Dr. Kathleen Mullaney • DDS • FAGD

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E-Cigarettes and It’s Effects on Wound Healing

A new study  says patients should be banned from vaping for two months before surgery to avoid complications.  Author Dr Jeffrey Spiegel, chief of facial plastic surgery at Boston Medical Center, said: ‘Based on our findings, e-cigarettes are not a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes as it relates to timely wound healing,’ this new study shows vapes have the same effect on injured flaps of skin as does nicotine from traditional cigarettes. Providers, and patients, need to understand the risks of both types of smoking so they can make the best decision to keep the patient as safe as possible before and after surgery.’
In experiments on rats, Dr Spiegel and colleagues found vaping affected skin wound healing, causing damage similar to that of conventional smoking.
Both forms resulted in more of the tissue dying, which delays wound healing. They said the same would apply to humans.
It follows a warning by other American experts two years ago that nicotine in e-cigarette vapor increases the risk of blood flow-related complications – just like smoking real ones.
The study, published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, is the first direct evidence that they were correct.
Dr. Spiegel said the adverse effects of traditional cigarette smoking on wound healing has been well established in the surgical field.  He added: ‘Smoking and vaping appear to be equally detrimental to wound healing and to be associated with a statistically significant increase in tissue death.  ‘The results suggest vaping should not be seen as a better alternative to cigarette smoking in the context of wound healing.
‘Surgeons are advised to appropriately counsel their patients and to regard those who use e-cigarettes as having equivalent pre-operative healing risk as those who smoke cigarettes.’
Shaun Desai, a plastic surgeon at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, welcomed the findings and said patients should be screened for e-cig use before surgery.
He said: ‘This study presents evidence of the detrimental potency of e-cigarettes in rats, but there is a paucity of clinical evidence in humans.
‘Often, patients may not volunteer this information, mistakenly thinking vaping, because it is not smoking traditional cigarettes, is not relevant medical history that needs to be shared.
‘Similarly, until further studies are completed, all e-cigarette use should be stopped four weeks prior to any surgical procedure, as recommended by the current literature for traditional cigarettes.’

“Excerpts from the article recently published in Daily Mail UK”

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