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Plastic Surgery Blog

Why You Should Quit Smoking before Your Surgical Procedure...and After

6310676677 93b9f23f19 bOne piece of advice a surgeon will give any patient facing surgery is to cease all smoking before the procedure is scheduled to be done. Casual smokers will not find this to be so burdensome, but regular smokers may object to quitting their habit. Still, this is not frivolous advice. Let’s examine why.

When you smoke, the nicotine your body absorbs causes it to raise its levels of a pituitary hormone called vasopressin, and that vasopressin results in tightened blood vessels and decreased blood flow to all tissues and organs. All the cells in your body depend on the flow of blood for healing and regeneration of cells. Blood is, in fact, life.

When you have a surgical procedure done, your body needs to be strong enough to heal from it, and weakening your body’s ability to do so, by maintaining a continuous flow of nicotine in your bloodstream, defeats the purpose. If your body has to struggle to heal itself, there is an increased likelihood of complications including infection and necrosis. There is also a greater chance of long-term scarring.

The longer the nicotine is out of your system, the better your body will be able to heal properly. Bancroft Feldman recommends that their patients quit smoking for at least 2 weeks before, but optimally 6 weeks prior to any surgery and 12 weeks after.

Another thing to consider is that, if you are making an investment in your appearance in order to be and feel more beautiful, it would be an excellent idea to stop smoking entirely, even after you have fully healed. This is because there are few habits that will age you faster than smoking. Smoking is not just bad for your overall health, including your heart, your lungs, your brain, and your reproductive system, it’s a one-way pass to looking old ahead of time. How does it make you look older?


  • Impacts your sleep cycle, making you get less rest
  • Stains your teeth and can result in tooth loss and unhealthy gums
  • Leads to wrinkles and skin conditions like psoriasis, warts, and even cancer
  • Thins your hair
  • Causes your skin to lose its strength and elasticity, increasing your chance of getting stretch marks

For visual proof of the aging risk of smoking, check out this photo gallery of twins. Each of the slides showcases a twin who smoked juxtaposed against his or her non-smoking twin. We think you’ll agree that it’s not hard to tell who the smoker is.

Quitting smoking is an important health measure to take before undergoing surgery, but, beyond that, it’s an important lifestyle decision to make as an investment in your overall health and beauty.

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