Can I have eyelid surgery if I smoke?
The short answer is, yes, you can have eyelid surgery if you smoke. Should you smoke? For your health, you absolutely should not smoke, but you probably already know that. However, the reality is that quitting is difficult, while many smokers can benefit from eyelid surgery. With no direct conflict between smoking and eyelid surgery, in most cases we can safely perform cosmetic surgery a smoker’s eyelids. Decisions about eyelid surgery of course should be considered on a case-by-case basis, but if you are a good candidate for beneficial eyelid surgery and no other medical concerns that complicate your circumstances, then smoking alone should not prevent you from seeking help.
This may be a little confusing given that we recently discussed why a facelift and smoking should not go together. This is not a contradiction, but a function of the way different tissue areas respond to surgery. The eyelids have much better circulation than the healing sites of a facelift, and thus they are better able to tolerate the surgery than the facial skin.
This news will come as a relief to smokers who must have surgery for health problems like basal cell carcinoma of the eyelid or severe eyelid ptosis that compromises vision. Smokers who can benefit from the confidence of an improved aesthetic can also be glad at this news.
As a smoker, why can I have some surgeries but not others?
Why shouldn’t smokers have optional facelift surgery when they can have eyelid surgery? You should already know that smoking is horrible for your health, and one of the problems is that smoking compromises the healing capacity of the skin. The skin undermining necessary for the facelift can challenge the healing capacity of skin that is compromised by smoking. In contrast, many eyelid surgery procedures can be performed without challenging this healing capacity.
A Word on Quitting at the Right Time
While it’s okay for most smokers to receive eyelid surgeries like blepharoplasty, canthoplasty, and double eyelid surgery, and while we also support your desire to quit, it’s important to know that you should not quit too close to your treatment. This is not meant as an endorsement of smoking; we of course want you to quit smoking for your own good. However, it takes time for the lungs to recover, so when you decide to quit, you should not do so right before the eyelid surgery.
When you quit smoking, your lungs go through a healing process and it will take some time for them to recover. Your lungs need to be in good shape during your surgery, but your vascular recovery will take some time, as will lung recovery. Your lungs will require a full eight to twelve weeks to begin their recovery; before then, you’ll have a lot of mucus in your lungs as your body repairs them, and this is not a good time for you to have a surgery. If you want to both quit and seek eyelid surgery, talk to your oculoplastic surgeon about the timing of these two helpful steps. He or she can help you determine how long before or after your surgery it is appropriate to quit smoking. As most eyelid surgery is elective, meaning you can choose when to have eyelid surgery, the answer to this situation is simply schedule your eyelid surgery so you give your lungs the appropriate time to recover in advance of the elective surgery.
How Eyelid Surgery and Quitting Smoking Can Expand Your Options
Eyelid surgery can improve your confidence, aesthetic message, and the way people interact with you. This newfound confidence and other benefits will broaden your ability to engage in life.
Quitting smoking empowers you by improving your health, helping you to look better and live longer, and boosting your self-esteem by overcoming an destructive addiction. Even if you are a light smoker or new smoker, the damaging impacts of smoking lead us to encourage you to quit. By quitting smoking you will be taking one of the most positive steps you can take for your health and the health of your loved ones. Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Yes, it is more important than any cosmetic surgery we can perform for you. We urge you to find a way to quit that works for you.
If you’ve decided to quit smoking, congratulations! We wholeheartedly support you. Quitting is not easy (otherwise nobody would smoke), but there are resources available to help you quit. Your internist, family doctor, or gynecologist can often assist you with medical resources for smoking cessation. The State of California has a website of resources to assist and encourage you: www.tobaccofreeca.com
Consult with an Expert in Cosmetic Treatment
We advise you to consult with a cosmetic surgeon who specializes in eyelid surgery and complimentary treatments with natural, balanced results that are tailored to your individual needs. Dr. Steinsapir is such a cosmetic surgeon in Los Angeles who is esteemed as one of the top cosmetic surgeons in California and beyond. He specializes in minimally invasive eyelid surgery and other cosmetic procedures that offer fast healing time and can be customized to your unique situation. If you are a smoker with eyelid concerns, we invite you to a no-risk consultation with Dr. Steinsapir today. He can discuss both your short-term and long-term treatment options, and help you find an aesthetic solution to meet your goals. Please contact us to learn more about Dr. Steinsapir’s quality treatment plans.