What is The Impact Smoking Has on Surgery

The deadly side effects of smoking have been a well-known, ongoing issue for many years now, so there is definitely no question that smoking before or after surgery may have harmful side effects on your body and increase your chances of having complications during recovery.

The new and improved you!

Deciding to undergo elective surgery is commonly a decision made to achieve a higher level of self-esteem, confidence and improve your health and wellbeing. These are positive changes you are making to your body, and smoking before or after your procedure will only contradict the decision you have made to improve your confidence and quality of life, by putting yourself in danger of having an unstable, unsafe recovery with an increased risk of necrosis.

Smokers expose themselves to more risks than non-smokers

If you cannot give up smoking before surgery, your surgeon will not proceed with the procedure. You MUST stop smoking at LEAST 28 days prior to surgery and 28 days post-surgery. This will ensure your body the best possible chance of healing, and a clean incision line. Our surgeons recommend ceasing smoking for 1 – 2 months before and 1 – 2 months post-surgery, as it takes that amount of time for the nicotine to be excreted from your body, and for your tissue to recover to reasonable vascularity to make the procedure safe, and give the best result.

Undergoing cosmetic surgery is the ideal incentive to give up those nasty cigarettes and improve your health for the better. Ideally, quitting smoking several months before your surgery is preferred, as you will want to be in a stable place while your body is healing and not give in to cravings during recovery and risk potentially causing serious harm to yourself.

Why is smoking bad for surgery?

Regardless of all of the other damages smoking causes to your body, such as coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular problems, emphysema and lung disease, it can also seriously jeopardize surgery recovery, as it increases the risk of necrosis.

Smokers will have a much higher risk of complications with surgery than non-smokers as cigarettes restrict blood flow, which can decrease healing, increase the risk of infection, skin loss and blood flow circulation. Chemicals in cigarettes interfere with the rate at which certain drugs break down in your body.

What is Necrosis?
Necrosis is a form of cell injury that results in the premature death of cells and tissue, caused by external factors such as toxins, trauma and infection. Furthermore, Necrosis may prevent wound healing and may require surgical correction, implant removal, disfigurement, permanent scarring and can even be fatal. If Necrosis does occur, it is often necessary to remove necrotic tissue surgically, a surgical process known as ‘debridement’.

Other side effects as a result of smoking and surgery

Patients who smoke have a much higher risk of the following side effects:

  • Slower healing time
  • Worsened scarring
  • Accelerated aging of the skin
  • Loss of elasticity
  • Increased risk of infection
  • Increased chance of capsular contracture
  • Formation of blood clots
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Impaired healing of skin and wounds


Just remember, you are doing this to improve your physical appearance and self-confidence! If you have a complication and a part of your tissue dies, the resulting problem will be difficult, if not impossible to repair. You’ve made the first step to improving your quality of life, don’t jeopardise your surgery and risk causing serious damage to yourself. Quit now while you have the perfect incentive too!

For more information and assistance for quitting smoking prior to surgery please speak with your General Practitioner and visit quit.org.au here

Further Reading:

Disclaimer: Please note any information provided should be used only as an information guide and not CosMediTour giving advice. Please ensure you do your own valid surgery research and seek advice from a general practitioner to enable you to be fully informed about surgery.

Written by CosMediTour