your cosmetic surgery.
Benefits of Quitting Smoking
- Non-smokers have fewer wound-related complications and far better skin healing processes
- This means non-smokers are more likely to end up with less problematic recovery and a better-looking scar
- Smokers, on the other hand, are far LESS likely to heal well because their health and immunity are severely compromised by smoking and toxic chemicals in tobacco, nicotine and cigarette smoke (vaping and cannabis are NO exception)
Download Dr Mark Gittos’ Guide to Plastic Surgery Recovery
Top 10 Reasons for Cosmetic Surgery Patients to Avoid Smoking
Patients undergoing any type of cosmetic or plastic surgery should know:
1. Smoking Delays Healing
- You lack important blood nutrients when you smoke, especially Vitamin C – a necessary nutrient for wound healing and proper scar formation
2. Infection Risks Are Higher When Healing Takes Longer
- Delayed wound healing means your vulnerability to infections is extended
- You could get a serious bacteria contamination or staph infection
- These are more difficult to treat with medications if you are still smoking
3. Blood Clots and DVT Risks Could Be Higher
- Smoking is a recognised risk factor for blood clots/deep vein thrombosis and other circulatory diseases or strokes, and you don’t want to add to the potential surgery and general anaesthetic risks
4. Necrotic Breast or Nipple
- Your blood cell functions, immunity functions and circulation are all affected by smoking – even one cigarette a day isn’t OK
- If you smoke before or after plastic surgery, you could be confronted with skin necrosis (tissue ischemia) caused by the improper oxygenation of the tissues after the surgery
5. Medication Costs Might Be Increased
- Smoking tends to have an impact on the effect of other substances, including medications- this means they often don’t work as well as for non-smoking patients
- Plus, if your smoking impacts your results, you might need to have revision surgery
6. Fat Transfers Are Less Likely to Be Successful
- If you have fat transfer to breasts and you smoke before and after the surgery, there is a higher risk of fat not surviving in the new location. This means that you might end up paying more, having more sessions of fat transfer to get similar results to a non-smoking patient
7. Wasted Money
- Smoking is also damaging to your budget
- Cigarettes, tobacco, e-cigarettes, vaping equipment and cannabis are expensive – (some are also illegal)
8. Increased Risk of Bad Scarring
- One of the main concerns for patients undergoing plastic surgery is the scars that naturally occur after surgery. Visible scars are not a desirable outcome; however, bad scarring can be an issue for patients who smoke before and after the surgery. The longer the wound healing is, the higher are the chances of a bad looking, visible scar
9. Surgery Results Might Be Affected
- Following Dr Gittos’s recommendations during the recovery period is essential for the success of your surgery. If you smoke during the recovery, the results of the surgery might be affected and you might end up with unsatisfactory results caused entirely by smoking
10. Getting Plastic Surgery Can Make the Decision to Quit Easier to Take
- Wanting to undergo cosmetic surgery and needing to quit smoking beforehand has helped many former-smokers to remain Non-smokers over the longer term
- This period of your surgery planing could be the best time to become inspired to quit for good
- Seeking professional help can be of benefit and keep you on track
- You are also potentially going to feel happier about yourself after surgery, meaning more prone to want to improve your health at every level (this can vary but many patients discuss this in online cosmetic surgery forums)
You need to quit way before your surgery date as it’ll be harder afterwards.
- TIP: Opt-out of all Vaping, electronic cigarettes and smoking tobacco before AND after surgery (ideally at least 3 months before and indefinitely afterwards)
- Smoking habits are DANGEROUS for cosmetic surgery patients (breast augmentation patients included)
FAQs about Smoking and Plastic Surgery
Can I smoke before or after a boob job?
- Smoking after a breast augmentation is to be avoided! Wound opening can occur and this can affect the healing process and the results of your surgery. Smoking can add to your existing complication risks due to poor oxygenation levels in your bloodstreams, compromised lung functions and blood circulation issues (think DVTs, infection and anaesthesia risks). Plus, if you end up getting an infection after breast surgery – or other complication – these are likely to be more complicated, longer lasting and difficult to treat effectively.
