Surgery details for smokers

I have a consultation with A plastic surgeon in a couple of weeks and I am a smoker. I am worried that The dr will choose not to operate - will this happen? Ive had surgery before with no complications.

Trish June 22nd, 2016 NSW

  • Answer
     Gavin Sandercoe

    Gavin Sandercoe

    30 answers

    Plastic Surgeon
    New South Wales, Australia

    Hi Trish
    Many operations performed by other specialties have fewer post operative risks than many plastic surgical procedures, which may explain why your other operations have been without noticeable complications.
    Depending on your operation, your surgeon may elect not to proceed if you have continued to smoke after your consultation. Some operations (such as breast augmentation), have only a small amount of increased risk whereas other such as facelifts and microsurgery have much greater risk with smokers.
    Depending on the procedure, I usually warn the patients at their first & second pre-operative consult that smoking cessation is important and might cause me to not perform their procedure. For those patients/procedures, I will often request that my patients have a blood nicotine test a week or so prior to their operation so that I know if & how much they are still smoking. We then re-discuss the risks and I will sometimes refuse to do their operation until they are nicotine free for a number of weeks (depending on the procedure, sometimes more or less weeks).
    Good Luck
    Dr Gavin Sandercoe

  • Answer
    Dr. Raymond Goh

    Raymond Goh

    123 answers

    Plastic Surgeon
    Queensland, Australia

    Hi Trish.
    Thanks for your question regarding surgery and smoking.
    It really depends on what operation you are having. As the majority of plastic surgery procedures are elective and not life-threatening, it is preferable that we try to optimise your body's recovery and healing ability as best we can before, during, and after the surgery. Smoking has a very detrimental effect on circulation, and especially the microcirculation that is so important in keeping skin alive and wounds healed. 
    I always advise my patients to at least try to reduce the amount of smoking in most cases. There are some higher risk procedures where I will not operate if the patient still smokes. This is in the best interest of the patient, both in regard to getting the best result as well as their safety.
    All the very best.
    Ray GohValley Plastic Surgery
  • Answer
    Mr Kourosh Tavakoli

    Kourosh Tavakoli

    44 answers

    Plastic Surgeon
    New South Wales, Australia

    Hi Trish,

    Thank you for your question. I do not permit my patients to smoke 4 weeks prior to and following their procedure due to the risk it can pose on their recovery and results.
    I do have patients that are smokers, and they will normally stop as requested. They are given a nicotine blood test a week prior to their surgery to test the levels of nicotine in their blood.

    Depending on the surgery that you are having, smoking can cause varying side effects in your recovery and even scarring. It is important to take this into account.

    Kind regards,

    Dr Kourosh Tavakoli
  • Answer
     Robert Drielsma

    Robert Drielsma

    191 answers

    Plastic Surgeon
    New South Wales, Australia

    Hi Trish…you have posted a very common and important question.  Smoking prior to surgery and during your recovery can affect the outcome of your surgery and impact significantly on your ability to recover and heal post operatively.  Patients in my practice are advised to cease smoking two weeks prior to surgery and refrain from smoking for at least a couple of weeks after surgery.