I smoke weed daily and hear that it can affect anesthesia, does it affect recovery also? How long will I have to wait post op before smoking again?
Will Smoking Marijuana Affect my Recovery from Breast Augmentation Surgery?
Doctor Answers 7
Marijauna and surgery
We are all told the detrimental effects of smoking cigarettes and how it can affect your healing. This involves diminishing oxygen to your healing tissue, the vasoconstrictive effects on vessels limiting blood supply to the wound, and the irritation of your airway resulting in coughing fits that can contribute to bleeding and hematomas.
With augmentations, smoking is rarely a problem for an uneventful recovery and patients who have this surgery simply accept the greater risks of bleeding should they have significant coughing. I would have no reservations on doing breast augmentation on a pakalolo smoker. It could even help with your pain post-operatively.
Marijuana and surgery
Marijuana itself has very little effect on wound healing or recovery after surgery. Smoking, however, decreases lung function and can interfere with wound healing. Most experts suggest cessation of smoking for at least four weeks before surgery.
Marijuana is a psychotropic drug that can lead to mild dependency and to mood changes. I suggest quitting for a month before surgery and seeing how you feel. If mood and sleep patterns are disrupted consider squaring these things away before submitting yourself to the stress of surgery.
How does Nicotine or Marijuana Affect 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
You might also like...
Marijuana can impact breathing and airway function.
Since marijuana doesn’t contain nicotine, it doesn’t cause the significant vasoconstriction that cigarette smoking causes.Despite this, smoking marijuana can have a negative impact on breathing and airway function.For these reasons, it’s important to discuss this issue with your plastic surgeon before undergoing breast augmentation surgery.
No smoking for one month
Will Smoking (Marijuana) Affect my Recovery from Breast Augmentation Surgery?
The very fact you are asking the question suggests you have a feeling deep inside that you should not be doing it. In fact smoking tobacco or pot is associated with a long standing reduction in the ability of blood to carry oxygen to the tissues and may result in healing complications as severe as wound separation or worse.
Most Plastic surgeons do not like to play the role of the moral police but we feel strongly and passionately about wanting each of our patients to heal well and be happy with our work. Smoking uniformly and to a varying extent sabotages surgery in many way. Be it by causing airway irritation (coughing which leads to bleeding after surgery), inability to provide sufficient oxygen to the wound resulting in scar widening or outright separation and even potential loss of nipple in cases of breast lift and augmentation.
The longer the interval between the incision and the last inhalation of smoke the safer the outcome.
Peter A Aldea, MD
Does Marijuana Effect Recovery From Breast Augmentation?
I strongly encourage all of my surgical patients to stop smoking (marijuana or cigarettes) four weeks prior to surgery and at least two weeks after. While marijuana itself may not have a significant impact on your recovery, the smoking has a detrimental effect on wound healing. Many smokers experience coughing issues which can further contribute to recovery problems such as bleeding and disruption of the surgical site. Consider your surgery a wonderful opportunity to quit smoking for the long term!
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.