Nicotine Replacement Carries Similar Postprocedure Risks To Smoking

Nicotine Patch

A recent study published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery—Global Open (December 17, 2018) revealed that patients using nicotine replacement therapy have similar complications rates as those who continue smoking pre- and post-plastic surgery.

Over the course of five years, Basil M. Michaels, MD, et al, tested 470 patients undergoing major surgery at a single outpatient ambulatory surgical center for urine cotinine on the day of surgery. The patients were divided into four groups: never smoked (group A, n=380), quit smoking with negative urine test (group B, n=48), continued to smoke (group C, n=32) and quit smoking with positive urine test (group D, n=10).

The frequency of complications was greatest in groups D and C followed by A and B. There were no statistically significant differences between groups A and B or groups C and D. The researchers concluded that “Nicotine replacement carries similar risks as continued smoking and is not as safe as abstinence in the perioperative period in plastic surgery patients. Importantly, patients who stopped smoking for the surgery had equivalent risk for postoperative complications as patients who had never smoked.”

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