Smoking cigarettes has so many detrimental effects on the body that it is hard to imagine them not causing some kind of problem with any surgery.
Anesthesia and Smoking
The first risk has to do with anesthesia. Smoking increases the risk of a person developing lung problems such as bronchitis or pneumonia after surgery. The more one smokes, the higher the risk. Infections such as these can spread to the breasts; particularly to recently placed breast implants. Infected breast implants usually have to be removed and cannot be replaced for at least three or four months after the infection has resolved.
Smokers also tend to cough more than nonsmokers (smokers hack). The act of coughing results in an increase in the pressure of veins, which can cause bleeding after surgery. Coughing after breast implant surgery can also be very painful and delay a patient’s recovery.
Wound Healing Problems
One of the worst effects of smoking has to do with wound healing. Nicotine naturally causes blood vessels to constrict which limits blood flow to an area. Good blood flow to a newly created surgical would is obviously important to allow for normal healing. Smoking can reduce the blood supply to the wound and, therefore, have a negative effect on would healing. This is particularly important during surgical procedures where the skin has been undermined and pulled tight such as is done with breast lifts, breast reductions, facelifts and tummy tucks. When the skin is raised up, some of the blood vessels which go to the skin are removed, making the remaining blood vessels that much more critical. In these situations where the blood supply had already been reduced, the smoke from just one cigarette or even inhaling secondary smoke can cause the undermined skin to die. If you are having a breast lift or a tummy tuck at the same time as getting breast implants, it is imperative that you quit smoking for at least three weeks before surgery and three to four weeks after surgery. You cannot use any product that contains nicotine such as nicotine patches, gum or e-cigarettes either as this still puts nicotine in your system. It is best to quit altogether.
Smoking cigarettes for many years causes so many health issues it is hard to imagine why the FDA has not removed them completely from the market. Most people are aware of the increased risk of cancer of the lung, lip, tongue, mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus and stomach with prolonged cigarette smoking. The effects of cigarettes on the heart and blood vessels may even be worse than their increased risk of cancer. Arteries become hard and narrow over time, limiting blood supply to major organs such as the heart, lungs, kidneys and brain as well as to the lower extremities. As the narrowing gradually gets worse over time, blood supply to those areas reaches a critical level causing heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure and the need for amputation on feet and legs. People who smoke are also exposing their friends and family member to second hand smoke which also causes everything mentioned above. Parents who smoke are much more likely to have children who smoke. Please quit for good!