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My Plastic Surgeon insists I stop smoking, why?

Here comes a smoking lecture that is a little different than any you’ve endured before. There will be no mention of lung disease. The culprits are vasospasm and carbon monoxide.

I realize you probably don’t know what Vasospasm is, so I will explain what it is and why it affects plastic surgery procedures. When you smoke a cigarette the nicotine absorbs into your bloodstream. When it hits the very small vessels just under your skin, it makes them spasm closed. Well,  the problem is, for a lot of our operations, like facelifts and tummy tucks, we depend on those vessels for you to heal and for your skin not to die. So if you are smoking, you run the risk of segments of your skin dying. I don’t mean being numb, I mean dying and falling off! Trust me, this is not a good thing. Especially if it is on your face or breasts!

Carbon monoxide plays into things because when this gets into your lungs it gets distributed to your tissues instead of oxygen. The problem is, your tissues don’t need carbon monoxide to heal, they need oxygen. So when you smoke you are effectively starving your tissues and this can lead to your wound falling apart. Smoking is horrible for wound healing. Period. That is why Plastic Surgeons are so adamant you quit. I don’t want your result to be ruined and I know you don’t either.

Lee Corbett, MD


All posts on this blog are authored by Louisville Plastic Surgery physician, Dr. Lee Corbett.

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