How Long Do I Need to Be off Smoking After Breast Implant Surgery?
- Asked by 5440anon in Calgary, AB
- 3 years ago
I had breast augmentation 24 days ago and I know smoking is VERY important to the healing. I quit 3 weeks prior to sugery, a week before the "quit date" that I cut down to only 1 per day. I started smoking again at 3 weeks after my surgery. Now, I am just wondering if this will have an effect on my healing? My incisions look like they are coming along very well, but I still have have stitches, they are the dissolving kind. What is your opinion? Thank you very much for your help!!
Smoking and Healing
No disease or man made disaster has claimed more lives and caused more diseases than smoking which affects nearly every organ system in the body. While smoking enriches and keeps busy every medical specialty and morticians as well, it has hampered and frustrated Plastic surgeons since they came into existence.
Nicotine and the hundreds of other toxins found in smoke reduce the amount of oxygenated blood flowing through the skin. Any reduction in oxygen supply to the skin affects the texture of the skin long term but severely impacts healing in the short term. The question you should be asking yourself is NOT when can I start poisoning myself again - safely (ridiculous question - you must agree)? But instead : When can I start choking and reducing the amount of oxygen flowing to my healing skin (and brain, and heart, and kidneys...)?
Post surgical healing goes on for up to 8 months. You decide.
Smoking and Surgery
Thank you for the question.
The use of nicotine (as in any form) can lead to devastating complications after surgical procedures. Nicotine is a potent constrictor of blood vessels, preventing the delivery of oxygen etc. to surgical sites that require good blood flow to heal. The resulting decreased blood flow leads to potential problems with healing, tissue necrosis, open wounds, infections…
Don't even think about the use of nicotine around the time of your surgery.n Ideally, you don't smoke after surgery either.
Smoking is Bad Before and After Surgery
Most experts unanimously agree that smoking increases the rate of breast augmentation surgical complications significantly - This applies both before and after your surgery. For example smoking after surgery dramatically increases your risk of having a capsular contracture (hard abnormal looking breasts).. Just about all plastic surgeons strongly recommend women to stop smoking and all nicotine products well in advance of breast augmentation with breast implants and not to start afterwards. Many plastic surgeons recommend stopping all tobacco products several months prior to surgery.A scientific article in the Archives of Internal Medicine indicated that, among all forms of surgery, quitting smoking eight weeks prior was never associated with an increased risk of complications.
Here is the reason why: the nicotine in cigarettes and other tobacco products (including Nicorette gum, patches, etc) is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it makes the Smoking is a significant multiplier of many potential complications following surgery and breast augmentation with implants are no exception. Nicotine from smoking causes blood vessels to vasoconstrict ( tighten up). Over time, these constricted arteries and capillaries deliver less blood to the breast tissue which is needed for normal healing. Smokers therefore have an increased incidence of higher likelihood of complications such as infection, and in particular capsular contracture (hardening and distortion of the implants). General complications of surgery such as blood clots, anesthetic problems such as pneumonia are also increased. For a tummy tuck there is increased likelihood of both an infection and loss of skin because of inadequate circulation.
In young patients you will probably statistically avoid these complications, why tempt fate by increasing your odds that something bad will happen. .On a long term basis, smoking also causes accelerated aging of the skin and loss of elasticity. Hopefully these reasons will help give you the will power and courage to stop smoking.
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Smoking and implants
In general, smoking should not be done. But, I usually ahve patients do what you did and avoid 3 weeks before and stay off 3-4 weeks after. But even still there are increased risks.
Breast augmentation and smoking
Smoking and diabetes account for a large majority of wound healing issues. If you add bad nutritional habits and general lack of physical conditioning to that the wound healing problems become more commonplace. Stop smoking and give you incisions time to heal.
Smoking and Plastic Surgery
It is a fact that patients who smoke have a higher capsular contracture rate.
So eventhough you may have healed well, you are setting yourself up for problems with your surgery as well as your health.
Web reference: http://www.feplasticsurgery.com
When to resume smoking after elective cosmetic plastic surgery
STOP SMOKING FOREVER is the easiest answer. Without being sarcastic, that may save you additional cosmetic procedures at a later date. There are no definitive studies to answer your question. As long as your wounds are healing, smoking has the potential to compromise your result. However, that having been said, typically the vast majority of the scar tissue has been deposited by 3 weeks after surgery. Scar tissue can undergo a maturation process that takes up to two years.
Smoking after breast augmentation
It would be great for your overall health if you could stay off cigarettes permanently, but for the purposes of your healing at this stage, you should be OK. You should advise your surgeon at your next visit that you've started smoking again, but it would be unusual at this stage to have a complication which could be directly attributed this. Best wishes, /nsn.
Smoking and the risks of complications
We would love it if all of our patients quit smoking forever for their general heal as well as healing from surgery. We also know that it is a habit that is difficult to break but the risks are still there. I ask my patients to avoid ANY exposure to tobacco products for at least 2 weeks before and after surgery. It does depend on the surgery, how extensive, how thin the tissue flaps, potential vascular compromise, etc. I can also assure you that there are some plastic surgeons that will perform a blood test to see if you have smoked and they will cancel your surgery if the risk is too high. I have done this myself in the past. The patient may be willing to take a risk but your surgeon does not. It sounds as though you are doing well but the prudent thing to do is to discuss it with your plastic surgeon.
Best of luck
Web reference: http://www.medwardsmd.com/plasticsurgery_questions1.html
Breast Augmentation in Smoker
Although I generally refuse to perform tummy tucks and face lifts in smokers, I do not require my augmentation patients to stop smoking. I am aware that some plastic surgeons feel very strongly about this, but I am not aware of any sigificant wound healing problems in my breast augmentation patients who smoke.
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.