Besides the links to many cancers and health problems, smoking is problematic for patients undergoing cosmetic, dermatologic or plastic surgery because it impairs proper wound healing. Skin has an intricate blood supply that is provided mainly by something called the subdermal plexus. This maze of tiny vessels makes up a “micro-circulation” and is especially susceptible to injury by agents such as nicotine, which cause the vessels to close off (vasoconstriction).
When the blood supply to the skin is compromised, healing is also detrimentally affected. Not only can the skin take longer to recover from surgery, but it can also necrose (die) from a lack of adequate blood supply. During surgery like rhinoplasty or facelift surgery, a healthy, robust blood supply is necessary for proper healing. For this reason, Dr. Yoo strongly recommends a minimum of 6 weeks of no-smoking before and after surgery, to allow time for your micro-circulation to recover.