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Effects of Smoking on Tummy Tuck Results?

Will smoking as little at 2 to 3 cigarettes a day have an effect on my Tummy tuck?

Doctor Answers (5)

Tummy Tuck and Smoking


Smoking skyrockets your risks of complications following tummy tuck -- poor healing, incisions opening up, skin necrosis, etc. In fact, I will not perform a tummy tuck (an elective procedure) in an active smoker. I make sure my patients have been tobacco free 4-6 weeks before surgery. We also check a urine nicotine test (cotinine) to make sure the nicotine effects are gone. It's often hard to kick the habit. I also recommend that a smoker see their primary care physician to get formal assistance with smoking cessation programs.

Kicking the habit is not only important for your tummy tuck, its good for you anyway. So for you, smoking cessation should be your first step towards a flatter tummy.

Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 113 reviews

Effects of smoking on tummy tuck results?

Hello! Thank you for your question! 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 tummy tuck where the viability of the belly button and skin flaps are obviously important. Since the vascularity to the area is already tenuous with the dissection of the abdominal tissue as well as cutting around the belly button, maximizing blood flow to the tissue is critical.

Typically, we recommend at least 6 weeks of smoking cessation prior to and at least 6 weeks after any surgical procedure. The longer, the better. Nicotine always increases the risk for infection, skin flap necrosis, and wound complications, as well as other health consequences. There is an increase pulmonary risk with the anesthesia and postop lung infections. The most devastating consequence of infection, especially since the tissue is tightened, is increased. This along with wound healing and scarring. 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

Smoking affecting tummy tuck


Tummy tuck is an elective, in most cases non medically indicated surgery. There are risks associated with any operation and we as surgeons try to do everything possible to make those risks as small as possible. Smoking causes squeezing of the blood vessels. This decreases the blood flow to the healing tissues. Blood delivers oxygen and all the building blocks needed to heal the wound. Without perfect blood flow, your wound healing is compromised. You probably already know all the reasons you should not smoke. Smoking unreasonably increases your risk of suffering complications from an otherwise elective surgery. You and your surgeon will need to make the final decision, but I like to see all the cards stacked in favor of a problem free recovery. I would advise you to quit and to do it months before you have any surgery.

Elizabeth Slass Lee, MD
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

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The disasterous effects of nicotine, in any form, on post-operative patients have been documented extensively in the Surgical Literature...not to mention the non-surgical literature as it pertains to cancer, respiratory disease, etc.

Cosmetic surgery is REAL surgery. Tummy tucks are REAL cosmetic surgery. I am sure your physician discussed with you the risks. You are expending a significant amount time, effort and money on this procedure...Optimize your results with respect to immediate recovery and long-term results by throwing away the cigarettes!

I recommend at least 2 weeks before and 1 month after....nicotine starves your surgical wound of needed oxygen and chokes wounds into not healing.

I hope this helps and Good Luck!

John Philip Connors III, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Smoking and a tummy tuck


There are countless answers about the dangers of nicotine and diminished skin blood flow that can lead to disaster in healing after a tummy tuck, breast lift or facelift. If you are serious about doing all you can to help keep yourself safe, you should be off all nicotine for a month before and a month after surgery.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 47 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.