A paper reviewing several studies on e-cigarettes and surgical recovery has been published in the December issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, and the findings are far from surprising. In short, all evidence suggests that e-cigarettes, just like traditional tobacco cigarettes, increase risks for excessive scaring, poor wound healing, and lengthy and complication-filled recovery periods. Conversely, ceasing to use any tobacco products – including e-cigarettes – at least four weeks prior to plastic surgery has been shown to reduce risks for these complications by as much as 40%. Quitting six, eight, or twelve weeks before your procedure does even more to reduce risks of infection and other serious complications, which is why our board-certified Highlands Ranch plastic surgeon strongly encourages patients to kick the habit well in advance of their procedure.
As it turns out, surgical recovery is not hampered by the some 4,000 chemicals in traditional cigarettes, but by nicotine itself. A vasoconstrictor, nicotine reduces blood flow to organs and tissue – often resulting in tissue death. As a consequence, people who use nicotine, even replacements like e-cigarettes or patches, are at a higher risk for:
- Hard lumps of fat in the surgical area
- Thick and highly visible scars
- Skin and tissue loss
Even more worrisome, nicotine increases risks for fatal blood clots, heart attack, stroke, and pneumonia following plastic surgery – hardly risks worth taking when reducing or eliminating them completely requires so very little.
At our Highlands Ranch plastic surgery center we strive to protect the health and happiness of each patient we see. This means keeping in place strict guidelines for plastic surgery candidacy. One of these is not smoking or using nicotine in the weeks leading up to or immediately following your procedure. During your initial consultation, Dr. Zwiebel will discuss this and other preoperative steps that will need to be taken to help ensure the most positive experience and outcome.
To schedule a consultation at our Highlands Ranch office, please contact the Zwiebel Center for Plastic Surgery today. We serve patients living in Metro Denver and all surrounding communities.