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Is 15 Days Long Enough to Stop Smoking Before a Tummy Tuck or Should I Reschedule my Surgery?

Doctor Answers (16)

When to stop smoking before a tummy tuck

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Smoking has many negative aspects in regards to abdominoplasty.  In addition to the wound effects, a chronic smokers cough could cause dehiscence of the fascial plication as well.


As an adult, you are making a mature decision to undergo a major surgery.  This surgery is very expensive from both a monetary and recovery standpoint.  I assume that you want to get the best result ie. your money's worth, thus you should stop smoking at least six weeks prior to surgery and stay that way.



Smoking and 15 Days Prior to Tummy Tuck

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   If you smoke 2 or 3 cigarettes a day, this period of time may be adequate to avoid complications.   However, heavier smokers should have at least one month.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Smoking Prior To Tummy Tuck

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15 days pre-op is not enough time to quit smoking prior to a tummy tuck in my personal opinion.  I recommend nicotine free a minimum of 4 weeks before and 6 weeks after.  I would call my surgeon's office and reschedule as the complications that you are at risk for as a smoker are not worth it!

How Long Should I Stop Smoking Before Surgery?

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Although there is no proven data about when stopping helps, I would recommend not smoking or using nicotine products for at least 6 weeks prior to surgery and 6 weeks after surgery.  Smoking/nicotine constricts the oxygen in your blood supply which can lead to wound healing problems or necrosis which, in turn, can lead to an unappealing scar or disfigurement and ultimately costly corrective surgery.  I realize smoking is a difficult habit to break but in the long run, quitting will only benefit your result and lead to better health.  Discuss your concerns with your surgeon and if he/she recommends postponing your surgery by a few weeks, focus and use your surgery as motivation to quit smoking for good.  Best of luck!

Andrew Smith, MD, FACS
Irvine Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

When Should Smoking Be Stopped Before Cosmetic Surgery?

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Dear Santapresent,


This is a discussion you should really have with your surgeon prior to your surgery.

For a major procedure such as a tummy tuck, I prefer to have my patients stop ALL nicotine, which includes nicotine from smoking/patch/gum, etc. for at least 4 weeks before surgery. Admittedly, that number is rather arbitrary. But it is for the patient's safety. Nicotine can cause problems with wound healing and/or increase the chance of infection, etc. So I feel it's in the patient's best interest to be very conservative in this regard.

But again, I urge you to speak to your doctor and see what he/she thinks. It's important you don't leave him/her in the dark about this! Best of luck to you!

David Cangello, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Smoking before Plastic Surgery

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This is a question you should ask your surgeon as different surgeons have different policies.  There is a no good answer.  What is known is that smoking around the time of surgery puts you at risk for surgical complications including infections and wound healing problems which are not always easily solved if they occur.  So, it is very important that you are completely honest with your surgeon about your smoking and if you really quit.  Even one cigarette can have a negative effect.


Good Luck.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Smoking before tummy tuck.

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In my opinion, you should reschedule.  I require a minimal of 4 weeks of cessation of all nicotine products prior to surgery.  8 weeks is optimal.  The risk of nicotine in your system at the time of surgery is great.  The procedure requires separating the abdominal tissue from the abdominal wall and a significant amount of it's blood supply.  Nicotine causes blood vessels to shrink, therefore decreasing the already reduced blood supply.  This can lead to tissue death, requiring long term wound care and a horrible scar.  This is not the result you want from an elective procedure.  

Joseph C. Berardi, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Smoking and Tummy Tucks

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Good for you for seeing that you might get into trouble if you are a smoker. Cancel your surgery and do not reschedule until you are really and truly off nicotine of all forms.

While 3 weeks is generally enough time to quit if you are a light smoker, my experience suggests that you really need to quit however long it takes until you think of yourself as a non-smoker.  Surgery is stressful and you don't want to fall back on old habits and end up disfigured.  There are enough risks that can't be controlled with tummy tuck.  Do everything that you can to control the risks that you can.  The loss of tissue from smoking can be horrifying and you don't want to be there.

Exercise is a great and healthy substitute stress reliever and really seems to help kick the nicotine habit! 

Deborah Ekstrom, MD
Worcester Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

No Smoking Before a Tummy Tuck

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I believe that performing a tummy tuck within 15 days of smoking is somewhat risky with respect to wound healing.  The nicotine in a cigarette is a potent vasoconstrictor.  This means that the skin at the incision may not get enough oxygen to heal properly.  Although we can all appreciate that smoking is a really difficult habit to break, it is much safer to hold off on surgery until you can quit smoking for at least 4 weeks.  I am sure your surgeon will appreciate your honesty and support your decision.

Mark Schwartz, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.