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I Stopped Smoking a Week Ago, my Breast Lift Surgery is in 6 Weeks. What Are my Risks?

Hello, I'm currently 160 pounds/5'6. I just stopped smoking a week ago (5 years of smoking). And currently on a diet. I am planning on having a breast lift once I reach 143 pounds. I'm 28, & completly terrified of something bad happening during surgery. What are the chances of something bad happening, & what should I know before moving forward? Thnx!

Doctor Answers (16)

Smoking and breast lift surgery


Hi, the usual recommendation before any surgical procedures on smokers is to stop smoking at least 3 weeks before and 3 weeks after the surgery. different surgeons can have different recommendations but in general this is the minimum amount of time required to decrease your risk of complications down to normal or close to it.

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

I stopped smoking a week ago, my breast lift surgery is in 6 weeks. What are my risks?

Hello! Thank you for your question!   I applaud you for your smoking cessation!  The issue with nicotine is that it also acts as a vasoconstrictor, clamping down of blood vessels. Blood supply is always of great concern during any surgical procedure, but especially in such a procedure as a mastopexy where the viability of the nipple-areolar complex is obviously important. Since the vascularity to the area is already tenuous since it will be raised by cutting around the area, maximizing blood flow to the tissue is critical.

Typically, we recommend at least 6 weeks of smoking cessation prior to any surgical procedure. Nicotine always increases the risk for infection, nipple necrosis, and wound complications, as well as other health consequences. I would discuss this with your surgeon prior to your procedure. Hope that this helps! Best wishes!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Breast Lift and Smoking


The best available scientific evidence regarding smoking and skin flap survival (in the laboratory animal models) is 4 weeks. Whether 4 weeks is the magical time period to abstain from cigarettes (including nicotine patches) prior to surgery is difficult to quantify.

If you continue to optimise your weight and also avoid nicotine in all its forms then you have done everything to ensure a safe operation. The rest is up to your surgeon and his/her staff.

Hope this helps and good luck.


Pouria Moradi, MBBS, FRACS
Sydney Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

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I Stopped Smoking a Week Ago, my Breast Lift Surgery is in 6 Weeks


In all the lift procedures plastic surgeons perform, the blood supply to the lifted tissue is markedly diminished. Adding the strong decrease in blood flow caused by nicotine's constriction of small blood vessels, contributes to an unacceptable risk of wound healing complications. 

Seven weeks of no smoking should leave you near "normal" risk. Most important is the month or so after surgery. 

All the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
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Smoking realted complications


Thanks for your question and congratulations on your first week without smoking.  If you continue to abstain for the next 4-6 weeks, I do not think you will experience any nicotine related complications.  Good luck.

Vishnu Rumalla, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

Smoking and Breast Lift Risks?


You should be congratulated on the steps you are taking prior to your breast lift operation. Achieving a long-term stable weight and avoidance of any nicotine products for at least 4 weeks prior to surgery will maximize the chances of a successful outcome.

Nicotine is a powerful constrictor of blood vessels,  decreasing blood flow to the “flaps” used during these procedures. This decrease blood flow could potentially lead to wound healing problems and/or tissue necrosis.

Communicate your question regarding the timing of smoking  cessation with your plastic surgeon. Best wishes with your upcoming operation.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 681 reviews

Smoking can be disastrous in any type of surgical procedure


Dear Terrie,


Thank you for your question. As long as you don't pick up another cigarette - you are good to go! And please, please abstain from smoking after your procedure as this can be equally disastrous!

Best wishes,

Dr. H 

Gary M. Horndeski, MD
Texas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 119 reviews

Smoking and breast lift


Thank you for the question, Surgeons differ on the timing to stop smoking before surgery. Usually 4-6weeks is considered a safe period. You to refrain from smoking for anther 4-6 week after surgery and if you can give it up, that will be another good thing  for you beside weight loss.

Moneer Jaibaji, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Wait st least 6 weeks before you have surgery!


You should be really proud of yourself you stopped smoking before your surgery. Six weeks prior the surgery gives your body some time to cleanse from nicotine. The important thing is to continue to stay smoke free also after the surgery is done. It is important to refrain from smoking until your physician states it is safe to return, if desired. Patients who are currently smoking or using tobacco or nicotine products are always at greater risk for surgical complications of skin dying or delayed healing and additional scarring. Smoking can also have a negative effect on anesthesia or recovery from anesthesia.  Do not hesitate to talk to your surgeon and address all the questions you have about surgery.

Gregory Turowski, MD, PhD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

How long to quit smoking before breast lift surgery?


First of all, congratulations on approaching your surgery in such an active manner.  Getting your weight to a good range and getting the toxins from smoking out of your system dramatically increases the odds of a good long term result.


In terms of how long to quit before surgery, the longer the better.  If you can manage an eight week preop smoke free period, this will be great.  Your risks won't be the same as a non-smoker, but will be dramatically less than for someone who has only quit for a week or two.


Work with your plastic surgeon and his or her team to stay off cigarettes forever!   Plastic surgery gives us a wonderful inflection point that can facilitate permanent lifestyle changes.  We actively work with our patients and provide regular encouragement to stay off cigarettes after their surgery is completed.  It is wonderful to see how many of our patients have stayed off cigarettes forever after surgery.  Quite frankly, in the big picture this may provide you with a greater benefit than the surgery itself,  wonderful as it is.

John Q. Cook, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 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.