It is important to take care of our bodies, from general health and well-being to recovery from plastic surgery, the lifestyle choices you make daily have a real and measurable impact.
One substance that has been proven to have negative effects on the body is nicotine. This negative implication extends to plastic surgery and healing/recovery.
If you are considering cosmetic surgery and routinely use nicotine, it is time to consider the effects this drug has on sabotaging recovery and desirable outcomes. The last thing you want is to invest time, money and recovery on a procedure that delivers sub-optimal results simply because you opted to continue use of nicotine afterwards.
Quitting Cigarettes Might Not be Enough
It is important to quit smoking for many reasons, but in this case, nicotine substitutes may be just as bad.
In order to avoid sabotaging your surgery, you must also avoid:
- Nicotine patches
- Chewing tobacco
- Cigars and Pipes
- Nicotine gum
- And other nicotine products.
The Difference Between Surgery and Plastic Surgery
Operations involving medically necessary surgery are different from plastic or cosmetic surgery. Traditional surgical operations often involve deep incisions or operations that work on the “inside” of your body versus those parts that impact outward appearance.
For example, liposuction impacts the outer skin and tissues directly beneath (i.e. adipose/fat). S
How Nicotine Affects Blood Vessels
Nicotine deprives skin and other tissues from critical blood supply. As a vasoconstrictor, this drug narrows blood vessels and reduces optimal and healthy blood circulation.
This reduction in circulation can result in:
- Longer healing and recovery times
- Increased or more visible scarring
- Tissue death
- And in severe cases, gangrene
Other Nicotine-Related Issues
The blood vessels are not the only issue that can arise from nicotine use. Other possible issues brought on by or contributed to by the use of nicotine include:
- Loss of skin the area the surgery was performed
- Delayed wound healing
- Fat necrosis – or the killing of fat cells that results in hard lumps
- Blood clots – which can sometimes be fatal
- Noticeable scarring – which can be thicker and wider than usual
- Loss of breast implants
- Increased pain
- Life-threatening complications, such as a heart attack or stroke, pneumonia, or blood clots
- Permanent small vessel damage that can last even if you decide to quit nicotine
This list shows just how dangerous it can be to continue to use nicotine when undergoing plastic surgery.
Guidelines for Quitting Nicotine
When considering plastic surgery, you should generally stop using nicotine for three to six weeks before your surgery, as well as for a period of three to six weeks after. Discuss any concerns you have with your plastic surgeon and make sure they are aware of your nicotine use so that they can advise you based on your unique situation. Ideally, you’ll want to quit nicotine indefinitely, but at a minimum following your doctor’s orders is critical.
There are many resources available to help when trying to quit using nicotine. Support groups, meditation, and other distractions often help when attempting to quit. Getting through the first few days is crucial, as that is when withdrawal symptoms are often felt.
- You will experience physical and mental withdrawal. Your body expects to receive a certain amount of nicotine each day, and it will basically throw a fit when this does not happen.
- How you handle your emotions, how you relax, and how you stay alert will all change without the influence of nicotine.
- You may experience depression, irritability, anxiety, restlessness, and nicotine cravings. Sleep and appetite may also be affected, and you may gain weight.
- This will last between a week and a month, so seeking help for getting through this period is crucial.
Trusting Your Procedure to the Right Doctor
Dr. Jim Brantner is an ABPS certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon with both military and civilian expertise. Once you have kicked that nicotine habit, Dr. Brantner and his staff will help you achieve the look you want through quality surgery at state-of-the-art facilities.
Dr. Brantner works with a number of hospitals, as well as out of a modern facility designed for those who need a 23-hour stay or less post-operation. For expert advice and a steady hand, look no further than Dr. Brantner and his staff.
Kicking Nicotine – you can do this!
You are a strong individual, and you can choose to quit nicotine. Not only will it help your plastic surgery process, but you will experience a variety of health benefits. You will get sick less, that smoker’s cough will go away, and you will increase your life expectancy.
Everyone struggles when quitting. Don’t get discouraged. You can do it!