How Long Before a Tummy Tuck Should I Quit Smoking?
Doctor Answers 4
Marijuana and 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.
Pablo Prichard, MD
How long before a tummy tuck should I quit smoking?
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, poor scarring, and wound complications, as well as other health consequences including blood clots. The anesthesia risk is greater with general anesthesia as well as pulmonary issues/lung infections postoperatively. I would discuss this with your surgeon prior to your procedure. Hope that this helps! Best wishes!
Smoking and tummy tucks
The concern, of course, is that smokers have a much, much higher rate of complications - especially flap necrosis (in which the skin can turn black and die, from lack of blood flow.)
I recommend that you should be totally smoke free (no nicotine products, no tobacco, no marijuana) for two months prior to your tummy tuck.
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Smoking and tummy tuck
Quit today. Quit as far ahead as possible--at least a month. Don't start again for at least 2 months, preferably never. Don't use any of the nicotine gums as a substitute.
All of the lift procedures the plastic surgeons do, including tummy tuck, facelift, breast lift, and breast reduction physically diminished the blood supply to the skin of the lifted area. The nicotine and tobacco causes narrowing of a small arteries to the skin further diminishing the blood flow to such an extent that there may not be enough circulation to keep that lifted the skin alive.
Failure of normal wound healing and frank loss of skin is many times more common in smokers. Even a single cigarette can tip the balance and cause a very difficult problem. Good luck.