We all do it from time-to-time. We stretch the truth or omit a few minor details. However, what you aren’t telling your plastic surgeon could, in fact, do more damage than you may think. Here are three common omissions that could affect your plastic surgery and patient safety.
Maybe you’re in the process of quitting, maybe you just light up in social setting, or maybe you smoke marijuana. That doesn’t actually make you a smoker, right? Wrong! For medical purposes it actually does.
The nicotine in cigarettes (including electronic cigarettes) constricts your blood vessels decreasing blood flow to parts of your body. Combine this with the decreased blood oxygen level caused by smoking and you’ve greatly impaired your body’s ability to heal after your plastic surgery procedure. In addition, smokers often have more noticeable scarring as a result of the body’s healing impairments.
At my Denver plastic surgery practice, I recommend patients completely stop smoking a minimum of four weeks before their surgery and refrain from smoking for at least six weeks afterward. I also recommend avoiding contact with others who smoke as secondhand smoke is equally damaging.
2. Recreational Drug Use
Many patients who use illegal or restricted drugs for recreational purposes fear disclosing this information with their plastic surgeon, however this is incredibly important to ensure your safety as a patient. During your plastic surgery, your anesthesia provider administers medications to keep you asleep during the procedure. Combining these medications with a variety of illegal drugs can cause severe reactions or possibly life-threatening shifts in blood pressure leading to a possible stroke or heart attack.
In addition, you will typically be prescribed medication that may be taken prior to or after your plastic surgery (depending on your procedure). These medications may also have an adverse effect in combination with recreational drug use.
In addition to disclosing this information to your plastic surgeon, it is best to avoid recreational drug use for several weeks prior to booking your surgery, as well as after your surgery is complete while your body is healing.
3. Supplements & Non-Prescription Medications
That line on the patient intake form that inquires about any medications you are taking is not limited to your prescription medications. Any over-the-counter medication or supplements that you ingest on a regular or semi-regular basis should also be included. Many over-the-counter medications, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, and herbal supplements, including fish oil, can cause excess bleeding during and after your plastic surgery.