Eating a healthy diet, limiting alcohol intake and getting plenty of rest are standard doctor's orders during the recovery phases of surgery, and patients who undergo plastic or cosmetic surgery are no different.
Now, doctors are encouraging their cosmetic and plastic surgery patients to refrain from smoking - or quit completely - so that their bodies can heal properly.
The effects of nicotine on the body can be especially significant for those who undergo fat reduction treatments, skin rejuvenation procedures or body contouring that involves a significant amount of incisions and skin removal. Oxygen is essential for proper healing, and nicotine depletes oxygen and may even slow down blood circulation. This presents a major challenge for the body's healing process since the skin tissues can no longer heal and repair themselves naturally.
The result? According to Dr. Samir Pancholi, a board-certified cosmetic surgeon in Las Vegas, is dead, blackened skin tissue that may need to be removed completely with more surgery. Other side effects of nicotine use after surgery include poor blood circulation and standard side effects such as shortness of breath, yellowed skin and lung damage.
Dr. Pancholi encourages patients to stop smoking for at least 4 weeks before a face lift, tummy tuck or breast lift procedure, and to quit completely if they are getting Botox injections or undergoing a breast augmentation procedure. Botox and breast augmentation require a significant amount of blood for ample healing, and nicotine can impair this process.