Smoking cessation for many weeks prior to and after surgery is essential to maximize healing and reduce the risks associated with poor wound healing. The components of cigarettes that affect healing include nicotine, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen cyanide. Seek a fellowship-trained facial plastic surgeon if you have questions or concerns about your face or neck.
The Effects of Cigarettes on Healing
Dr. Jeffrey Harmon
Nicotine Constricts Blood Vessels and Encourages Blood Clots
Present not only in cigarettes but also liquid vaping products, cigars, smokeless tobacco products, and hookah tobacco, this highly addictive substance acts on tissue in two ways. First, nicotine constricts small blood vessels, restricting the flow of oxygen and nutrients to healing tissue. Second, nicotine encourages blood to clot, which also serves to restrict blood flow to healing tissue. We counsel patients to avoid all nicotine-containing products, not just cigarettes, peri-operatively.
Carbon Monoxide Reduces the Ability of Blood to Carry Oxygen and Release It to Tissues
Carbon monoxide, a well-known poison that is released from fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, gas ranges, and furnaces in homes, is also present in cigarette tobacco. Carbon monoxide acts to impair healing in two ways. First, carbon monoxide reduces the ability of blood to carry oxygen to tissue by replacing oxygen in the hemoglobin contained in blood. Second, carbon monoxide reduces the ability of blood to release oxygen to tissue due to the changes that occur to the hemoglobin in blood when carbon monoxide binds to it.
Hydrogen Cyanide is a Poison that Prevents Cells from Utilizing Oxygen
Originally used as a chemical weapon, hydrogen cyanide is present not only in cigarettes but also in pesticides, fumigants, and plastics. Hydrogen cyanide is a poison that stops the ability of cells to utilize oxygen delivered to it by the blood. This results in cell death and, as a result, poor healing.
The Effects of Nicotine, Carbon Monoxide, and Hydrogen Cyanide are to Impair Healing and Increase the Risk of Infection
Trust Your Face to a Facial Plastic Surgeon
It is important to seek a fellowship-trained specialist in plastic surgery of the face and neck when you have concerns about your face or neck.
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Request a consultation with Dr. Harmon at Harmon Facial Plastic Surgery in Cincinnati. Visit our clinic. You will learn more about Dr. Harmon’s credentials, style, and approach. Build a relationship with our dedicated team. Do not stop at searching “plastic surgery near me.” Get in touch with us to learn more!