Coffee and smoke, drink and smoke, sex and smoke. These can be the usual combinations, very pleasant for smokers. But smoking and surgery …that’s just the wrong match. If preparing for any kind of surgery, your surgeon will always, always, alert you about the risks of smoking to your recovery and ask you to suspend your habit at least from 2 to 4 weeks before the procedure. In cosmetic surgery, the risk of severe complications is even higher if you undergo breast lift, tummy tuck or facelift. For a clear notion of the level of risk we are talking about, know that a smoker who undergoes a breast lift may lose her nipples. Yes, exactly that. The nicotine in cigarettes and the carbon monoxide contained in cigarette smoke can diminish blood flow to various parts of the body. These toxic substances act as virtual tourniquets and when the blood flow to a particular body part becomes greatly reduced or halted, the body  tissue dies. This may occur while still in surgery. Severe infections, pneumonia, scarring and open wounds that are extremely difficult to treat may also be the result of the pair smoking and surgery. And even if you’re lucky and don’t experience such extreme problems, smoking still inhibits a normal healing and recovery from surgery. Nicotine will close the blood vessels responsible for bringing oxygenated blood to the tissues. Oxygen is responsible for fighting infection and helps to keep tissue alive, as well as being instrumental in delivering important medications like antibiotics. All that functions get compromised by the smoking (bad) habit. Long story short, if you’re undergoing any type of surgery, consider that this might be the just right moment to quit smoking for good. Although surgery always has some risk associated, smoking exponentially increases those risks and has a high probability of compromising the expected results. Non-smokers enjoy better and longer lasting results, quicker recovery, and less risk. It’s a no brainer, isn’t it? Have a question? Ask here

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