Plastic Surgery 101

Smoking and facelifts don’t go together

Q. I'm about to have a facelift and I smoke. My surgeon told me that I should not smoke before surgery. I really can't quit and I'm don't want to tell him that I keep smoking. What is your suggestion?

A. Just do it! Smoking is a serious problem for people who are having facelifts and any other surgery. Remember, your physician has your best interest in mind, he's not telling you not to smoke because he's anti-smoking. I will not operate on anyone who's a smoker. One cigarette is as bad as 10 cigarettes so even a small amount of smoking can cause a lot of trouble.

Smoking constricts your blood vessels and inhibits the binding of oxygen, which then reduces the amount of oxygen to your cells and skin. As a result of blood vessel constriction, you may have problems with loss of tissue, scarring and slow healing. In addition, smokers can have complications with anesthesia and have a higher rate of developing infections.

But let's cut to the chase. Smoking makes you look older. I have found that the greatest impetus for my patients to quit smoking is not that it causes cancer and it creates all kinds of adverse medical conditions. Rather, if they quit , they will look younger!

Dr. Carlos Wolf is a partner in Miami Plastic Surgery and is board certified. Email your questions to him at:

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