Lifestyle factors can be risk for cosmetic surgery

Cosmetic surgeons need to screen and educate patients carefully due to lifestyle factors that can make cosmetic surgery risky and less effective for some patients, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) in New York City.

A new patient education initiative sponsored by the association promotes careful screening to identify patients who may not be good candidates for cosmetic surgery. "If a patient is overweight or obese, the potential risks associated with surgery and anesthesia are likely to be greater," notes Felmont Eaves, MD, chair of the ASAPS Patient Safety Steering Committee. "In some cases, a surgeon may recommend postponing surgery until the patient has reduced his or her weight," he says.

Other risky lifestyle factors include smoking and chronic exposure to secondhand smoke, which decreases blood supply to the skin and deeper tissues which impairs the healing process, excessive sun exposure, high consumption of alcohol, and unhealthy diet or weight, says Peter Fodor, MD, ASAPS president.

ASAPS has produced a free patient education booklet that outlines some of the ways a patient’s lifestyle can affect the surgical outcome. To get a copy of the booklet, go to, click on the "medical professionals" link at the top of the page, then choose "products" on the right navigational bar, then scroll down to "New Products" and choose the "Healthy Lifestyles brochure" to download a PDF version of the brochure.