The Impact that Smoking has on Surgery

The deadly side effects of smoking has been a well-known, ongoing issue for many years. So there is 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 quality of life, by putting yourself in real danger of having an unstable, unsafe recovery that could be fatal.

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 give your body the BEST chance of healing, and a clean incision line. Our Plastic Surgeons recommend ceasing smoking for 1 – 2 months before and 1 – 2 months post-surgery.  It takes that amount of time for the nicotine to be excreted, and for your tissue to recover to a 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. Quitting smoking several months before your surgery is ideal, as you will want to be in a stable place while your body is healing and not give into cravings during recovery and risk potentially causing serious harm to yourself.

Why is smoking so bad for surgery?

Regardless from all of the other damages smoking does to the body, such as coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular problems, emphysema and lung disease, it can also seriously jeopardize recovery from surgical procedures.

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.

Necrosis aka “death of cells”

The nicotine causes vascular constriction, and it is possible to delay wound healing, by not allowing the tissue to get proper circulation. When this tissue starts to die, that is called Necrosis, which is a form of cell injury that results in the premature death of cells. This can prevent wound healing and require surgical correction or removal of the breast implant, which could result in disfigurement and permanent scarring.

Other side effects as a result of smoking and surgery

Patients who smoke have a 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
– Impare healing of skin and wounds


Just remember, you are doing this to improve your looks 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 to!

For more information and assistance for quitting smoking prior to surgery see:

Further Reading:

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Written by Katrina Tilbrook

Marketing Manager at CosMediTour |CosMediTour is an international cosmetic surgery company and medical tourism facilitator, with offices on the Gold Coast in Australia, Bangkok and Phuket in Thailand and Cape Town, South Africa.

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