While marijuana is typically advised against before surgery, many doctors and surgeons are speaking out about its effects for after-care.
Breast implants are still a booming business. As one of the most popular surgeries in the U.S., over 300,000 women go under the knife annually. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Americans spent more than $16.5 billion on cosmetic surgery in 2018.
With many instances of news covering breast implant illness, where individuals who have received breast implants describe symptoms like chest pain, fatigue, hair loss, and chronic pain, more patients are asking about the risks associated with getting implants or having them removed. And, with medical marijuana and CBD available in more states each year, considerations should be made when combining marijuana and the addition of implants or their removal.
Marijuana and Implant Surgery
Whether patients are undergoing surgery for a reduction or receiving implants, many doctors spoke to us about the importance of a candid conversation about marijuana use. Dr. Nathan Castillo, who practices out of Atlanta, GA, shared that patients should, “refrain from smoking marijuana for at least 4-6 weeks before surgery.” Studies have found a link between marijuana use before surgery and a risk of vasodilation during surgery, the latter of which occurs when blood pressure falls due to blood vessels relaxing.
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Additionally, a 2018 study published in the journal Heliyon, found that consuming marijuana before surgery could complicate outcomes during and after the procedure. The study found that marijuana’s effects were most prevalent one hour after the start of the surgery and lasted anywhere from 2-4 hours. With an increase in both airway obstruction and anesthetic doses administered, the study found patients who consumed marijuana before surgery carried more risks than patients who abstained. However, while marijuana is typically advised against before surgery, many doctors and surgeons are speaking out about its effects for after-care.
Cannabis’s role in follow-up care
Dr. Jonathan Kaplan specializes in plastic surgery and believes cannabis has an important role in the healing the body after a major medical procedure. He recently wrote marijuana not only offers an alternative to highly-addictive opioids and narcotics but decreasing pain after surgery while increasing a patient’s appetite which allows for more successful healing. He offered a comparison to marijuana’s effects before or after surgery to give insight to how marijuana operates inside the body—far differently than nicotine.
“Nicotine before or after surgery can constrict blood vessels and adversely affect wound healing. Marijuana, on the other hand, does not contain nicotine. Additionally, the risk of lung cancer seen with tobacco products doesn’t translate to marijuana either.”
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Dr. Kaplan isn’t alone in his findings. In fact, Dr. Vincent Maida at the University of Toronto authored a study that used cannabis-based medicines in a recent palliative care study. With a 90% success rate, healing wounds 27 out of 30 patients, he found that marijuana opened the door for the body to heal more quickly and successfully. Kaplan explained, “Topical medical cannabis has the potential to improve pain management in patients suffering from wounds of all classes,” offering possibility for cannabis to treat wounds from breast surgery or reduction in the upcoming years.
Whether patients are researching implants or their removal, studies and opinions seem to dictate that marijuana may heighten the body’s healing process after surgery.