Regardless of whether you’re undergoing a facelift or otoplasty or not, smoking is a harmful habit that can eventually lead to devastating health problems. But if you’re having surgery of any kind, smoking can have additional consequences that can lead to complications during and after your surgery.
There are several reasons smoking during and after a surgical procedure can cause complications.
In terms of anesthesia, smoking has several negative effects.
First of all, smoking increases the amount of carbon monoxide that’s attached to the hemoglobin in your blood. This of course decreases the amount of oxygen in your body. Besides increasing carbon monoxide though, nicotine increases the amount of oxygen the body needs, which of course presents a double whammy – while your body requires more oxygen due to smoking, the very same act reduces the amount of available oxygen in the bloodstream.
Another negative effect of smoking includes increased mucus production in the lungs. Additionally, smoking causes small airways in the lungs to narrow, which makes them more prone to collapse.
These effects lead to an increased risk of infection, chronic cough and pulmonary complications.
A 2010 study by Dr. Alparslan Turan of the Cleveland Clinic concluded that smokers are 40% more likely than nonsmokers to die from complications following surgery. For example, Turan concluded that the risk of pneumonia for smokers was double that of nonsmokers. Also, smoking increases inflammation, which also increases the risk of complication.
Participants in the study were patients for a wide range of procedures including breast surgery, hysterectomies, colon removal and more.
Specific complications following any type surgery can include:
- Cardiac arrest
- Heart attack
Turan’s study compared over 82,000 smokers with their nonsmoking counterparts. His findings were presented to the American Society of Anesthesiologists annual meeting in 2010.
As you can see, smoking presents the increased risk of complications following any kind of surgical procedure.
If you’re a smoker and planning to undergo a facelift, eyelid surgery or any other surgical procedure, we strongly urge you to quit before going under the knife. While many patients resume smoking following their recovery, we do know that surgery serves as a great opportunity to quit for good.
Your health, your wallet and your family will thank you!