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Want Plastic Surgery? You May Want to Rethink Your Smoking Habit!

, , | The Office of Dr. Vincent Hung

3 Minute Read: 

When planning for plastic surgery, one of the requirements almost every board-certified plastic surgeon will mandate is that patients refrain from using all nicotine products for three to six weeks before and after surgery. 

woman breaking a cigarette rather than smoking it.

There are very good reasons for this near-universal stricture. Nicotine and other chemicals found within cigarettes damage the lungs, yellow the teeth, and age skin, but these factors are unlikely to directly impact plastic surgery operations. What will affect these procedures is nicotine’s vasoconstriction effects. 

What Are the Effects of Nicotine on Your Body?

Nicotine causes veins and arteries to contract, restricting the amount of blood that can pass through them. This dramatically increases the risk of complications during surgeries, especially plastic surgeries that affect a broad area of surface tissue like facelift surgery (rhytidectomy) or tummy tuck surgery (abdominoplasty). When a plastic surgeon removes a section of tissue on the surface, it is kept alive through blood vessels in nearby tissue. If a patient has nicotine in their system, these blood vessels are too constricted to provide adequate blood flow. 

This means that patients who do not stop smoking are at a much higher risk of tissue necrosis during plastic surgery.  

What Is Tissue Necrosis?

Tissue necrosis is when tissues die while still attached to the body. This condition can be dangerous and, in some cases, lead to gangrene—a potentially lethal condition. The effects of nicotine and the risks of tissue necrosis do not go away during the recovery period. Even if patients who smoke make it through the surgery without complications, there is still a higher risk of tissue necrosis and excessive scarring during recovery. 

What Are Other Smoking Risks?

  • In addition to the vasoconstriction effects, smoking also decreases blood’s ability to carry oxygen by adding carbon monoxide to the bloodstream. This increases the risks mentioned above. 
  • Nicotine inhibits collagen production, causing the skin to age faster and heal slower. This can make recovery times longer and increase the risk of complications.
  • Smoking can increase the risk of certain skin cancers, such as basal cell carcinoma and melanoma. 
  • Smoking also causes wrinkles and other skin concerns that are difficult to reverse while toxic chemicals continue to do more damage. 

How Should I Prepare for Surgery?

If you plan to undergo a plastic surgery procedure, it is vital that you honestly discuss your smoking habits with your surgeon. You should have a frank discussion about your ability to refrain from smoking before and after your operation. 

It is critical that you do not lie to your surgeon about your nicotine consumption, as this may endanger you.

If you truly feel unable to quit smoking for at least 12 weeks, you should not undergo surgery. If, for any reason, you consume nicotine during that window (before or after your surgery), you should contact your surgeon right away. 

Want to Learn More? 

If you are interested in more information on the risks of smoking regarding your plastic surgery procedure, please contact Dr. Hung at his Pasadena office at 626-432-5032 or his Newport Beach office at 949-574-8292.


Is Body Contouring Right for Me?

, , | The Office of Dr. Vincent Hung

4 Minute Read: 

Liposuction and tummy tuck surgery provides envy-worthy contours.With the new decade beginning, more than one of you is likely thinking about improving your physique. Looking fit and sculpting your body always tops the list of New Year’s resolutions. For some, this means plastic surgery.

Body contouring allows men and women who are close to their ideal weight trim, sculpt, and enhance their physical contours. 

Liposuction and tummy tuck surgery are popular body enhancement surgeries. And while many people know the names of these procedures—through media or word of mouth, they do not always know what they can actually accomplish. 

While there is so much that these procedures can do, there are also certain things that they cannot. It is beneficial to understand what these treatments are and how they work so that you have realistic expectations.

What Is Liposuction?

Liposuction is a surgical procedure that removes a targeted amount of excess fat from various regions of the body. 

Some of these regions include the:

  • Abdomen
  • Hips
  • Thighs
  • Back
  • Buttocks
  • Arms
  • Chest
  • Under the Neck

Body contouring like liposuction can smooth your physique after weight loss or pregnancy.

Various techniques can be implemented during a liposuction procedure. Two of the most common methods are the tumescent technique and the ultrasound-assisted technique (UAL).

Tumescent Liposuction

  1. Small incisions are made in the area of desired fat reduction.
  2. Sterile fluid is injected through those incisions that cause the fat cells to swell
  3. A hollow tube is inserted into the incisions, and a rapid back-and-forth-motion breaks up the fat.
  4. This tube is attached to a vacuuming device that permanently suctions out the fat

Ultrasound-Assisted Liposuction

  1. Small incisions are made in the area of desired fat reduction.
  2. Ultrasound energy is applied to the treatment area to liquefy the fat cells.
  3. The liquified fat is suctioned out through a hollow tube.

What Is Tummy Tuck Surgery?

Tummy tuck surgery, also known as abdominoplasty, sculpts the midsection by removing excess fat and skin and tightening loose or separated abdominal muscles.

An incision is made across the lower abdomen from hip to hip. This incision is placed low enough that it can easily be covered by underwear or bathing suits. 

What Can Liposuction and Tummy Tuck Not Do?

Liposuction and tummy tuck surgery are incredibly beneficial when they are chosen for the right reasons. These procedures are designed to be about body sculpting, not weight loss, and the combination of these procedures can provide optimal results for patients who have excess pockets of fat and loose abdominal skin.

Neither of these procedures is an alternative to weight loss or a healthy lifestyle. Instead, they should only be performed on those who already work out and are close to their ideal weight.

Liposuction cannot address skin laxity, and tummy tuck surgery does not remove fat in the regions surrounding the lower abdomen.

When Are Body Contouring Procedures Appropriate?

Did You Lose Weight?

When you gain weight, your skin thins as it stretches over your expanding contours.

Unfortunately, even though it can expand, it cannot always contract after the weight is lost. Its inability to do so often results in loose, hanging skin that is only eliminated through a surgical procedure like abdominoplasty. 

Tummy tuck surgery eliminates the abdominal skin laxity that resulted from significant weight loss while liposuction removes the localized fat deposits that remain. These procedures are often the final step in a substantial weight loss transformation.

Did You Have a Baby?

Pregnancy and childbirth create lasting abdominal damage and the development of fat pockets across the body. This is due to the rapid fluctuations in weight and hormone levels. 

Body contouring like liposuction and tummy tuck surgery can help restore your body after pregnancy.

Do You Have Age-Related Laxity?

Some people who develop loose skin on their abdomen or excess pockets of fat on their abdomen do not fall into either of the above categories. This is because skin laxity and excess fat is another side effect of aging. 

Body contouring counteracts the physical changes that occurred due to the aging process.

How About More Information?

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of body contouring or if you would like to set up a consultation with Dr. Hung, contact his office by calling his Pasadena office at (626) 432-5032 or his Newport Beach office at (949) 574-8292. You can also fill out his online contact form

Dr. Hung offers plastic and reconstructive procedures for men and women in Pasadena and Newport Beach.