This recent article makes an incredibly interesting argument. That cosmetic surgery can lead patients to quit smoking! It’s not as far-fetched as you may think. It’s starts with the notion that smoking affects small blood vessels in healing skin.
Cosmetic surgery to quit smoking?
If you’re a smoker, you know surgeons always say to avoid all nicotine products. The nicotine in cigarettes or dip or nicotine patches/gum can cause small blood vessels to constrict. Those small blood vessels are critical to tissues healing after some type of damage, including an incision from surgery. It can also affect the skin after some type of skin resurfacing like a laser or chemical peel.
Doctors tell patients to quit smoking for two weeks prior to surgery so the affects of nicotine can wear off in active smokers. What happened in the study?
“In the follow-up, about 40 percent of those patients said they no longer smoked on a daily basis, and nearly 25 percent had not smoked at all since their surgery. Also worth noting: Most people said they had reduced their smoking habit by some amount, and 70 percent said that discussing their increased surgical risks with the plastic surgeon positively affected their ability to quit or reduce smoking.”
And all those warnings from doctors about the risk of postop complications from smoking?
‘The complication rate was higher in those [smoking] patients — 24 percent of them had post-surgical issues, as opposed to 14 percent of patients who stopped smoking. Serious wound-healing complications also occurred in two people, both of whom kept smoking before their procedure.”
Moral of the story, listen to your doctor when it comes to smoking and get cosmetic surgery to quit smoking! Just kidding on the last one…no I’m not…of course I am. But seriously, patients are more likely to quit smoking when they understand specific risks associated with nicotine.