Specialist Plastic Surgeon Dr Mark Hanikeri does not operate on patients that have regularly smoked within the last 6 weeks. This is simply because smoking can increase your risk of complications during surgery as well as your recovery post-surgery.
Smoking and Anaesthesia
It’s no secret that smoking is incredibly bad for you. It can lead to many health problems including heart disease, asthma and lung cancer. Smoking can also cause complications during surgery starting with issues relating to anaesthesia.
Anaesthesia during surgery not only renders the patient unconscious but also reduces spasms and coughing during and after an operation. The tar in tobacco smoke irritates the lungs, which means smokers may need more anaesthesia to lessen these problems. This can increase the risk of anaesthesia-related complications.
Smoking can significantly reduce your wound healing post-surgery
Following plastic and reconstructive surgery, surgical wound complication rates are higher in smokers. This is in part because smoking has adverse effects on the blood flow to tissues that impairs wound healing. The carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke deprives the blood of oxygen which means smokers need more oxygen even after they leave the recovery room.
It should also be noted that light smokers often spend as long recovering as heavy smokers. Cutting down on your cigarette intake pre-surgery is therefore not an option.
Finally, the nicotine in tobacco smoke damages the production of red blood cells. These are the cells that carry fundamental healing chemicals to the scar tissue.
Nicotine also makes blood platelets ‘sticky’. Platelets are a type of blood cell needed for clotting. This can lead to lots of small blood clots at the site of the wound and reduces the blood flow to the area, hence slowing the healing process.
If you are considering plastic surgery in Perth and you are a smoker, it may be the push you need to quit. To book a consultation with Dr Mark Hanikeri please call 08 9380 0311.