Body reshaping surgery has higher risk of complications for smokers rather than face or breast ops

Smoking causes all kinds of negative effects on the body, one of which is that it affects the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Smoking restricts the amount of oxygen that is delivered to the body via the blood, and this can cause all kinds of challenges when you are choosing to make alterations to your body that will require your body to heal, fight infection and accept the changes. This is why the knowledge of whether or not a patient smokes is of paramount importance to cosmetic surgeons. If they are faced with a patient who smokes compared with a patient who doesn’t, they will be aware from the outset that the risks to the smoker of developing any form of complication are higher.

We now have a vast wealth of data to compare patterns in smokers and non-smokers who have undergone different cosmetic surgery procedures.

Different procedures have differing levels of impact by nicotine in the body

Interestingly, according to research published recently by the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, “smokers are more likely than non-smokers to have complications after undergoing cosmetic surgery on the body, versus the face or breasts”.

These findings have come from a massive study, looking at data from 129,007 cosmetic surgery patients. The differences found were interesting and extremely helpful to give surgeons a steer towards which procedures presented the greatest risks to smokers. Worryingly, the study also revealed that “smoking increased the risk of wound infections by 61%”. With statistics as alarming as this, it is no wonder that many plastic surgeons will actually decline to perform some cosmetic surgery procedures on individuals who smoke.

Advice for smokers keen to have cosmetic surgery

The best thing a smoker can do if they wish to have a cosmetic surgery procedure is to stop smoking. Even if this is just short term, in the weeks leading up to the operation and the weeks after, this is going to have a marked difference on how well your body is likely to heal.

Surgeons will always recommend that smoking is ceased or reduced, and this in itself can sometimes have a longer term, positive side effect. Research published by the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Journal concludes that “a long-term follow-up study finds that many patients receiving these instructions will quit smoking, or at least smoke less, in the years after cosmetic surgery.”

Although a relatively small-scale study, the first wave of results is encouraging – the work that cosmetic surgeons do to encourage patients to stop smoking to aid their recovery for an operation seems to be having a longer-term positive impact on their health and wellbeing as many are continuing to abstain from smoking.

For more cosmetic surgery advice, call 020 7118 6887 to arrange a consultation at the Clarence Clinic.