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Dr. Michaels' Blog

You Want Plastic Surgery? Stop Smoking!

Everyone knows that smoking can cause heart disease and cancer. Many people also know that because smoking is a direct toxin to the skin, it can prematurely age you by, increasing wrinkles and thinning the skin. But you may not know that smoking can significantly increase your risks when having plastic surgery.

A lot of plastic surgery involves disconnecting the skin from its normal blood supply. That’s how we lift and reposition skin. Surgery disrupts and decreases blood flow to the skin. Smoking can further constrict the remaining blood vessels and kill the skin.

Most people don’t realize that every cigarette smoked—including second-hand smoke–constricts and damages blood vessels all over your body. This vascular damage is one reason why smoking causes heart attacks and strokes. By constricting the remaining blood vessels to the skin after surgery, smoking can lead to loss of skin, prolonged healing and increased scarring.

Smoking also increases your risk during general anesthesia. It damages the lungs and increases secretions, complicating airway management. Smoking increases the likelihood of blood clotting in the legs and subsequent pulmonary embolisms, which can be fatal.

So if you’re thinking of plastic surgery, stop smoking. At Berkshire Cosmetic & Reconstructive Surgery Center we test your urine the day of surgery. If you test positive for smoking, we may, for your own safety, cancel your operation.