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Smoking Unravels Cosmetic Surgery Gains

Cosmetic Surgery for Real, by Richard Buckley, MD, Milford, PA

American Idol judge Jennifer Lopez was recently in the news. One of her quotes on was that she doesn’t smoke or drink–two habits she believes would ruin her skin.

She’s right.

Especially smoking is not only bad for your health, but it’s bad for beauty and graceful aging. Smoking fast forwards aging, and it makes performing many cosmetic surgery procedures less safe and less effective.

At 44, Lopez looks like she’s in her 30s. It’s hard to find a celebrity who reaches his or her mid-40s, who looks as youthful as she does.

The hard truth is that cigarette smoking decreases the body’s ability to heal by constricting blood vessels and inhibiting the binding of oxygen. Poor healing can result in skin necrosis, unsightly scarring and wound complications.

The habit can compromise results of any kind of surgery. Smoking is such a serious issue, that I will not perform a facelift, tummy tuck, breast augmentation or ablative laser resurfacing on the face if a person is smoking. That patient needs to have stopped smoking for at least four weeks prior to surgery, as confirmed by a urine test. Patients also agree to stop smoking until at least three weeks after surgery.

These problems persist long after surgery, as smoking can unravel the best cosmetic surgery results by causing premature wrinkling, loss of skin elasticity and more.

We help patients with smoking cessation for the short and long-terms. It’s an important part of our job to keep people looking youthful.

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