Smoking and Surgery: How Smoking Can Affect Your Plastic Surgery Results

We all know and have been warned about the dangers of smoking and how it can affect our health.  Smoking can increase your risk of heart problems, lung disease, various types of cancer, breathing problems, multiple health issues and premature death. These are general risks associated with smoking and second hand smoking.  Smoking before surgery and during the recovery period can severely impact the patient’s surgical outcome. 

How smoking can affect anaesthesia:

Smoking before and after elective cosmetic plastic surgery can severely impact the outcome of the procedure. Dr. Beber and other plastic surgeons will request that you do not smoke at least 4-8 weeks before surgery and after surgery.  Dr. Beber places tremendous emphasis on the surgical technique and aftercare recommendations to promote the most optimal wound healing to produce superior outcomes.    

Cigarettes contain over 4000 chemicals that are harmful in general to all smokers.  Smoking can impact and increase your risk with anaesthesia, during surgery and your recovery. 

Two big reasons to quit smoking before surgery:

  1. Smoking complicates anaesthesia.  The anaestesiologist can tell if the patient is a smoker and have to work harder to help keep the patient breathing in surgery to prevent complications associated with the lungs. 
  2. A smoker’s heart has to work harder. The patient is at higher risk for heart complications during the procedure.  The risk for a heart attack during surgery is high in a smoker versus a non-smoker.  

How smoking can affect the outcome of your cosmetic surgery:

Smoking after surgery can greatly impact the patient’s recovery, increasing the risks and complications.   A smoker’s body is deprived of the much needed oxygen.  Oxygen is essential and greatly promotes optimal wound healing.  The walls and vessels of a smoker are affected, decreasing the delivery of oxygen to the wound where it is needed.  Without oxygen the wound will be subject to infection leaving open wounds and delayed healing.  Necrosis of the skin is increased impacting the result of the procedure and prolonging the healing, affecting the outcome of the procedure. 

In cosmetic plastic surgery, smoking can adversely affect procedures such as a facelift, abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), breast reconstruction, breast reductions and free nipple grafts procedures.  Dr. Beber understands that quitting smoking can be extremely challenging and something one has probably attempted more than several occasions. The patient and the surgeon share the same commitment to achieve the best possible outcome for your procedure, and patients need to understand that not smoking is one of the most important things a patient needs to do. 

It is extremely important that patients are honest and not shy from informing Dr. Beber that they are smoking or using e-cigarettes, vapes, nicotine products (gum, patch and sprays) and marijuana.  These products contain nicotine and other chemicals that could affect anaesthesia and healing.  

For help to quit smoking, patients should seek the advice of their family physician.  There are many resources available within the city that the patient lives in for support and guidance.

Dr. Beber is a Plastic Surgeon specializing in cosmetic plastic surgery that includes breast augmentation, breast lifts, breast reduction, tummy tucks, mommy-makeover procedures, and liposuction. 

For more information about cosmetic plastic surgery please contact Dr. Brett Beber at 416.466.5023 or

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