How Does Smoking Affect Scarring After Plastic Surgery?


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Kath Senior answered
Smoking affects scarring after any sort of surgery but it is particularly important to stop smoking if you are considering plastic surgery. This is done primarily to improve your appearance and it is vital that scarring afterwards is minimal. However, no matter what the skill of the surgeon, or the technique used, smokers tend to have skin that heals far less well than non smokers and scars tend to be bigger, wider and redder.

Smoking affects the tiny capillaries in the surface of the skin, causing them to constrict. This reduces the blood flow to the surface of the skin and prevents the cells of the immune system that cope with injury and inflammation to get through.

In general, it is also not a good idea to smoke before any sort of surgery because this can also increase your risk of breathing problems as a result of the anaesthetic.
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Anonymous commented
Is it the nicotine that causes the problem? Can someone using a nicotine product such as the patches have safer surgery, or are they equally at risk as the smoker?

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