Can I quit after my cosmetic surgery instead of before?
- Don’t tell yourself that you’ll quit after your procedure. It’s far better to quit smoking before having cosmetic surgery than to think it’ll be easier afterwards. Otherwise, during your surgery recovery period, you might be tempted to go back to smoking – out of boredom or due to feeling a bit emotional. You’re better off quitting well in advance and establishing your healthier lifestyle. There are many advantages to doing so, including that your journey will tend to be less prone to problems.
Why is smoking before or after surgery a bad idea for cosmetic surgery patients?
- Any form of smoking before or after your cosmetic surgery procedure – no matter what that is – should be avoided. And that means, not even one cigarette a day. Here’s how smoking can affect your surgery results and harm your outcome AND your health. Remember, this warning applies equally to smoking and/or vaping of any forms:
- nicotine and tobacco
- flavoured herbs
- cannabis or other illicit drugs that are smoked or inhaled
- haku bars
- Smoking even increases your bruising risks and infection risks after having cosmetic facial injections.
Smoking affects your brain chemistry, mood, hormones, fertility, skin health, retinal functions (eyesight), dental health, nasal passages, lungs, vocal chords, blood circulation, immune functions and more. It even down-regulates other substances and leads to co-addictions. All of which impact your likelihood of complications that could deter a good result.
Further Reading about Smoking and Recovery
- The influence of smoking on vitamin C status in adults
- Blood Clots After Surgery
- Wound healing and infection in surgery: the pathophysiological impact of smoking
About Dr Mark Gittos FRACS (Plast) – New Zealand Plastic Surgeon
Practice locations in Herne Bay Auckland, Northland and Bay of Plenty – Kerikeri, Whangarei, New Plymouth & Tauranga
Dr Mark Gittos is a leading Specialist Plastic Surgeon and operates a practice in Herne Bay, Auckland and in the UK. The practice focuses on both surgical and non-surgical procedures, each designed to help restore, improve or change a physical characteristic or problem. The first step in every case is to talk through your personal requirements and explore all the options, before deciding on the most effective solution.
Dr Mark Gittos offers high quality, natural-looking cosmetic surgery results and is highly experienced in Breast, Body and Face Surgery having performed over 4000 Surgeries in the last 26 years. With worldwide expertise Dr Gittos is an expert in breast, face and body surgery for men & women.
Naturally, before any treatment is begun, we will explain clearly the advantages and risk factors; so that you have the information you need to make an informed decision that is best for you. Visit the practice to find out more.
Please NOTE: Dr Gittos only performs surgery on non-smoker patients with a BMI less than 30. To check your BMI please visit the NZ Heart Foundation website. For help giving up smoking before surgery visit the Smoke Free website
Do your Research
- Read the Website and Blogs relevant to your procedure
- Browse our Frequently Asked Questions including how to choose a Surgeon for your procedure
- Download and read the FREE Guides to Surgery
What to Bring to your Plastic Surgeon Consultation
- Bring a friend or relative to help discuss the information and your choices
- Take lots of notes and read the documents provided thoroughly
- Dress in simple clothes as you may need to undress for examination
- Bring your medical referral and any relevant medical documents or test results
Book your Initial Surgery Consultation
- A Referral from your GP or specialist is helpful but NOT essential – you can have a consultation without a GP Referral
- Email us or Call on 09 529 5352 to arrange your surgeon consultation appointment.
- Book a consultation with Dr Gittos by paying the Consultation Fee – $350 incl GST
Traveling for Surgery? – Consider post-surgery luxury recovery in a Hotel with LuxeCare
Please contact us to arrange to book a consultation with our Specialist Plastic Surgeon or to speak with our Patient Care Advisor.