Question: I’m a 60-year-old female who has smoked for the past 30 years. Am I still eligible for a facelift? What are the potential risks associated with smoking?
Answer: Smoking has well been shown to cause a whole host of complications. There is risk to your cardiovascular system, risk to your lungs and respiratory system, and depending on your lungs you may not be a medical candidate for an elective surgical procedure. During the facelift procedure the skin is elevated to then be tightened on the face. These long skin flaps depend on blood supply. Smoking may affect the small vessels in the skin flaps and make the skin flaps more prone to necrosis or becoming ischemic with loss of blood supply. This can cause poor healing or loss of skin. Therefore, patients who are heavy smokers may do best with a facelift that does not elevate as long of a flap.