Cosmetic Surgeon Dr. Richard Buckley Comments on New Scientific Paper about E-Cigarette Use and Its Potential Impact on Cosmetic Surgery Complications
An expert panel has concluded that, based on current research, cosmetic surgery patients should stop using e-cigarettes a month prior to having any kind of cosmetic surgery. The scientific consensus, published in the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery scientific journal, aims to keep cosmetic, or plastic, surgery patients safe from complications. “I agree with the recommendation,” says cosmetic surgeon Dr. Richard Buckley, medical director at MilfordMD Cosmetic Dermatology Surgery & Laser Center, in Milford, Penn. “We don’t yet know if e-cigarette use is as dangerous as traditional cigarette smoking for patients undergoing surgery and other procedures. What the experts who convened on this paper did was they reviewed the available science and determined that four weeks is the most prudent course of action for our patients at this time.”
It is well known that cigarette smoking increases the risk of complications during and after cosmetic surgery. Traditional smokers who have surgery are more likely than nonsmokers to die or have a heart attack or stroke within 30 days of surgery. They have higher risks of pneumonia, scarring and problems with wound healing than nonsmokers. Nicotine, in particular, has been found in many scientific articles to compromise wound healing and down-regulate collagen synthesis. When patients stop smoking in the weeks leading up to their surgeries, these effects rapidly improve. In plastic surgery, specifically, skin flap complications are thought to be linked to reduced blood flow, or vasoconstriction, from nicotine.
“It’s in patients’ best interests to quit smoking before any surgical procedure,” Dr. Buckley says. “We get a thorough health and smoking history to come up with a recommendation for our patients who smoke cigarettes or use tobacco or nicotine in any form including patches, so they’re as safe as possible during and after their procedures. The results from cosmetic surgery are also better when patients stop in the weeks prior to and after procedures.”
But the effects of inhaling nicotine from vapor are not clear. “The researchers went with a recommendation they feel is reasonable and is similar to what is advised with traditional nicotine inhalation products,” Dr. Buckley says. “They cite one study in which researchers studied 102 general surgery patients and found that by stopping smoking three to four weeks before surgery, smokers reduced the risk of complications after surgery from 41 percent to 21 percent. Continued research failed to show a similar benefit when surgical patients stopped smoking on to three weeks before their procedures. So, four weeks seemed the safest course of action for now.”
E-cigarettes, or vaping, continues to gain in popularity, but little is known how engaging in the habit impacts a person’s health. While it has been suggested that e-cigarettes, which don’t contain tar, might be less hazardous to health than traditional cigarettes, big questions remain about the long-term effects of nicotine-containing e-cigs, as well as potentially toxic substances in e-cigarette vapor. E-cigarettes are banned everywhere smoking is banned in Canada. FDA regulations requires that e-cigarette manufacturers get their products approved as “new tobacco products.”
“The only thing that’s clear at this point is that we need more definitive research to better understand the effects of vaporized nicotine on cosmetic surgery patients. An example would be to address the question: ‘How does vaping impact the survival of skin and soft tissue flaps?’” Dr. Buckley says. “Not only does smoking cessation help cosmetic surgery patients remain healthy during and after their procedures, but it also improves aesthetic results from face lifts to breast augmentation and liposuction.”
About MilfordMD Cosmetic Dermatology Surgery & Laser Center:
The MilfordMD Cosmetic Dermatology Surgery & Laser Center offers state-of-the-art highly specialized procedures in laser and cosmetic-surgery and aesthetic skin care. In addition to its AAAHC accredited surgical center and extensive laser surgery capabilities, MilfordMD offers physician designed skin care products for home use. Milford Pennsylvania’s MilfordMD Cosmetic Dermatology Surgery & Laser Center is sought out by patients from around the world for expertise and innovation in cosmetic treatments performed by Richard E. Buckley, M.D. and Marina Buckley, M.D.
MilfordMD Cosmetic Dermatology Surgery & Laser Center is located at 303 W. Harford Street, Milford, PA 18337. Tel: (800) 664-1528. For real patient video testimonials, visit our MilfordMD YouTube channel.