Trash the Ash and Lose the Booze

June 20, 2013

Taking the high road to Plastic Surgery involves turning a cold shoulder on smoking and drinking.

Preparing your body before the surgery is equally important as helping it to heal after. In PPSI, we strongly advise clients to shy away from their habitual puffs and spirits for 2 weeks before and after the surgery. Following this advice helps pave the way for a safe and uneventful recovery. To share a better insight on this policy, this blog outlines how smoking and drinking before and until after the surgery can propel your recovery into a downward spiral.

Lose the Booze.

It is a tempting ordeal to party in Phuket before your appointment or to toast the success of your plastic surgery. The bad news is that this drinking spree may cost you your long awaited makeover. An article published in cited Elizabeth Kovacs, director of the alcohol research programme at Loyola University Medical Center in the US suggests that ‘acute alcohol exposure has comparable effects on the immune responses as that of chronic alcohol exposure’. In this context, she described alcohol exposure as ‘single exposure at binge levels’ – greater than 4 drinks in a female or greater than 5 drinks in a male.

Another study published in Oxford Journals by H. Tonnesen showed that the complication rate is about 50% higher when drinking 3-4 drinks per day compared with 0-2 drinks per day. In turn, it equates to a whooping 200-400% when drinking 5 drinks or more per day.

The rundown on why drinking and plastic surgery is No-No combo.

1. Alcohol can weaken your immune system and predispose you to lung infection.

A German Study that experimented on mice concluded that drinking even moderate amounts prior to surgery can potentially slow down recovery and weaken the immune system. The results infer that mice given alcohol before surgery suffered worse lung damage and severe infection.

2. Alcohol can aggravate swelling.

Alcohol is a potent vasodilator. Simply put, it widens your blood vessels causing your body to retain fluids in the interstitial spaces and bloat. This process also takes away blood from your vital organs and causes your body to swell.

3. Alcohol can increase the chances of vomiting and regurgitation.

A common side effect of Anesthesia is vomiting and regurgitation. The main reason you are ask to fast is to prevent regurgitation during the plastic surgery as this may lead to a life threatening complication called Aspiration Pneumonia. Alcohol can potentially contribute to this issue. The reason behind this is that alcohol slows the movement of food through the stomach and also irritates the stomach lining, increasing the chances that you will vomit or regurgitate.

4. Alcohol can interfere with anesthesia and other medications

Alcohol when combined with anesthetic agents can amplify their effects. It will be a challenge to the Anesthesiologist to accurately provide the dose of anesthetics needed to ensure maximum comfort during the surgery. Apart from this, alcohol can interact with your medications leading to detrimental side effects.

5. Alcohol exacerbates bleeding.

Another effect of alcohol to your body is that it makes your platelets less active. Platelets functions in blood clotting. Without this, your blood will be less able to coagulate leading to bleeding. More blood loss equates to prolonged recovery.

6. Alcohol will leave you craving for pain medications.

As explained in an article in, K.Matthews quoted Dr. Peter Aldea, a Memphis plastic surgeon advised that ‘frequent drinkers may find that pain medications do not work as well and do not last long as they would otherwise’.

7. Alcohol causes dehydration.

As a potent diuretic, alcohol increases the rate of urine production leading to frequent urination which in turn leaves you dry as dust. Dehydration also makes your skin and hair looks miserably dull.

Trash the Ash

We all know that smoking is only glamorous if you want to look older. It stains your teeth, gives you bad breath, and dries our skin. Plastic surgery on the other hand is the science of providing a beautiful façade to clients who are looking to amp up their looks. This practice however revolves around moving, incising and suturing skin, blood vessels, and tissues. To achieve the best result, you need the best environment for healing. Unfortunately, smoking does not make this job a walk in the park for your body. The fact that smoking causes multi organ dysfunction inevitably crashes and burns your recovery.

The WHO defines smoking as one or more cigarettes or tobacco smoked daily. Numerous studies have shown that smoking is associated with postoperative morbidity. The systems that get the biggest blow are your lungs, heart, and tissue healing.

The rundown on why smoking and plastic surgery is a sure bet disaster.

1. Smoking dramatically heightens your risk for infection, circulatory, and pulmonary problems.

The chemicals in cigarette and tobacco damage the lining of the lungs, reducing its ability to clear waste particles and secretions, which can result to an infection called Pneumonia. In addition, the nicotine constricts the blood vessels increasing blood pressure and faster heart rate. This also implicates the oxygen levels in your blood.

2. Smoking intensifies the side effects of Anesthesia

Smoking decreases the lungs ability to clear secretions and narrows the airways making them prone to collapse. Bronchospasms and heart attacks during surgery is significantly increased with smokers.

3. Poor Wound healing

Carbon monoxide combines with hemoglobin in the blood impairing oxygen delivery to the surgical sites that needs it for healing. In addition to its healing power, oxygen also fights infections to keep the tissue alive. Smoking a single cigarette can decrease the blood flow to the thumb by 24%. A specific implication is the increased development of capsular contracture among Breast Augmentation clients.

4. Smoking decreases the potency of pain medications

Chemicals in cigarette smoke interfere with the rate at which certain drugs break down in your body. This means that you will need more pain relievers than usual.

5. Smoking gives you bad scars

Nicotine causes blood vessels to tighten, which decreases levels of these nutrients, minerals and oxygen to the incision sites. Without these, healing is not at its full resulting to hypertrophic, keloid, or dark scars.

6. Smoking causes longer Bruising Period

Poor circulation also means minimal delivery of medications such as antibiotic, anti-swelling pills, etc. Additionally, constricted blood vessels paves way to a collection of blood beneath the skin thus bruising occurs. If prolonged, this can develop into a Hematoma. This happens when blood collects under the skin or in the muscle, and instead of trying to fix this, your body walls the blood off.

7. Smoking cancels out the long term results of plastic surgery

Nobody wants to spend money to a plastic surgery that give your months of slow wound healing, skin loss resulting in scabbing and prolonged antibiotic therapy. On the flip side, smoking not only ages you prematurely but it will also make any type of plastic surgery less effective and the outcomes short lived.


The take-home for all of this is that you need to be in tip-top shape inside-out to avoid any setbacks in your pursuit of beauty and perfection. Do not compromise your venture for vices that have already caused you plenty. Plastic Surgery like any other surgery entails risks to your health, adding smoking and drinking increases the risk.

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