How will smoking affect the healing process after a tummy tuck?
When it comes to smoking, it is universal knowledge that smoking is a bad idea with serious complications on one’s health. Studies show that lung cancer is associated with smoking, as well as other afflictions just as serious and severe. But what is the relation between plastic surgery and smoking?
Many patients are surprised that the plastic surgeon recommends them to stop smoking at least three weeks before undergoing the tummy tuck. They don’t understand how something like smoking could affect the healing process after surgery.
During the tummy tuck, the plastic surgeon will perform one or several incisions. The main incision is located on the lower part of the abdominal area, and the plastic surgeon will use it to strengthen the loose abdominal muscles of the wall and also remove excess skin and fat tissue. Another incision can be performed on the navel when its transposition is required, and more incisions can be performed on the flanks if the patient has skin folds and sagginess in that area.
As you can see, the plastic surgeon will perform a complex sectioning of different types of tissues, as well as suturing the abdominal wall muscles. After the procedure, the body will need to heal these tissues and restore balance. To be able to have a good and fast healing process, blood should be oxygenated. If the patient smokes after the procedure, the level of oxygenation in the blood is much reduced. This means that the blood is of a lower quality than in a non-smoker patient. Moreover, when we smoke, it is like we go through a minor suffocation process on purpose. This means that the heart and lungs will need to work harder just to keep up.
Smoking after the tummy tuck i can prolong the recovery process unnecessarily, not to mention the fact that it can trigger other unwanted complications that could be quite severe, such as fat tissue necrosis or skin necrosis.
Another aspect to consider is smoker’s cough. While this is something that many smokers might have gotten used to and doesn’t bother them anymore, coughing after the tummy tuck can create issues and even trigger the opening of incisions, which is certainly something to be avoided at all costs. Your plastic surgeon will advise you to avoid coughing and sneezing for at least a week after the procedure. This could be very difficult (if not impossible) if you are smoking.
Numerous studies show that the recovery process and healing in general is much slower for patients who smoke compared to patients who are smoke-free. To reduce the complications associated with smoking, the patient is advised to cease smoking three weeks before the procedure and to continue not to smoke for another three weeks after.
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