Board Certifications: American Board of Facial Plastic and
Reconstructive Surgery American Board of Otolaryngology - ABO

Can Smoking And Drinking Affect Results After A Facelift?

Drinking is unlikely to have a great effect on your facelift results, but should be avoided for a short period after your surgery. Smoking is another matter entirely – it should be avoided altogether, particularly before and after your facelift surgery. Smoking can have a dramatic effect on healing, and therefore may affect your results.

You should avoid drinking alcohol for at least a week following your facelift surgery because it causes vasodilation and fluid retention, and can exacerbate swelling. Many surgeons recommend that their patients reduce their alcohol intake for about a month. But note that healing can take longer than that, and you don’t want to run into anything while you’re recovering from surgery; in other words, it wouldn’t hurt to reduce your alcohol consumption until you have fully healed.

Smoking is a dangerous habit that can cause cancer of the lungs, throat, stomach, esophagus and mouth, not to mention heart disease emphysema, stroke, aneurysms and other conditions. Moreover, smoking increases many of the potential risks associated with facelift and other cosmetic surgeries.

It can also dramatically affect the outcome of your facelift. At least one study has demonstrated definitively that smoking can harm the skin flaps used in facelift and other surgeries. Nicotine slows blood flow to the flaps and skin, which in turn makes it difficult for the flaps to hold. This is particularly dangerous with facelift procedures due to the tension placed on the flaps.

Smoking also constricts the blood vessels, making it more difficult for oxygen to get to the cells and in turn making healing more difficult. Skin death (necrosis), wound separation and increased scarring are just some of the potential consequences of this.

Another reason to avoid smoking if you’re interested in having a facelift is that it increases the risk of infections, as well as complications related to anesthesia, which means you may be stuck in the hospital for a longer period of time — or worse.

Many facial plastic surgeons won’t even perform facelift or other cosmetic surgeries on smokers.

These are just some of the many, many reasons not to smoke prior to or following your facelift surgery. Talk to your doctor about smoking cessation. There are numerous products and strategies available to help you quit smoking.

Back to Facelift Surgery

Written by Dr. Sam Rizk

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