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Breast Implants for a Smoker?

I am 54 years young, in good health, but I do smoke. Can I have breast augmentation?

Doctor Answers 18

Smoking and surgery

I can’t stress it enough: A cigarette habit greatly compromises healing. Smoking damages skin, keeps incisions from repairing and worsens scarring. Moreover, nicotine, which gets into the bloodstream, can cause blood clots. Smoking triggers the release of skin-damaging free radicals, increases swelling, worsens scarring, and impedes healing by limiting blood flow to the skin.

If you smoke, you should refrain for at least two weeks before your procedure and two weeks after. I’d far prefer it, of course, if you started cutting back well before that two-week mark. It’s a bad idea to be smoking regularly before you have surgery, and an even worse idea after. Among the other threats that smoking poses is the distinct chance that you won’t be able to find a self-respecting surgeon to perform the desired procedure. Wouldn’t this be the perfect occasion to seriously try to kick the habit?

New York Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

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Breast Implants for a smoker

There are smokers and THERE ARE SMOKERS! Yes, smokers can have breast implants, BUT there is an increased risk of healing delays, infections, bleeding. So see 3 boarded plastic surgeons in person to get their take. Regards.

Breast Implants in Smokers

I agree that smoking can certainly contribute to problems with wound healing. In fact I will not perform a full tummy tuck, standard reduction, or standard facelift on smokers. I do not, however, refuse to perform augmentations on smokers or insist that they stop smoking. I have not to date seen any significant wound healing problems in smokers undergoing augmentation.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Breast Implants for a Smoker?

Smoking is a big “problem” when patients undergo procedures that involve flaps, such as facelifting, breast lifting, and tummy tuck surgery. It is of less concern for patients undergoing procedures through small incisions, such as breast augmentation surgery. No doubt, it will still be in your best interests from the incision line healing aspect, pulmonary health status, and overall “healthy lifestyle” standpoints to beat your addiction. Best wishes.

Stop smoking for a safer, faster recovery

It is a good idea to stay away from cigarettes for at least 2 weeks after surgery, although it is better to stop for longer if possible to facilitate your recovery because you are at a higher risk of experiencing skin loss and poor wound healing.

However, you should ask your surgeon for their advice, as they may have different guidelines.

Smoking and surgery

Here are the major points of smoking Tobacco or Marijuana before or after surgery:
1. There is nicotine in tobacco, but not in marijuana. However, most joints are rolled with marijuana and tobacco combination. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor that decreases blood flow to the tissues. This is the major problems that can cause a very bad outcome in some surgeries. In a breast augmentation, there is not a lot of risk as there are not a lot of incisions which decrease blood flow to the tissues. In a breast lift or tummy tuck, on the other hand, there is much longer and more involved incisions. The decrease in blood flow to the tissues in combination with the decrease in blood flow from the nicotine can cause tissue to die. This can cause part of the breast or nipple, or in the case of a tummy tuck, part of the belly tissue to die, resulting in a very bad outcome. Marijuana without tobacco does not cause this problem, or marijuana in an edible fashion.
2. There is carbon monoxide in both tobacco smoke and marijuana smoke. Carbon monoxide decreases the oxygen carrying capacity of hemoglobin in the blood. This is different from the vasoconstrictor effect, but has the same result of having the risk of tissue death in conjunction with surgeries that decrease the blood flow to tissues such as breast lifts and tummy tucks, as opposed to an augmentation alone that does not decrease blood flow to as great of an extent. Again, edible forms of marijuana do not have smoke, and thus carbon monoxide poisoning.
3. Coughing. Both tobacco and marijuana smoke disrupt the lining of the lungs and bronchi and can lead to coughing episodes. Coughing episodes can lead to internal bleeding after surgery that can lead to hematomas and complications, and again a bad outcome. Again, edible forms of marijuana does not have this effect.
4. Anesthesia effects. Marijuana can have drug interactions with certain anesthetic drugs. Thus it is important to tell your anesthesiologist about your marijuana use.
In conclusion, Smoking, whether it be tobacco or marijuana, is detrimental to your surgery outcome. Edible marijuana is much less so, but be honest about your use with your surgeon and anesthesiologist so that you can have the best outcome. In general, you should quite smoking many weeks, ideally 6 weeks before surgery, and not smoke for at least 2 weeks after surgery.
Best wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Breast implants for a smoker?

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 breast augmentation where the viability of the nipple-areolar complex is obviously important. Since the vascularity to the area is already tenuous with placement of the implant beneath, 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, nipple necrosis, and wound complications, as well as other health consequences. The most devastating consequence of infection, especially since an implantable prosthetic device is used, 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 13 reviews

Breast augmentation and smoking

Yes, you can have breast augmentation surgery, but you should keep in mind that the risks of anesthesia complications, poor wound healing, scarring, and capsular contracture all go up in smokers. If you can quit even three weeks prior to surgery, your risks begin to go down. Good luck, /nsn.

Nina S. Naidu, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Smoking and Breast Augmentation

It really depends if you need a lift. If you do, you will have to stop atleast 2 weeks before and until you are healed after. If it is just an augmentation only, you can get it done but I have found that capsular contracture rate for patients who smoke tends to be higher.

Farbod Esmailian, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

You will have higher risk of complications

You can have breast augmentation but you have higher risk of complications from anesthesia and surgery. You can stop smoking for two weeks before and after surgery . This will decrease your risk.

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 67 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.