If you are a smoker and you are considering plastic surgery, be forewarned that you will be advised to quit smoking for a specified period before and after the surgery. Many doctors will go one step further and suggest quitting forever. We all know that smoking is bad for our health and that it increases the risk of cancer and heart disease. There are some very specific reasons why smoking and plastic surgery don't mix. The active drug in cigarettes, nicotine causes blood vessels to constrict. When plastic surgeons make cuts to the skin of a patient, there is an unavoidable reduction in blood flow to that area during the healing process. Inhaling a drug that further constricts blood flow can cause serious complications and scarring. The effects of smoking can also complicate anesthesia. Tobacco smoke paralyzes the tiny hairlike structures in your lungs. Smoking also impairs your immune system. Quitting is very hard for some people. Less than half the people that try manage to stop smoking for good. Research seems to indicate that quitting for 4 weeks results in healing outcomes comparable to nonsmokers. For more information on Baltimore Plastic Surgery, please contact Adam Basner, M.D.