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 36
Nicotine Is a Vasoconstrictor
Does the nicotine produce vessel constriction?
Nicotine and facelift surgery
Yes nicotine, in whatever form, increases the risk of complications during facelift surgery. I wouldn't recommend undergoing a facelift while on nicotine of any kind. E-cigarettes help smokers avoid the other toxins in conventional cigarettes but still has nicotine unfortunately.
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I think any good and responsible facelift surgeon would not feel anymore comfortable about imitation cigarettes than regular cigarettes. There is certainly less tar and other carcinogens but the nicotine and carbon dioxide concerns are still a factor. Other elements of concern with imitation cigarettes are yet to be evaluated. Do yourself a favor and quit altogether.....then after a few months consider your facelift.
Smoking and surgery
It is nicotine that constricts vessels and slows healing among other things. Nicotine is found in the E-cigarettes now available. I have all surgical patients sign a smokers consent before surgery which expresses the importance of NOT smoking.
How Nicotine Affects Surgical Results
Nicotine is just one of the ways in which smoking cigarettes can harm your health, and you’re correct that e-cigarettes have become a popular tool in the “step-down” method for smoking cessation. They allow people to get the nicotine their bodies are physically addicted to, while cutting out some of the other problems cigarettes cause, and because e-cigarettes come in a variety of strengths, people can use them to gradually reduce their nicotine levels until they can quit entirely. And while this is certainly a step in the right direction, e-cigarettes are still problematic for your health because they still contain nicotine. Nicotine restricts your blood vessels, and in terms of surgery, this means that less blood (which your body needs in order to heal) reaches your skin and other tissue, and this can lead to very serious complications. I generally advise patients to stop smoking or using any form of nicotine at least six weeks before surgery, and to continue avoiding it for at least six weeks after surgery.
Is It the Nicotine Itself That Constricts Blood Vessels?
Yes, the nicotine in traditional cigarettes and e-cigs causes vasoconstricition or reduced blood flow to the tissues healing. If this is restricted too much, the tissue may not survive. Other harmful chemicals are inhaled with smoking and have negative effects on the body.
It is best to stop smoking completely, but definitely before and after a surgical procedure.
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!!
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.