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!!
How Long Do I Need to Be off Smoking After Breast Implant Surgery?
Doctor Answers (13)
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
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.
Pablo Prichard, MD
How long do I need to be off smoking after breast implant surgery?
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!
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How Long Do I Need to Be off Smoking After Breast Implant Surgery?
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.
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
Do not go hand in hand. You are basically guaranteeing yourself to have issue with your health and/or your 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.
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.
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.