Washington : If you’re a smoker and considering cosmetic surgery – tummy tuck, breast-lift and face-lift, then your plastic surgeon will most likely ask you to stop smoking for at least two weeks before you go under the knife.
A study has recently found that many patients receiving these instructions would quit smoking or at least smoke less in the years after cosmetic surgery.
“Our results show an association between cosmetic surgery and smoking cessation at long-term follow-up,” said lead study author Aaron C. Van Slyke from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.
“Surgeons, who request preoperative smoking cessation, may influence patients’ long-term smoking status,” Slyke added.
The study included 85 patients who were smokers when evaluated for cosmetic surgery.
Like most plastic surgeons, Dr. Van Slyke and colleagues required patients to refrain from smoking for at least two weeks before elective procedures.
Those instructions reflect a well-demonstrated increase in wound-healing problems and other negative outcomes among smokers after plastic surgery.
Five years after the cosmetic surgery, 47 patients responded to a follow-up survey.
Most of the patients were women; the average age was 40 years.
The most common procedures were ” tummy tuck” (abdominoplasty), breast-lift (mastopexy), and face-lift.
After exclusion of five “social” smokers, the study included 42 patients who were daily smokers before cosmetic surgery.
In the follow-up survey, about 40 per cent of patients said they no longer smoked cigarettes on a daily basis. Nearly one-fourth had not smoked at all since their cosmetic surgery procedure.
About 70 per cent agreed that discussing their increased surgical risks with the plastic surgeon influenced their ability to quit or reduce smoking.
Nearly one-fourth continued to smoke up to the day of their procedure.
The complication rate after cosmetic surgery was higher in patients who continued to smoke: 24 per cent versus 14 per cent.
The authors concluded, “The dialogue between plastic surgeon and patient during the cosmetic surgery consultation serves as a unique moment to provide targeted smoking cessation counseling that may persist well beyond the surgical interaction.”
The research appears in the journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.