2 surgeons referred to nicotine in restricting blood vessels. This confused me, as the popularity for imitation cigarettes is becoming more popular in helping smokers to stop inhaling all the other more dangerous chemicals. Would a surgeon still refuse to perform a facelift on a woman who uses these inhalers but has stopped smoking cigarettes?
Is It the Nicotine Itself That Constricts Blood Vessels?
Doctor Answers 31
Nicotine Is a Vasoconstrictor
Does the nicotine produce vessel constriction?
Stopping any form of Nicotine is important pre-operatively. #smoking cessation
Thank you for your question! Smoking cigarettes is especially bad prior to surgery for a number of reasons. First of all, carbon monoxide causes the red blood cells to not release the much needed oxygen the tissues require for healing. This can affect all post operative tissues from optimal healing, thus tissue necrosis (death) may result. This can be seen especially with face-lifting, breast lifting, and abdominoplasties. Skin loss may result and cause poor scar formation and prolonged wound care that can be embarrassing as a patient. Secondly, vasoconstriction can affect the flow of blood to the treated tissue so that now, not only are the red blood cells holding onto oxygen, but the flow of blood for tissue perfusion is affected! In addition, look at all the literature pointing to preventative causes of heart disease, cancer, etc related to smoking.
As for electronic cigarettes, correct me if I am wrong, but I think carbon monoxide is not the problem, but vasoconstriction is the issue. So, weather you smoke cigarettes or electronic cigarettes, or use nicotine patches or chew nicotine gum, it all affects your wound healing and body in general. When undergoing a surgical procedure, especially elective surgery, it is most important to optimize the body to enhance healing and recovery. All forms of nicotine should be stopped weeks before surgery. I hope this helps!!
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Patient by patient
Nicotine does decrease the blood supply to certain areas of the body. As far as whether or not the surgery can be performed on nicotine alone it depends on many things.
# 1 the overall health of the patient
# 2 how long they have been off cigarettes
# 3 patient expectations about the decrease in results and increased healing time that will be required
It is about informed and detailed consent so that both the patient and the surgeon are on the same page. We all want the same goal of good results and happy patients. The best thing would be to stop nicotine all together. I do understand however that is not an easy thing to do!
Hope this helps.
Best of luck,
Smoking and Facial Surgery
The best candidates for Lite Lift™ and other facelift surgery have a face and neck line beginning to sag, but whose skin has elasticity and whose bone structure is well defined and do not smoke Additionally, smoking may increase a chance of surgical complications and affect your #healing and the end result of your surgery. It's best to call your plastic #surgeon to better clarify. It's important to implement healthy lifestyle choices to not only prolong your surgical results, but most importantly, to reduce your risk of illness and disease which will impact your health. If you find it difficult to quit #smoking, speak to your physician who can provide information and programs that are properly designed to help you quit.
Why should I stop smoking before a facelift?
Many thanks for posting your question.
The key factor in cigarettes is the nicotine - this is a powerful drug that closes down the blood vessels that your facelift requires for good wound healing. Therefore smokers have a much higher incidence of complications after facelift surgery, including wound infections and problems healing.
In addition, smokers coughing after surgery can result in bleeding starting which may cause a haematoma (collection of blood) which will require further surgery to drain it.
Personally I do not perform facelift surgery on people who continue to smoke, as it is not worth the risk
Smoking and Facelift
Smoking will slow and complicate healing. In addition to nicotine, other factors such as carbon monoxide are harmful to the healing process.
Nicotine does cause blood vessel constricion
While cutting out all the bad chemicals in cigarettes is certainly more health beneficial than smoking cigarettes, nicotine (whether inhaled or taken as a patch, a pill, or gum) does cause blood vessel constriction, which can effect your results. For cosmetic procedures, most all plastic surgeons will require that you stop smoking at least 3 weeks before and 4 weeks after your procedure. This is because it isn't worth the risk that you will have some wound healing problems. Nicotine causes constriction to tiny blood vessels. Because these are the vessels that we depend on after surgery to get blood supply to your incisions to heal them, they are the most important (more important than the larger vessels in your body that are minimally effected by nicotine). For those smaller blood vessels, the slightest constriction (like that caused by nicotine) can have a huge effect. It's just not worth it. Make sure you've broken away from the nicotine before going under the cosmetic knife.