Clearing the smoke: the scientific rationale for tobacco abstention with plastic surgery

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2001 Sep 15;108(4):1063-73; discussion 1074-7. doi: 10.1097/00006534-200109150-00042.


The use of tobacco is a significant contributor to preventable morbidity and mortality in the United States. A significant proportion of cardiovascular diseases, various oral and pulmonary neoplasms, nonmalignant respiratory diseases, and peripheral vascular disorders can be attributed to the use of cigarettes. Surgical outcomes can also be adversely affected as a result of cigarette smoking with intraoperative and postoperative pulmonary, cardiovascular, and cerebrovascular complications as well as increased wound healing complications. These are found across the entire spectrum of surgical specialties. Tissue ischemia and wound-healing impairment secondary to the influence of tobacco is particularly problematic for the plastic surgeon, especially during elective facial aesthetic procedures, cosmetic and reconstructive breast operations, abdominoplasty, free-tissue transfer, and replantation procedures. By educating and providing guidelines to those patients who smoke and by refusing to operate on individuals who fail to abstain, tobacco-associated surgical morbidity in the plastic and reconstructive surgery patient can be eliminated.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Humans
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control*
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures*
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Smoking / drug therapy
  • Smoking Cessation*