Smoking and facelifts

Lyn Viles is approaching her 54th birthday. She knows the reflection in the mirror isn't the woman she wants to see. "I don't mind being 54, but, I mind looking it," said Viles. "And I don't like the sagging. I want it to go away," she said. So as a present to herself, Viles decided to get a complete facelift. U-T Southwestern plastic surgeon Dr. Rod Rohrich told her no way. He does not operate on people who smoke. A study by Dr. Rohrich shows nicotine constricts vessels that supply healing oxygen to the skin. "The result is disasterous for healing wounds of any kind, but especially facial surgery," said Rohrich. "So when you've completed your wonderful procedure , if they continue to smoke they have a much higher chance and risk of losing the skin. Basically because there's less chance for blood to get there, it basically dies. So Viles, a 40 year smoker, had to make a choice. "In this case, it's my money. It's my face. This is not a part of my body I can cover up with a pair of jeans or a top." Dr. Rohrich recommends smokers quit at least a month in advance of any surgery and stay away from smoke until the face is healed.

by Dee Armstrong