When I followed the story of the woman in France who had the first face transplant, I noted that a huge obstacle for the surgeons to overcome was convincing the chain smoking patient that she had to quit - permanently - in order for the surgery to work and for there not to be rejection or complications during healing.
Truth be told, anyone that is having surgery should contemplate tossing the butts. But plastic surgeons feel that because most plastic surgeries are elective - there is a great window of opportunity to get a patient who is investing a lot of money in cosmetic enhancement and/or rejuvenation, to embrace better lifestyle habits before surgery especially giving up a smoking habit. Many of the doctors will counsel their patients on these changes and even go so far as to offer referrals to a therapist, hypnotists and other specialists, to get them on the road to kicking the habit. The opportunity presents in this situation is special, as opposed to a medical grade patient, who presents to a doctor already in medical crisis, with smoking as one of the contributing factors. Significant damage has already been done at that point though, of course, doctors will still try to get the patient to give up smoking to enhance recovery and to hopefully prevent a repeat medical emergency. elective surgery in an otherwise healthy patient means you get this amazing chance as a doctor to intervene and convince them to drop a really bad habit.
Smoking is considered to be a healing antagonist, meaning that patients who have cosmetic surgery run the risk of not healing well if they continue to smoke. And because patients can lie (oh please, we all know that) some doctors won't just use the "smell the clothes and breath test" to assess a patient's honesty - they will actually do urine tests and/or ask a patient to sign a waiver that states that the patient knows the risks that smoking offers and the complications it can cause. Some doctors will also use the ultimate scare tactic - showing pictures of patients who went ahead and had the surgery and continued to smoke. Pictures of complications due to smoking typically show wounds opening, wound edges turning black and other horror outcomes. Of course, the best approach may be combining several of these tactics, especially if the smoking habit is a long standing one. Fearing death from anesthesia or a terrible cosmetic outcome can be the ultimate smoke detonator.
And frankly, if I were a guy, wanting my wife to quite - for good - I might just consider offering to pay for a rejuvenation surgery in exchange for buying her a chance at a longer and better quality life - by bartering cigarettes for surgery!!!
Published On: August 17, 2008