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SMOKING AND SURGERY

Smoking

Please do not underestimate the importance of smoking on your surgical outcome.  We are not just being pedantic when we ask you to stop smoking – it is very dangerous!!

We advise you to stop smoking at least 6 weeks before any operation.  In addition to the unhealthy influence on your general health, smoking has several specific detrimental effects to your recovery after surgery.  It significantly increases the risk of infection.  While this can often be treated with antibiotic tablets, it may be necessary in severe cases to readmit you to hospital for intravenous antibiotics and in extreme cases perform another operation that will delay your recovery.

Wound healing problems are very common among smokers. This can lead to prolonged need for dressings and worse scars.  If you continue to smoke with some operations it virtually guarantees that you will get a complication.

Most cosmetic operations cannot be done if you smoke.  This includes tummy tucks, breast reductions, facelifts and body contouring procedures where smoking results in an unacceptable high risk of the skin dying.  Other effects include higher risk of blood clot formations (DVT and PE), pneumonia and complicated anaesthesia.

For any cancer reconstruction that requires intricate microsurgery to perform the reconstruction the risk of failure more than triples.

If you are finding it difficult to stop smoking, please let us know and we can assist your local doctor in providing information on how to quit.