Ventura County Plastic Surgeon
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Why Nicotine & Plastic Surgery Don’t Mix!

Thinking about having plastic surgery? If you’ve been researching plastic surgery online, you’ve probably read several places that you shouldn’t be smoking – and that’s 100 percent true. If you’re thinking about substituting your cigarettes for nicotine gum, cigars, or trendy e-cigarettes because you think they’ll be safe for plastic surgery, think again.

Nicotine comes in many forms, not just cigarettes. You can be fooled into thinking that one of its seductive substitutes are harmless, but we assure you, they’re not. Unfortunately for consumers, nicotine has several masks and it’s very easy for people to be deceived at the expense of their health! Nicotine can be found in any of the following:

  • Cigarettes
  • E-cigarettes (vaping)
  • Snuff
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Pipes
  • Cigars
  • Nicotine gum and patches

Plastic Surgery is Different Than Standard Procedures

If you had knee or back surgery, you may have healed great despite the fact that you’re a smoker, but plastic surgery is not the same. When a general surgeon cuts, they cut straight down, but a plastic surgeon cuts through the top layer of skin and then cuts sideways. That’s what plastic surgeons do when they’re performing breast reductions and lifts, facelifts, and tummy tucks. Once the plastic surgeon lifts the skin, they can pull it, stretch it, and move it around. They can also remove it.

When a plastic surgeon lifts the skin, they have to leave some of the blood vessels untouched or they’ll die. Some will be cut, but others must be left intact so oxygen can still be supplied to the elevated skin after the procedure, such as a facelift, breast augmentation, or tummy tuck.

What Does Nicotine Have to Do With It?

When nicotine is introduced into the blood supply, blood vessels shrink. There is less blood flow, which means less oxygen and the likelihood of tissue death. When you mix nicotine with plastic surgery, a lot can go wrong, such as wide scars, increased pain, loss of breast implants, life-threatening complications (e.g. heart attack, pneumonia, and stroke, etc.), infections, slow wound healing, and...loss of nipples, cheek skin, or tummy skin due to tissue death after a breast augmentation, tummy tuck, or facelift.

If you smoke and you’re planning on having plastic surgery, we urge you to quit and follow your plastic surgeon’s directions, which often means quitting six weeks before surgery and not resuming until six weeks after though it’s better to quit permanently.

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